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Mindfulness and the stress of waiting

Image of Kate Sweeny courtesy of University of California, Riverside.

Furman University psychology graduate (Class of 2002) Kate Sweeny has found that mindfulness, an active focus on the present moment, is an effective way to deal with the stress related to uncertain waiting periods, be it waiting for medical test results, an answer about a new job or promotion, or academic test results.  The University of California, Riverside professor says, “Waiting is characterized by the worst kind of mental time travelobsessing about the past and the future—what could I have done differently, and how might things turn out? Mindfulness seemed like the perfect antidote to these repetitive, worrisome thoughts.” She and her colleague Jennifer Howell tested the efficacy of mindfulness on graduates who were awaiting their result on the California bar exam. Sweeny talks about the results in The Academic Minute,” a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio with funding support from the Association of American Colleges & Universities.


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