Wed. Dec 6th, 2023

Throughout May Australians are being urged to take a few moments to be mindful for their mental wellbeing.

Mindful in May is an online social engagement event celebrating its tenth year this year.

Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University, Dr Craig Hassed, says that health services are dealing with an unprecedented volume of enquiries from Australians experiencing anxiety and stress due to health concerns, social isolation, unemployment, underemployment, financial strain and managing homeschooling and believes Mindful in May is a necessary lifeline.

“A lot of Australians are doing it tough as their lives have been turned upside down.”

“While many people are laid off or stood down without duties to perform, they have an excess of time. “Excessive time, especially when isolated, often leads to worry, rumination and if left unchecked it can downward spiral quickly.”

“Now more than ever we need to manage our minds so Mindful in May’s 30-day program can be tremendously helpful for those seeking to manage the uncertainty, ride the emotional rollercoaster, or hit reset,” says Dr Hassed.

The alliance made up of psychologists, general practitioners, psychiatrists, gastroenterologists and nurses has thrown their weight behind Mindful in May stating that the program offers salvation to those struggling with their mental health. With the World Health Organisation stating that depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide, the coalition believes it is essential that Australians build the inner tools to face the very real challenges of life, particularly in light of the pandemic.

“We have thrown our endorsement behind Mindful in May because it is soundly based on techniques with strong scientific backing and it has a great track record.”

“There are all manner of mindfulness apps and gurus out there, but very few are led by medically trained experts with such strong mental health and mindfulness credentials.”

Research undertaken by Dr Neil Bailey, a neuroscientist and Research Fellow at the Epworth Centre for Innovation in Mental Health at Monash University, showed that Mindful in May participants experienced greater focus, improved stress management, increased levels of self-compassion, greater positivity and reduced negative emotions.

“Our study also showed that daily mindfulness practice (as per the Mindful in May program) lead to more common experience of positive emotions than less frequent mindful practice,” says Dr Bailey.

Led by Dr Elise Bialylew, a doctor trained in psychiatry, and a world class panel of global experts, the 30-day program consists of 10-minute daily meditations teaching the skills of mindfulness so that Australians can reclaim their minds and manage spiralling thoughts of worry. 

“We are grateful to have the medical profession stand behind the program, it’s further endorsement of the measurable, positive health benefits that just 10 minutes of meditation can have on the mind.

“The program’s success is thanks to many years of rigorous assessment and research and a highly engaged mindful community,” says Dr Bialylew.

The medical profession has also thrown its weight behind the global program with over 100 nurses at the Alfred Hospital participating in the challenge, along with staff and students at Monash University and RMIT.

For the broader Australian society, the benefits are well evidenced. The practice is proven to shift the mind away from catastrophising, the mindless excessive use of technology, and living on auto pilot – all behaviours linked to a steady increase in rates of depression. 

“There are any number of benefits to mindfulness including deepening our joy in living, improving our connectedness and relationships, improving memory and mental health, even driving our cars more safely, and of course lowering rates of depression and anxiety,” says Dr Hassed.

Health professionals around Australia will join Dr Elise Bialylew for 10 minutes of meditation each day for the month of May.

Find out more at https://www.mindfulinmay.org/

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