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001. Three Reasons Why You Want to Add a Mindfulness Practice to Your Daily Routine

Our conversation today is with the awesome Vincent Fricano, LCSW. Vincent is a licensed clinical social worker that helps people solve and cope with problems  in their lives. We discussed 3 reasons why you want to add a mindfulness practice to your daily routine.

I know that you’ll enjoy this session with Vincent. After our conversation, we had about a 10 minute mindfulness session… it was so relaxing. You don’t want to miss it!

Episode Highlights with Vincent Fricano, LCSW

  • What’s the difference between mindfulness and meditation
  • 3 benefits of mindfulness
  • What people may experience during the practice
  • How not to get frustrated with the process

Show Transcript

Introduction (1s):
Welcome to the Wellness Surge podcast with Dr. Adeola Oke. Each week we discuss our wellness journey with real people like you and me. We have conversations about food, fitness, mental health, financial wellness, and much more. So you can get back to the real you to make sure that you’re up to date with this and other wellness topics, visit wellnesssurge.com. Information presented here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease. Please do not apply any of the information presented here without first speaking with your primary care provider.

Introduction (32s):
Now let’s head onto the show.

Dr. Adeola Oke (42s):
Hello everybody. Thank you, and welcome to the first Wellness Surge podcast. My name is Adeola Oke and I’ll be your hostess for today. Today, we have it with us Vincent Fricano. The awesome Vincent. He’s a social worker and he’s my coworker. So when the whole Corona virus started, you started having a lot of like -we were very -we are all stressed like everybody, right? So at work we decided, well, we will like to incorporate a mindfulness practice inside our daily lives.

Dr. Adeola Oke (1m 14s):
And Vincent was one of the social workers that gracefully wants it to do that for us. And that’s how I got to experience his mindfulness session. And it just relaxed me. It made me feel so good. And I thought, you know what? I like to invite Vincent to come and share this wonderful experience with my people, with my tribe. Alrighty. So today we are going to be discussing three reasons why you want to add a mindfulness practice to your daily routine.

Dr. Adeola Oke (1m 44s):
Alrighty, Vincent, go ahead. So, how are you feeling today, Vincent?

Vincent Fricano (1m 50s):
No, I’m feeling really good Adeola, and thank you so much for having me here. I actually wanted to share one of the reasons in the form of a poem. I was going to read that right now real quick, just to share, I’ll kind of address it to you – since we are talking right now. (Adeola) Just by being you, you are a gift- Not just to the people you love, not even just the people who know you – You are a gift to anyone you show kindness to- Anyone you show your smile to- Or give any positive attention to -It could be a total stranger you pass by could be for one fleeting moment in your life.

Vincent Fricano (2m 38s):
You can make someone’s day or maybe give someone a moment they’ll remember forever just by being you -The more positive, the more loving side of you – That gift of you that you don’t always feel like opening up or feel like sharing, especially on the bad days, for the ‘meh’ days -You are a gift and you hold a special power you can bring to the table every day and in doing so, make others realize that they are gifts too, just by being who they are – By making them feel special and showing them the way you can do all this every day in all the time, just by being you.

Vincent Fricano (3m 30s):
That is you. And that’s one of the reasons why I like mindfulness and meditation more specifically mindfulness meditation, because I know there’s often questions about the difference between the two and mindfulness is essentially a form of meditation. It’s one of the options that you have and, you know, mindfulness itself though, is more of an awareness being aware. Well, we often talk about bodily sensations, aware of your breathing, being aware of your surrounding environment.

Vincent Fricano (4m 1s):
And so mindfulness is incorporated in a lot of forms of meditation. There are different forms of meditation, yoga meditation, transcendental meditation, there’s guided imagery meditation. And you know, I worked together and some of the meditations I do actually incorporate different parts, but mindfulness is always one of the parts of it. Mmm. Then there’s also to make it maybe even a little bit more confusing. There’s different forms of mindfulness meditation. Some of it incorporates guided imagery.

Vincent Fricano (4m 33s):
There’s something called a body scan where you focus on different areas of your body and bring that energy and breathing to those areas to kind of heal and nourish those areas of your body. There also happens to be different forms of mindfulness meditation. And depending on what sources you look at, you’ll find that – that, you know, they have different categories or different names for her, you know, for different forms of meditation or different forms of even mindfulness meditation.

Dr. Adeola Oke (5m 1s):
Okay. Alrighty. Well, I must say thank you so much for that beautiful poem. My gosh. I feel like I feel great after that. So thank you. That was awesome. And so thank you for explaining the difference between mindfulness and meditation. Cause sometimes I get confused, like, okay, I want to meditate. I want to, I want to do some mindfulness. I just put on some app when it’s not the day of the week and just try to do my meditation then. So, but I’m glad I now know the difference.

Dr. Adeola Oke (5m 31s):
Okay. Alrighty. So let’s get to the nitty gritty of this. Can you please tell also why we need to incorporate this? Especially because of the whole stress that we are all going through. And like I said, with the Corona virus- the pandemic, we are like- we were feeling very stressed out at work and I started to benefit from the mindfulness practice we were doing every single day. So can you tell us why we want to incorporate it into our daily routine?

Vincent Fricano (5m 59s):
Well, there is a quote by William Shakespeare that I always like to reference. That’s actually from his play Hamlet. There’s a sequence where Hamlet says “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so” – and so, so much of how we react to situations in our daily lives, particularly things like the situation we’re in now with the crisis, is how we take it in. It’s how we react to it, whether or not we allow the thoughts that are entering our mind, sort of take, take us over and take over our day and take over our reaction and therefore our overall view and perspective of what’s going on.

Vincent Fricano (6m 39s):
And mindfulness meditation, it can help walk that negativity, or more specifically, allow yourself to process those thoughts and observe them, to take a nonjudgmental approach with them. UC Berkeley website has a good definition of mindfulness. I like it. It says mindfulness is awareness of our thoughts, feelings, environment, and bodily sensations in the present moment through a gentle, nurturing lens, taking that sort of nonjudgmental approach to your thoughts, to the inner dialogue that’s going on, being able to process it.

Vincent Fricano (7m 22s):
So you’re not blocking it out. You’re not necessarily or bottling it up. You’re allowing you’re -you’re giving yourself the opportunity to process it while also giving your mind a break and finding the right way to do it for you. Because there’s so many options in meditation. I think sometimes people try meditation and they try one thing or they try a guided meditation. They don’t like the person’s voice. I always tell people “well try different ways!” A lot of the people that I, that I work with, they don’t have necessarily the attention span to sit in silence or even to listen to me providing like a guided meditation.

Vincent Fricano (7m 60s):
So in that case, I recommend like movement meditation. You can meditate in a sense or be mindful while you’re doing activities while you’re taking a walk, even while you’re cleaning your house, or you could do it while you’re doing yoga. Yoga has a lot of mindful elements to it. Yoga works a lot better for some people than just straight meditation.

Dr. Adeola Oke (8m 19s):
Okay. Because I must admit there is some mindfulness practices. Like I just, I just fall asleep. Like I just get so relaxed. I just fall asleep. So I hope he can address that. And when you’re giving us the three benefits.

Vincent Fricano (8m 38s):
One of the, one of the people who really got me into meditation, Deepak Chopra, he talks about if you fall asleep during meditation and how that’s not necessarily a bad thing, that just means you need more sleep. If you need to take it nap For something like that. If meditation leads you in that direction, you know, I really believe meditation is giving your body a break. So allow yourself to take that break and get some sleep. I’d also would try to fit in some meditation during that day, too. But you know, I really believe that it leads you in, in the right direction in terms of allowing yourself to take that break, that your body needs, your body is going to react.

Vincent Fricano (9m 16s):
It may react in terms of negative emotions. It may react and just falling asleep. It’s going to react somehow or some way, if you don’t take care of it, meditation is a process or I mean, that can help you take care of it. And, you know, studies have been done. There’s a mix of, you know, there’s a mix in terms of the, you know, with any study in terms of like how much it’s been verified in terms of what it helps with, but, you know, three, three areas that it helps with that I wanted to share that I like personally, are it reduces that fixation on negative emotions.

Vincent Fricano (9m 55s):
You know, one, two, it improves distress tolerance. You’re less impulsive. You’re less reactive to situations. And in doing so, three, it can improve relationship satisfaction if you’re less impulsive and you’re less prone to negative thinking, obviously you’re going to rub off on other people, especially people, you may be quarantined with -family and friends, you know, by improving your inner dialogue, you end up improving also your external dialogue with others. And you start to see that those changes in your relationships.

Vincent Fricano (10m 25s):
That’s what I absolutely love. But I also made myself a little short Eddie Yolo list of things that I would share for her purposes with her wellness podcast. And in that sense, I have three, one, it improves memory and focus. According to studies, especially, you know, cognitive difficulties related to aging. There are studies around that helps reduce anxiety. Somebody like me, who’s a naturally anxious person. This is huge. If you have, and if you’re a naturally anxious person, if it’s something you’ve had since childhood, it can really help you manage your day or do a job like being a social worker or any sort of customer service or sales or any sort of a position where you’re working with others.

Vincent Fricano (11m 9s):
You can also improve your physical health there’s studies around it, helping with pain, using blood pressure, improving sleep, even boosting immunity. As I said, there’s, you know, there’s kind of mixed results. There’s still more to be studied. I think even though we’ve talked about meditation and mindfulness in Western culture now for over 20 years, I think in a lot of ways, it’s still new. It’s still becoming mainstream. It’s still, people are still figuring out, you know, what can this really do for us?

Dr. Adeola Oke (11m 39s):
Awesome. Awesome. Alrighty. So, Alrighty. So if we talk about my own, like falling asleep and -Hmm, I guess I can’t sleep with so long. I just need to get up. I’m like, I’m like, I gotta do something now. I can’t be sleeping long. So I guess I need the meditation to just calm me down, get me to the Zen mode. Alrighty. So Vincent agreed to do mindfulness session with us today so we can all benefit. And I hope I don’t fall asleep Because I try to sleep – I tried to sleep in today.

Dr. Adeola Oke (12m 14s):
So we’ll see. Alrighty. So Vincent, can you lead us Mindfulness session?

Vincent Fricano (12m 21s):
Yes. Yes. I’m actually doing, going to share one that I wrote and it incorporates elements of course, of mindfulness, meditation, loving kindness, meditation, as you know, the body scan it’s sprinkled in. So I want to ask you to take a deep breath, take a second deep breath, holding it a little longer, maybe twice as long as the first. That’s your breathing out. Close your eyes. If you want to keep your eyes open, find a focal point to enter into a soft gaze and the best position in your chair.

Vincent Fricano (12m 57s):
This point just allow your natural breathing to take place. Oh, judgment. Find that right rhythm to breathe. Natural rhythm. Allow it. Accept it. Find the best way to relax. Think about how you you’re about to release all the stress, activity, struggle, anxiety, pain, tension, passion, excitement, exasperation, your worry of your day for your week depending on the time of day or week or listening to this.

Vincent Fricano (13m 48s):
Now take another deep breath- come aware of the environment around you. Become more aware of how you’re feeling right now. Just relax. Because you are about to release everything. Allow yourself to heal and recharge. Thinking about all those emotions you’ve experienced during the week. Imagine you’ve experienced many of these emotions throughout your day.

Vincent Fricano (14m 25s):
That’s an all day journey climbing a steep rugged mountain covered in snow. You’ve spent all day climbing the icy slippery rock. Snow is falling on you from the sky. You desperately need a break. It feels like the whole world has been against you. You’ve been through moments in your day where it seemed impossible to reach your goals.

Vincent Fricano (15m 1s):
Moments where you felt the day could literally slip away from you. But you survived and you’ve kept it going. Do you find you’ve reached a sanctuary. You sit by a warm, glowing fire, in a cave, far away from the falling snow and icy wind. Far away from all the stress and responsibilities in the day.

Vincent Fricano (15m 32s):
You’re surprised to find a comfortable seat in the cave, Cradles your body perfectly just as your chairs, cradling your body perfectly. Now relax. Quickly forget about all of this. As you gently relax, warm and inviting atmosphere.

Vincent Fricano (16m 2s):
Feel the warmth of the fire surrounding you in a compassionate reassuring embrace. Take a moment. As you think of yourself, entering a gradual state of relaxation. Answer a few questions could be yes or no. Can you feel the rhythm of your breath slowing to a steady deeper pace? Are you open to allowing yourself find a greater peace and the deeper state, but relaxation?

Vincent Fricano (16m 43s):
How far can you open yourself up to arrest? Can you feel the glowing more spread from the center of your body, through your arms and legs, gently calming your nerves. Can you feel the sense of relaxation move down through your arms, your hands, and the reach of your fingers? Can you feel the sense relaxation trickle down your legs through the bottom of your feet and each of your toes.

Vincent Fricano (17m 21s):
You noticed the fire watch as it dances hypnotically in front of you. As it illuminates the cave all around you. The warmth of this scene lifts you up and you find yourself flooded with warm, positive thoughts of loved ones. All the positive qualities you can see in yourself and all the great things you are doing for your family, your friends and your job.

Vincent Fricano (17m 57s):
Take a moment. Think of those you love you care about. Can you feel the love compassionate side of you returning, pushing aside your stress, each breath. Can you imagine an even deeper relationship and connection with those you already love and care about?

Vincent Fricano (18m 28s):
Can you imagine yourself opening up more to people you’ve always wanted a better relationship with? Can you imagine yourself bringing warmth to interactions that would otherwise leave you feeling cold? Do you imagine yourself cold, negative situation and bringing the warmth, positivity, you may be feeling now, to another person?

Vincent Fricano (19m 1s):
As you think about people you love and care about. You find all the memories of stress and cold, frustration and impatience, worry and fear are being absorbed all by the warmth of fire and the warmth and relaxation generated entirely by you being present and open.

Vincent Fricano (19m 36s):
You realize that this great fire in front of you, is one that you can carry with you. Each mountain you climb and each challenge thats still lies ahead. Day a day, take a moment and allow yourself that you’re in the cracks in the fire over the logs, those arcs and the flares of the flames, and embrace that internal warmness inside of you.

Vincent Fricano (20m 16s):
Just allow yourself to be. When you’re ready, you can open your eyes. Come back to the room you’re in. Take in this new sense of relaxation. Take in the warmth that has come over you -all the positive thoughts, loved ones along with you, knowing there’s a positive glow inside of you, that will always be there for you.

Vincent Fricano (20m 51s):
Tap into when you need it along the journey.

Dr. Adeola Oke (20m 57s):
I feel great. I don’t know about you, but I feel a great thank you so much! That was awesome. I hope people can also benefit from this. And get to just relax in the day. And so that’s the whole purpose of this. De-stress during times of stress, in our daily lives filled with stress. You just need to destress and mindfulness is one of the ways we can do that. Thank you so much. Vincent hope to have you on another time.

Dr. Adeola Oke (21m 27s):
Okay. I hope you take me up on it.

Vincent Fricano (21m 28s):
Thank you. And I just want to tell the audience, even if you didn’t like what you heard today, or even if you didn’t like my voice or you didn’t like the techniques we did, there are so many techniques out there for you. And I always recommend, you know, if you want to give yourself a break, starting out with maybe just five minutes or ten minutes and seeing how that works, compare it. Like I kind of compare it like going to the gym. You can’t just go into the gym and just do every machine that’s in there. You got to ease yourself into it. So find what’s right for you.

Vincent Fricano (21m 60s):
Start small, give yourself that break. You’ll notice even five minutes a day. If you make it a habit, you can make a difference. You find what works for you.

Dr. Adeola Oke (22m 10s):
Awesome. Awesome. And I’m so happy I didn’t fall asleep. So I guess forcing myself to sleep in works today. Alrighty. Thank you Ben saying, hopefully we can have you on another day or you have take care. Bye bye.

Ending (22m 30s):
Join our Wellness Surge Facebook community so that you can implement what we learned together. I am because you are thank you for listening and sharing your precious time with us. If you enjoy the show, then follow us and subscribe on iTunes, YouTube, or any app. The caries podcasts have an awesome week, best wishes to see you thrive.