Mudra is a Sanskrit word that can mean seal or gesture. Mudras are used as gestures made with the hands, face or body to promote health and balance and to evoke a specific psychological attitude or sense of spirituality. Chinmaya Mudra is a hand gesture that can be used to bring a sense of safety and grounding to the body and mind. It may support reducing the blood pressure, feelings of stress and anxiety, and can help eliminate unwanted thoughts in the mind or toxicity in the body.
Think about the stress of everyday life in our society at the moment. It’s not that hard. The impact of stress touches who we are as individuals, spouses, parents, friends, children, leaders, guides, and practitioners. The impact of stress invades our thoughts, our minds, our actions, and our behaviors, and left uncared for, it will begin to manifest into physical discomfort and pain with real physical symptoms.
Do the emotional math: anxiety, stress, and fear uncared for, will manifest physically, impact judgment, increase worry, increase fearful thoughts, and further decrease homeostatic balance across all levels of the body.
Emotional Math: Stress + fear + judgment + worry = More Stress/Pain/Suffering
Practitioners of mental health and wellness take no less oath in ‘doing no harm’ in working with clients, than do nurses or doctors. At this time of tender suffering in our community and society, what would happen if mental health practitioners abandoned clients out of fear? What would happen if doctors or nurses decided to stop their work as advocates and instruments of healing? It is no different, EXCEPT, if mental health practitioners stopped offering care and support, then the toll to the community and to clients (who may already be working through anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction or grief), will further impact the stretched resources providing emergency care.
In this example, the emotional math and toll on the client may further result in panic attacks, digestive and metabolic issues, and increases in corticotropin-release stress hormones. The impact on the body shifts more and more into a negative feedback loop because the corticotropin-release hormones impact immune function, the lungs, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, metabolic system, and endocrine and pituitary function thereby impacting hormones like insulin. This very real cascade is part of a system called the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, and when it gets imbalanced, it has a very real impact on the brain, particularly the ability to make decisions (pre-frontal cortex), the ability to remember and access memories (hippocampus), and it further floods the amygdala, activating survival mode and increasing anxiety.
Now consider this entire cascading effect of stress on the body in clients with mental health diagnoses, an increase of emotional stress without the help of practitioners, clinicians, and therapists may very well do harm to the client. They may end up in urgent care facilities or the emergency room thinking they are having respiratory dysfunction. A break and change in the level of care of clients can have a direct impact on the urgent, very stretched resources of hospital staff.
Do your own emotional math, and notice the impact of stress on your body, then, take action in a way that allows you to find stability. When you access this empowerment and mindful awareness, your body can naturally be more at ease while finding grounding, calmness, and strength in the moment….this is self-care.
Self-care is essential in maintaining clarity, balance, and function. In this state of current affairs, caring for your self (Body, Mind, Spirit) should be done every day in a way that connects and ushers in soma to each of these layers of self.
In alignment with CDC recommendations regarding the COVID-19 virus, Integrated Care Concepts and Consultation is committed to providing a safe environment for our clients and staff while still serving the community with mental health and wellness services in a appropriate and responsible manner. Cleaning and sanitation of shared spaces in all of our offices continues with care. As we work to maintain our service offerings and align our centers with a safe space for healing, it is essential that we ask our clients and caregivers to be mindful and diligent in their own health needs.
If you are sick, not feeling well, or have been knowingly exposed to a contagion, we are asking you to refrain from coming into our offices for service.
If you are coming in for an appointment, please do not bring anyone else to the office if they are not being seen.
If you come into the office for service and you appear to be sick, we will ask you to reschedule your appointment.
If you are unable to see your therapist for counseling in the office, we are offering some appointments for telehealth counseling through a HIPAA compliant platform. Please contact your therapist for more information.
If you become sick and you need to cancel your appointment the same day, we are offering greater flexibility with our 24-hour cancellation period to clients who are experiencing illness.
While in our offices, waiting rooms, or studios, please practice safe hygiene, which includes proper sneezing, coughing, and hand-washing.
Meditation for Enhancing Immune Function
Be mindful of how you are experiencing the activation, worry, and exposure to both the coronavirus and the flu virus.
Stress is a physiological experience that can impact the body, the level of energy, the ability to relax and sleep, and thoughts and emotions. Stress hormones released in the body at times of stress suppress the body’s immune response.
Utilizing and incorporating integrative approaches like meditation can naturally improve immune function and help downregulate and desensitize the nervous system, which allows for balance and strength to be reestablished in the body and the mind.
Below is a 12-minute guided meditation on managing the stress experience in the body and establishing a sense of immediate safety.
Additional Resources & Hotlines
For additional guidance on supporting mental health during a pandemic, please reference this page by the CDC, or this document by the World Health Organization.
If you, or someone you care about, feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or if you or someone you know has feelings of wanting to harm one’s self or others, please call 911. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Helpline is also available at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517)
Monmouth County Health Department has opened a phone bank to respond to callers with questions or concerns about COVID-19. As you can imagine, many callers are experiencing increased anxiety, fear, and worry about COVID-19. There are Disaster Response Crisis Counselors (DRCCs) volunteering on the phone lines. The phone line is available from 9am-8pm. 732-845-2070.
For other Coronavirus (COVID-19) questions, residents can call the health experts at the NJ Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
Also, AA meetings are being held online and can be found through the following link: http://aa-intergroup.org/directory.php.
Crisis Counselors are available via the Crisis Text Line: text SHARE to 741741. They offer support through texting for those that are experiencing fear, stress, anxiety, depression, panic, and isolation. They operate 24/7.
Rutgers UBHC offers telephonic peer support lines. They are a resource for individuals with struggling with substance use, are in recovery, or need support and may feel isolated at this time.
New Jersey Peer Recovery 8AM-8PM on 3/26/20 the hours are being extended to 10PM for individuals with substance abuse problems or those in recovery needing support: 1-833-422-2765
Vets4Warriors- 24/7 National Program for veterans who have served in wars-1-855-838-8255
Vet 2 Vet- any NJ veteran 24/7 1-866-838-7654
Mom2Mom-mothers with special needs children 8AM-8PM -1-877-914-6662
Care2Caregiver- with family members who are caring for family member with memory loss, Alzheimer’s, dementia or a related disorder 8AM-8PM 1-800-424-2494
Cop2Cop- 24/7 law enforcement officers 1-866-267-2267
Worker 2Worker for DCP and P workers 8AM-8PM-1-855-327-7482
Aid NJEA- school staff members and their families Monday-Thursday 12PM-8PM; Fridays 12PM-6PM 1-866-243-6532
We wish all of our clients and respective communities strength and resilience at this challenging time. Our practitioners are designated essential personnel, and are committed to providing and supporting our community and clients with consistent, supportive, grounding care.
A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:
As I feel into and notice the sensation of stress in my body, it is like a panorama of sensations exploding and expanding from within. In any given day, we experience stress in multiple formats coming at us from multiple people through varied situations: lack of a good night of sleep, muscle pains from lumpy mattress or kids kicking us out of our bed, guilt over not making time to meditate or exercise, not enough hot water for a shower, cherrios box empty, grouchy spouse, kids not getting ready for school fast enough, work projects unfinished…whew! and it’s only 8 am! Now that’s a dramatic replay of distressing types of stress, and certainly not every morning is like this, but let’s consider eustress, the good type of stress. Eustress can still affect the body, but it tends to be as a result of positive events: marriage, having a baby, hosting a party, interviewing for a job, asking for a raise, competing in a sporting event, networking or social engagements….eustress allows us to have focused energy in a short amount of time, it motivates us and it usually is tied to a favorable end result allowing for change and growth.
Symptomatically, both types of stress can feel like…tightness in the chest, butterflies in the belly, heart racing, the body releasing cortisol and adrenaline, the body ready to react and to move into action…The Stress Response or, Fight and Flight, is being activated, and the sensations you feel are real and varied!
It is all of these processes combined, along with a minimum of over 20 additional reactions and changes, both internally and externally, that result in the “stress” we feel in our body. When we say we are stressed, it is not just removing “stress” in the body, but rather a combined effort of alleviating the panorama of symptoms of all of these bodily processes.
Try out this 61 point meditation for relaxation that draws on the science of the veda’s and the marma points of the body. Attached is an audio recording and a worksheet download for you to follow. As you try out the meditation and notice the points on the body, see what it may feel like to just notice each point as you move through the meditation, and then comparatively, try tapping along each of the points using your pointer and index finger of either your left or right hand on each of the points.
A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:
As we prepare for the winter season and celebrate holiday time with family and friends, remember to take time to rest and reflect for your own care and well-being. iRest is an all encompassing mindfulness meditation practice that we teach and offer in our office.
It invites physical relaxation, mental relaxation and emotional relaxation and as a regular practice, it has been researched to lower the blood pressure, lower the heart rate, calm the nervous system, enhance mental focus, stabilize the mood, and release negative emotions.
We hope you use the download to invite rest into your life as part of your integrated practice!
A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:
An invitation to yourself to return to mindfulness:
Dear Beloved Self:
I know we sometimes have our difficulties with each other. From the moment I awaken, from a usually not so restful sleep, I try to prepare for the day ahead, either work, school, family or in the rare moment, a day for self. Responsibilities, errands, family issues, worries, fears and life, creep back into my mind. I forget to take time for myself and I dive, instantly, back into the structures, ideas, and identities that mask me.
Today, I will offer myself a moment of remembrance, a moment to return to myself, to return to my sense of grounding and calmness that is inherently within me, maybe deep within me, but there nonetheless.
Today, I return to mindfulness, being aware of the present moment and not losing myself in past fears or future worries.
Today, I practice mindfulness of breath. I can do this practice wherever I am, I only need my willingness to participate, and I only need 6 minutes.