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Addressing Health Disparities: the Potential of Mindfulness Meditation for African-Americans

Written byTracy Long

April 22, 2023

Affirm It, Visualize It, Believe It, and It Will Actualize Itself!

 

Affirm: Stress and Anxiety All-day Every Day

Studies have shown that daily acts of racial violence, injustice, and discrimination can have a negative impact on the mental health of Black Americans. Living and working alongside people who do not value Black Americans as human beings can be challenging and contribute to feelings of isolation, frustration, and anxiety.

Counselors play an important role in helping Black Americans cope with and heal from racial stress and trauma. However, in recent studies, Black people are 20% more likely to experience serious mental health problems than the rest of the population but many never seek mental health care, unfortunately for valid reasons. [3]  The lack of representation,  access (to mental health resources), and the affordability of services.

Visualize: What’s a Girl to Do?

To be completely transparent, my goal is to earn a high income by doing the job I love. But doing whatever I can to help eliminate mental health stigma in the BIPOC community is my life’s purpose. So I came up with a strategy to help bridge the gap for people who are not in a crisis or chronically mentally ill. I started practicing mindfulness meditation during the height of the pandemic. It was an extremely helpful tool to ground me; less reactive, and less irritable in the midst of so much uncertainty. Meditating also helped me repair, improve, and strengthen important relationships in my life. I continue to deepen my practice as I am in the process to become a certified mindfulness meditation teacher.

Believe: The Potential of Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is non-judgemental awareness of whatever’s occurring in the present, your moment-to-moment experience. Mindfulness meditation is a well-established and studied strategy that will positively influence the feelings, thoughts, brain function, and biology of people, leading to improvement in mental health, outlook, coping, and improve health outcomes. Unfortunately, African Americans are less likely to practice mindfulness meditation than other groups, despite the fact that the practice has been shown to be effective at reducing stress and anxiety.[1]

Actualization: The Game Plan

In order to increase the utilization and effectiveness of mindfulness meditation in African American communities, cultural adaptations must be considered. This means taking steps to make the practice more accessible to people who are not familiar with its benefits or how it works. Practicing mindfulness meditation allows individuals to pause and notice trauma and resilience, which is especially important for Black & Indigenous, People of Color in their journey of healing and thriving.[2]

So I am super excited and can’t wait to open the virtual course room doors to Moody Mindfulness for Resilient Shades Coaching Program. An online mindfulness meditation teaching and learning platform created for the BIPOC community.

WARNING: Mindfulness meditation is a great tool but may cause adverse reactions and not be suitable for some people. Mindfulness meditation practice is not meant to be a substitute for seeking mental health services from a licensed professional.

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