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Meditation, Mindfulness, and Self-Care

Contributed by Emily Felt

Hi PWSA Community!

Every month, I collaborate with the PWSA communications team to contribute ideas that enhance the remarkable ways PWSA educates and supports our community. Like many volunteers, I am also a mother to an adorable 11-year-old girl named Olivia, who is living with PWS.

In addition to my volunteer work, I am a writer, coach, and mindfulness and meditation facilitator. Today, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone to share some invaluable tools that have significantly aided me on this unexpected PWS journey, ultimately helping me become a better human being.

Let’s talk about meditation and mindfulness. Meditation, a practice dating back over 3000 years, involves intentionally focusing your attention to induce feelings of calm, awareness, and heightened energy. While there are various meditation techniques, it typically involves sitting with closed eyes in a quiet place with minimal distractions (sound like a PWS household? lol). Through meditation, we can explore deeper aspects of ourselves, gaining insights that bring meaning to our PWS journey. Scientific studies confirm that meditation reduces stress, promotes calmness, and enhances overall happiness.

Mindfulness is closely related to meditation but seamlessly integrates into daily life. It revolves around cultivating greater awareness of your actions, feelings, emotions, as well as your surroundings and interactions. Picture standing in the middle of a rushing river, recognizing the chaos, and stepping onto the banks to observe and take a moment to rest. Mindfulness is tremendously useful in navigating the emotional roller-coaster often associated with PWS. Scientific studies also highlight the benefits of incorporating mindfulness into our lives.

As a PWS mom, I’ve utilized both meditation and mindfulness to manage stress, stay focused, and prioritize self-care. Establishing a 20-minute meditation practice several years ago resulted in increased energy throughout my day. Additionally, I integrate mindfulness into my daily routine, pausing to check in with my body, calm my breathing, and observe the details of my surroundings when frustration or racing thoughts arise. Sometimes we want to feel good so bad that we avoid our feelings and emotions, when in fact those are really the only things we have much power to shift, but we have to recognize them first. Mindfulness and meditation are ways to do that. These tools are essential coping mechanisms, reminding us that we don’t have to manage situations; we only need to handle how we feel about them.

While self-care practices like these are easy to learn about, most people have a hard time starting and sustaining them. It’s also common to question the efficacy of such simple tools. 

You can watch Emily’s Instagram Live recording by clicking here: Supporting Your Emotional Well-Being

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