How to have mindful moments and handle difficult situations

Dr. Rheeda Walker, author of “The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health,” shares tips to address pain and anxiety brought on by the national conversation on race and the coronavirus pandemic.
5:48 | 06/24/20

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Transcript for How to have mindful moments and handle difficult situations
families and communities are trying to deal with the pandemic, protests and racial divisions, tough conversations are coming to the surface but many are processing it all in isolation so we're joined by clinical psychologist and author Dr. Rheeda walker to talk about how moment in this time and, Dr. Walker, thanks for joining us. First let's talk about what you mean by mindful moments and how we can create them. Yeah, I think oftentimes we are just in autopilot and not necessarily thinking about what we're doing, what we're thinking and how we're surviving the kind of -- what's going on right now and so we have to be more intentional about realizing just all of those things and where we are in a very, very difficult time. And, Dr. Walker, in your book you discuss the stigma surround getting help in the black community. How can we shift that to have a much more open conversation about the hurt we are feeling? Yeah, I think first we have to start to redefine what we think about getting -- about getting help. Like right now a lot of folks think of getting help as it means we're weak or something is wrong with me so we have to think about if we're able to overcome fears and thoughts, that actually suggests we are strong and that we have a certain strength about us and then once we're able to do that, also pay attention to what we're telling ourselves about what other people are thinking or saying about us and we have to ignore, ignore those thoughts to push forward. That's good advice. We do want to bring in viewer questions for you, Dr. Walker. The first comes from Susan. She's a grocery checker near Seattle. Take a listen. Hi, I'm a grocery checker and at work I'm faced with hundreds of people every day. How can I better interact with my customers and co-workers given that everybody is in a different state of stress and anxiety and everyone is processing things differently. Yeah, I certainly appreciate that question from Susan because it actually suggests that she's had some mindfulness in realizing that a lot of people are going through a lot of different challenges so one of the things that Susan might want to think about is, you know, what are the things that she's always done? What are the things that she has always, you know, initiated in conversations with customers because maybe she can shift back to doing those kinds of things and engaging those kinds of conversations so she can get some of her self-back because the world has shifted and it's important for us to do the best we can, you know, to find the good parts of ourselves so we can retain that. Good advice right there. Let's hear from bronna who wants to know what to tell friends who want to be better allys in a lot of my white colleagues and friends have been reaching out to discuss race and a lot of times these can seem quite dying. How can white folks be allies without burning the black community? Yeah, thank you for the I know that has come up a fair amount that there are a lot of white people who want to be allies but don't recognize, first and foremost, how taxing that can be for people who are already feeling the pressure of racism just about everywhere. I think it's important to realize it is a burden and then commit to being self-educated. There are a lot of books out there. There's a lot of information on the internet and so get self-educated and then pay attention to what's going on in your immediate environment. Are there policies that are adversely impacting African-Americans? Are there people making decisions and saying things that are adversely impacting people immediately around them? Say something. Speak up and be very determined about that without necessarily having to go to someone and say, hey, tell me what it is I need to do for you. That's great advice. Lastly, Dr. Walker, what are some things we all can do to handle stress while it's happening in the moment? Yeah, you know, I think that there are two things, first starting with our thoughts and paying attention to what are the things that we're telling ourselves, there was a segment earlier about moms and, you know, parents at home with children working. You know, can we redirect our thoughts and say rather that having a difficult time, shift to the child and say they're probably having a tough time too so paying attention to our thoughts and then just breathing, like just taking a moment to take a deep breath because it does two thing, it helps to oxygenate our body and diverts stress. That moment of pause is so important. The headlines are spinning. They're coming at us fast. How can we take a break from all of it? Yeah, we have to be really, really very intentional. Because everything is so overwhelming but I think first doing a self-assessment. A self-check on a zero to ten with zero being not so good and ten being great, how am I doing? If I'm at a six or below, pay attention to our thoughts in the shower, so many of us jump in the shower and jump out, think about all the things going on in the world. Just be mindful in the shower, enjoy the shower. Write down our thoughts. You know, get the thoughts out of our head because oftentimes we ruminate and we think if I keep thinking about these things it'll help but sometimes it helps actually just to mutt the thoughts on paper and walk away from them. And then maybe just enjoy, you know, the smaller simple things in life. You know, music, time with family, even if sometimes it feels like it's too much time. Find the simple things that we can enjoy and then maybe reach out to a friend. Ask the friend on a zero to ten how are you doing and get a conversation going from there? Oh that, is all terrific advice. Thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Walker. Her book, "The unapologetic guide to black mental health" is available right now and we'll be

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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