Viewpoint: A Working Mom's Antidote to Worry

Executive and Personal Coach Ann Park 91M shares great advice for managing stress.

By Ann Park MD 91M
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Quote by Mark Twain
If you're like me, this quote makes you laugh and twitch nervously at the same time. Many working moms, along with being overqualified at multitasking, find ourselves with overdeveloped worry muscles. We worry about how things went and how they should have gone. We also worry about what will happen when the time comes.

Of course, it’s good to learn from our past, and we must be reasonably ready for the future. Yet habitual worry about past and future along with our culture’s lifestyle of 24/7 digital distraction can lead to the formation of perpetual brain churn. (“Brain churn” is not an actual clinical condition, but I think we all know what it feels like.)

Scientific research, though, tells us that our brains are not built to churn. Constant distraction and interruption—either from the outside world or from within ourselves, as is the case with worry—causes our short-term working memory to become less efficient and diminishes our ability to retain longer-term information. Anxiety also impacts our bodies’ immune systems and sleep cycles. Overall, worry is not a visitor we want to invite for an extended stay.

So if I told you about an antidote to worry that …

* is imminently doable

* has no bad side effects

* is cheap

… would it pique your interest?

It definitely piqued mine!

The name of the antidote: Mindfulness.

By practicing this technique, you might even get a better night's sleep!

Working Mother
In a nutshell, mindfulness is the practice of being attentive to your present moment or experience. This is done in a neutral, non-judgmental way. Although practiced for centuries in Buddhist and other Eastern traditions, it has more recently found its way into our Western awareness. But far from being a new-age kumbaya moment, mindfulness is backed up by well-established studies. For example, we know that the practice of mindfulness is associated with with such diverse measures as positive changes at the cellular level, altered brain flow activity, better outcomes in physical and emotional metrics, and improvements in school and work performance. And it is known to help research subjects cope better with stress and anxiety.

So how can we make use of this in practical ways?

Read the complete article here at WorkingMother.com.

More about the Author:

Ann Woo-Ming Park 91M completed her undergraduate degree at Duke University, and her medical degree at Emory University. She then went on to do her residency and become Chief Resident in Psychiatry at Payne Whitney Westchester, Weill Cornell Medical College. She now practices as an executive and personal coach. 

As an executive coach, Ann works with executives from national and global organizations to develop their leadership skills. As a personal coach, she helps high achieving women create better life balance. She also helps her clients build positive, thriving relationships with their partners and children.

Read more about her work at AnnParkMD.com.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Working Mother.com on September 13, 2016.