1. Schmidt, Kari L. MS, RN-BC, ACC

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In my consulting and leadership coaching, I have heard the phrase "I am overwhelmed" more frequently recently. The feeling of needing to work harder, faster, and longer to try to keep up, sometimes at the expense of taking care of oneself, is present everywhere it seems. As stress increases, the ability to empathize, be creative, and be productive significantly decreases. Stopping, pausing to settle, and then restarting are often not part of a busy nursing professional development (NPD) practitioner's day. Yet, the research is clear: taking the time to stop, focus, and practice mindfulness will increase our effectiveness and our efficiency. Mindfulness is mental training that results in a relaxed, alert state for the brain (Tan, 2012). Tan is an engineer at Google, now with the job title "Jolly Good Fellow," and he has developed and facilitates the "Search Inside Yourself" curriculum. "When the mind becomes highly relaxed and alert at the same time, three wonderful qualities of mind naturally emerge: calmness, clarity, and happiness" (Tan, 2012, p. 31).


What are the implications of mindfulness for NPD practitioners? Many of us might want a bit more calmness and clarity in our days. Perhaps, we would like to be able to think more effectively on our feet or synthesize a research study more effectively. Perhaps, we want to more consistently role model integrating evidence into our practice and articulate evidence-based practice more convincingly to others.


I suggest that we challenge ourselves to find additional approaches to increase our capacity to lead change and increase our resilience. In my journey of reviewing mindfulness research and testimonials, I have discovered intriguing examples of applying these approaches to daily life. Dan Harris (2014), ABC News anchor, has shared his journey in mindfulness training, as he states, from originally being a skeptic. His humorous and honest story may be of interest to you at


As NPD practitioners, we search for the application of new information. Before reading this information-packed issue of the journal, and as a way to increase your focus, retention, and creative thoughts of how you will integrate these ideas into your practice, consider trying one of the following:


1. Turn away from your computer, and sit quietly for 1 minute. Focus on your breathing, and avoid multitasking.


2. Pull out that snack or lunch that you have not yet had time to eat. As you eat, completely focus on eating-how the food tastes and its texture and temperature. Avoid the temptation to read emails, and focus on what you are eating.


3. Sit quietly in your office. Close off any distraction that you can. As you sit quietly, what are three distinct sounds you hear? Listen closely for the quiet, subtle sounds.



These are only examples of how we can create and appreciate a mindful state. The key is to stop and pause. I suggest that, now when you open your current issue of JNPD, you may find it easier to focus. There are many resources and activities to increase mindfulness. Mayo Clinic is one example of a healthcare organization that provides patient educational materials on mindfulness. "Practicing mindfulness exercises can have many possible benefits, including reduced stress, anxiety and depression; less negative thinking and distraction; and improved mood "(Mayo Clinic Staff, 2015).


I look forward to hearing from you on how more opportunities for a relaxed, alert mind has affected your creativity, clarity, and influence.




Harris D. (2014). Retrieved from[Context Link]


Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Mindfulness exercises: See how mindfulness helps you live in the moment. Retrieved from[Context Link]


Tan C. M. (2012). Search inside yourself: The unexpected path to achieving success, happiness (and world peace). New York, NY: HarperOne. [Context Link]