Using Mindfulness to Stay Calm in a Crisis

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Mindfulness is so accessible. You don’t have to be rich, young, or experienced. It’s at the very core of us. Being aware, attentive, and compassionate is who we are as human beings.

With people around the world feeling the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, stress levels are at an all-time high for many.  

Staying calm and maintaining focus during a time of crisis is especially difficult. Luckily, practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress, increase focus and cognition and combat burnout. 

Recent studies have found that mindfulness meditation can increase happiness, decrease anxiety, and even change people’s perception of time. In the workplace, mindfulness can also help team members to manage frustrations and communicate more compassionately, a skill that is more vital than ever with so many people dealing with employment instability or the challenges of suddenly working from home.  

Moustafa Abdelrahman, who instructs courses in the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (SCS) Certificate in Foundations of Applied Mindfulness Meditation, says part of the appeal of mindfulness is that anyone can incorporate mindfulness into their life or work.

“I’m passionate about bringing mindfulness to our community, including the corporate world” says Moustafa. “Mindfulness is so accessible. You don’t have to be rich, young, or experienced. It’s at the very core of us. Being aware, attentive, and compassionate is who we are as human beings.”  

Moustafa’s vision for the future of mindfulness is crystal clear. “My dream is that anyone who feels different or marginalized, anywhere in the world, can have access to positive and peaceful ways of being through mindfulness” he says. “I hope to offer safe spaces for people to experience and explore their true identities, and provide healing opportunities that I didn’t have when I was young.”

Moustafa, who in addition to teaching is also a proud graduate of the mindfulness program at SCS, says he is excited to see it flourish. “I would love to see it become a world-wide phenomenon, it has the potential” he says. “People from all walks of life, from all over the world, should flock to this program. Everyone is welcome.”

In addition to teaching at SCS, Moustafa, who holds an MBA and has a successful career at Johnson & Johnson, facilitates mindfulness workshops for a variety of large organizations (past clients include General Electric, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto Public Health, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre). He also provides one-on-one counselling, and leads the Mindfulness Meditation program at the 519, a City of Toronto Agency supporting the LGBTQ2S community.

 “This certificate has shaped the way I approach and teach mindfulness,” he says. “The courses integrate Eastern meditative techniques, scientific evidence, and practical applications of mindfulness. Together, they create a different way of seeing and being.”

Curious about what mindfulness can do for you? Explore our mindfulness courses here.