U.C expert in mindfulness and its benefits offers advice to the community

NEWS RELEASE: Cedric Ricks, Public Information Officer

CINCINNNATI, OH (October 20, 2020) – The World Health Organization has called stress the health epidemic of the 21st century. 

Sian Cotton, PhD, director of the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness. (Photo by Lisa Ventre/UC Creative + Brand.)

With COVID-19 you layer on a global pandemic that has just increased the stress of our communities globally. People are anxious about the present and the future. There’s a lot of grief and loss. People have lost the opportunity to celebrate and mark life events such as graduations, weddings, and major life transitions.

Sian Cotton, PhD, director of the UC Center for Integrative Health and Wellness, explains how mindfulness can help us cope with this sense of loss.

“How do we cope with the stress, the uncertainty, the grief and the change associated with a global pandemic? ” asked Cotton, also a professor of family medicine at UC. “Certainly students, faculty and staff all still have a job to do.”

“They still need to focus. They still need to be able to pay attention in the classroom, whether it be online or at home,” said Cotton.

Cotton says a mindfulness practice can help all of the UC community increase focus and increase their ability to not waste time. It will actually help them to be focused in the moment, attend to the task at hand, get the work done and then be able to go enjoy life with loved ones.

“We also know that mindfulness can help ease high levels of stress. Faculty, staff, and students are all undergoing significantly increased amounts of stress. In addition to focus and productivity, we know that increasing the use of mindfulness skills and techniques can help reduce stress and things like burnout, increase wellness and improve your immune system,” explains Cotton. “All these things are going to help your well-being on a personal level and help you be able to attend to work and school, thus being able to better manage other aspects of your life.”

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