Reduce Stress with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Stress is a natural part of life. Depending on our everyday responsibilities, some may experience greater stress levels than others. Negative stress can affect our health and well-being. So, it is important to our health that we learn how to reduce stress. We can therefore effectively reduce stress with mindfulness based stress reduction.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with the possibility of a lifetime commitment of care. Stressors associated with autism greatly affect families. So much so that when compared to parents of children without autism, parents of children with autism experience greater stress levels. For instance, difficulties of raising a child with autism include limited resources, poor guidance from health professionals, delayed diagnosis, reduced awareness of autism, and stigma for families (Reddy, Fewster, & Gurayah, 2019). As such, limited resources, support, and lack of autism awareness put greater stress on autism families. In addition, unresolved challenges can lead to chronic stress. Fortunately, autism parents can reduce stress with mindfulness based stress reduction.
Reduce Stress and Fight Caregiver Burden
Parents of children with autism commonly report caregiver burden. Caregiver burden is defined as negative consequences of a caregiver’s inability to cope with and adapt to caregiver duties, as well as manage physical, mental, social and financial demands (Tang et al, 2015). In other words, caregiver burden is the experience of stress by caregivers when they are unable to handle their living situation. Therefore, caregiver burden places autism parents at risk of negative outcomes for themselves and those they care for. Such consequences can lead to poorer physical and mental health.
Contributors to Stress
Unresolved stress can lead to chronic stress. Stress is a psychological reaction in response to one’s inability to cope. Stress occurs when demands exceed coping resources. Thus, insufficient coping resources greatly affect autism parents. Accordingly, little coping resources can result in everyday problems causing stress that can affect autism parents’ health (Tang, Jang, Lingler, Tamres, & Erlen, 2015).
Some contributors to autism parents experience of stress are:
- Child characteristics
- Family resources
- Parent coping
- Type of diagnosis
- Ability to adapt
- Child behavior
Reduce Stress with Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Health and well-being are shaped by personal and outside conditions (Wit, et al., 2014). As a result, good health depends on positive physical, social, financial, and environment conditions. Autism parents can reduce stress with mindfulness based stress reduction and be better able to adapt to stress.
Autism parents are encouraged to use positive thinking to reduce stress. Examples of positive thinking involves focusing on problem, one’s ability to handle stress, and finding other ways to view the problem. Thus, good coping skills can reduce stress and reduce risk of stress related health problems.
Autism parents are very resilient. Many can cope with the tough journey of raising a child or children with autism. However, their resilience depends on several factors, including having a good support system. Therefore, a positive personality, spirituality, resources and support for families affect autism parents’ ability to cope. Mindfulness-Based Programs (MBP) such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) are beneficial to reduce stress.
MBCT is effective at teaching those at risk for depression to adapt and refrain from relapse.
MBSR, an education and training program that teaches individuals with chronic health problems how to cope with life challenges. For instance, it teaches how to cope with the demands of emotional stress (Kabat-Zinn, 2013).
Mindfulness-Based Programs may benefit autism parents and others by strengthening their abilities to manage stressful situations. Therefore, it can also improve their resilience and capacity to recover from stressful events.
Leading the Way to Reduce Stress
Take this 100% Free mindfulness-based stress reduction course from the University of Mass medical school. It is an eight-week course that includes guided meditations, articles and videos. All free!
Crane, R. S., Brewer, J., Feldman, C., Kabat-Zinn, J., Santorelli, S., Williams, J. M. G., & Kuyken, W. (2017). What defines mindfulness-based programs? The warp and the weft. Psychological Medicine, 47(6), 990–999. https://doi-org.ezproxylocal.library.nova.edu/10.1017/S0033291716003317
DobkinPL, Hickman S, Monshat K (2013). Holding theheart of mindfulness-based stress reduction: balancing ﬁdelityand imagination when adapting MBSR. Mindfulness 5, 710 –718.
Tang, F., Jang, H., Lingler, J., Tamres, L. K., & Erlen, J. A. (2015). Stressors and caregivers’ depression: Multiple mediators of self-efficacy, social support, and problem-solving skill. Social Work in Health Care, 54, 651–668. doi:10.1080/00981389.2015.1054058
Wingrove, C., & Rickwood, D. (2019). Parents and carers of young people with mental ill-health: What factors mediate the effect of burden on stress? Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 32(1), 121–134. https://doi-org.ezproxylocal.library.nova.edu/10.1080/09515070.2017.1384362
Witt, C. M., Chiaramonte, D., Berman, S., Chesney, M. A., Kaplan, G. A., Stange, K. C., & …
Minnes, P., Perry, A., & Weiss, J. A. (2015). Predictors of distress and well-being in parents of young children with developmental delays and disabilities: the importance of parent perceptions. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 59(6), 551–560. https://doi-org.ezproxylocal.library.nova.edu/10.1111/jir.12160