SN_Ep12 - Christine Mwangi with Doreen Mangrum

Aug 19, 2020

Shaping Narratives

Christine Mwangi talks to Doreen Mangrum, CEO at Mangrum ConSOULtation, LLC about using mindfulness meditation to stave off the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Christine Mwangi, host of WGVU’s The Black Honest Truth, a podcast exploring the distinct experiences that African immigrants and African Americans have with blackness. With her medical and health background she finds expert voices to discuss health at home in isolation.

Shaping Narratives is a collection of voices from West Michigan’s communities of color.

Shaping Narratives is created by WGVU NPR in partnership with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and WGVU NPR sustaining monthly donors. Become a sustaining monthly donor now at wgvu.org/donate to support WGVU NPR’s local programs, including Shaping Narratives.

Full Transcript:  You're listening to shaping narratives, a collection of voices from West Michigan's communities of color brought to you by WGVU, NPR and PBS in West Michigan. In a partnership with the WK Kellogg foundation, the voice of today's podcast is Christine Mwangi. Host of WGVU’s the black, honest truth, a podcast exploring the distinct experiences that African immigrants and African Americans have with blackness. A first generation transplant from Nairobi Kenya. Christine has degrees from both the U S and England, her medical and health background help her find expert voices to discuss health. At home in isolation.

Today we are joined by mindfulness educator, Doreen Mangrum. Doreen. Thank you so much for joining us.

Well, thank you for having me. I'm very, very happy at this time to be here.

Wonderful. Now, during this COVID-19 pandemic, many people are experiencing heightened stress and anxiety from the long term effects of social distancing and quarantine. And a lot of people are looking to various ways of coping and exercising mindfulness and a lot of self care. So we hear a lot of different terms, such as wellness, mindfulness, and even meditation. Do you mind telling our listeners or educating them on the difference between wellness, mindfulness and meditation?

So mindfulness is a means to wellness. Mindfulness is a way to live. To be in relationships to be with yourself. Mindfulness is a way to wellness, via dealing with emotions. Um, and anxiety. Meditation is a means to get to mindfulness. So we meditate to learn to work with our body and our mind. To recognize what's happening within our body, in our mind. And then when we're done with the meditation, we can walk our life in mindfulness or mindfully. Does that help?

Yes, that actually helps quite a lot. And during this time managing anxiety where one may want to practice meditation, what are some strategies to utilize meditation as a self care practice that you have been either utilizing yourself or teaching others?

Right. Well, there's both of that. I teach others and I utilize myself. I meditate every day in practice, mindfulness every day, and it is a practice. Um, so. You talk about anxiety, but I do need to add in now during this COVID crisis, um, the disappointment, the frustration, the anxiety and the stress, but there's anger and sadness and loneliness. And there's so many different things going on with so many different people in all walks of life. And so when we talk about, um, strategies, um, there's many, but I'm going to try to focus on something that might help a listener right now. So, first of all, you come to mindfulness with an open mind and an open heart, of course. And what the first. One of  the first things we teach you to do is be mindful of your body. Just recognize where your body is sitting, where your feet are on the floor. Uh, what is supporting you. And then you just go to that place and you just pay attention to that. The other one is paying attention to your breath. And there's two different ways to pay attention to your breath. There's lots of different ways, but these two are, um, foundational in mindfulness. So by going either to where you feel the breath and the nose, the chest, or the abdomen, and you choose one of those that works for you, we call that your anchor breath. And that's always there for you. You can always go to your breath no matter what the situation, no matter what, the emotion you can stop. Recognize the emotion and then take some breaths and noticing it. The other type of breath is just using, um, anchor words. So some people prefer to say, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out some, just say in out some may count their breath. So you can add an anchor word to that breath. Hmm. Um, those are two of the strategies, the other really important one. Um, we use gratitude and soaking in the good. So when there's times where it's just frustrating, you can stop and you can have gratitude and we just call it a gratitude practice and we teach kids and adults alike. Just say three things that you're grateful for. Notice how your body feels now. And there's usually a change and then soaking in the good is an opportunity. Um, as you notice disappointment, you notice it and you say, Oh, I'm going to remember a time. Um, you think of a loved one or a loving situation, a pet or an animal, or just a good situation. And you close your eyes and you think of that situation and you soak in that good. These are moments that can change. The way you're perceiving and the way you're responding. So those are a few techniques.

Thank you so much. I was especially taken aback at the fact that this can even be used for children. I had never thought of meditation for children, but I'm so excited to hear that it is a strategy that children can also benefit from. So.

I'm just going to add that too. Thank you for saying that the mindfulness is for all walks of life. Everybody, all ages I've even taught preschoolers I've I've taught special needs students. Um, I worked at a homeless shelter for women. Um, this is not a religious based practice. It's just, it's just open for everybody. It's all inclusive. And it's really important to say that. So thank you for bringing up the kids.

Absolutely. And so, as a listener, I'm hearing this, I may want to plug in. I may want to get started perhaps as a beginner, perhaps as a continuation of a practice I once used to love, but have fallen out of touch with what are resources, um, that you. Are sharing with your students and with the community to access the practice of meditation during this time?

Yeah. Um, there are apps on. Um, that you have access to, uh, insight timer. That's I N S I G H T timer is a free app that I use all the time. That app has things for children on it. It has meditation. It has some courses you might have to pay for. But everything else is free. It has guided meditations that are amazing anywhere from five minutes to 50 minutes, you can, you can filter through any of that. Headspace and calm are also very popular. I don't use them as much, but they are popular and they do have a fee that goes with them. And if you just Google mindfulness. I will tell you resources galore will come up. So, um, yeah, and the mindful school's curriculum, um, is what we use with students. Uh, you have to be a certified instructor in the curriculum, but that is, it's a great resource.

That's great. Thank you so much for sharing those. And should our listeners wish to contact you and learn more about meditation or potentially start this useful practice with your guidance? How can they do so?

So I do have a website www.mangrumconsultation.com and the soul and consultation is soul dot com. Or they can call me (616) 951-3024. And I'm happy to talk to anybody that's interested. I have a small practice, but, um, we have a great, um, Program here in grand Rapids called the Grand Rapids center for mindfulness and Carol Hendershot is one of the cofounders along with April Hadley. Carol is a certified, a mindful based stress reduction instructor. And this is all, um, Uh, MBSR Mindfulnessl based stress reduction comes from the Jon Kabat-Zinn protocol and is a amazing program. That's really what got me started on a really good track in terms of meditation and mindfulness. And she can be reached at www dot grcfm dot com. That's the grand Rapids center for mindfulness dot com. And I'd like to give you her number as well. (616) 361-3660. Um, Carol is also a great clearing house. If anybody has any questions, she can get them to the right people that she needs. Cheryl Blackington works with teens very important. Um, I worked with teens also and, um, she, her website is Teens Just breathe. And her email is teensjustbreathe@gmail.com. She has a reduced prices on her classes right now because of the situation. And she also works with parents and there'll be a parenting series in the summer. And then Patty ward is the guru and the mindful schools here in our area. We're very fortunate to have her here. She works with the folks out in California. And her website is mindful moments in EDU at Gmail and, um, You can call her at (616) 204-2099. And I have one more that I'd like to share with you. Um, Leonard van Gelder is a physical therapist and works, uh, with, is the executive of my movement and pain specialist. Um, dynamic movement and recovery, D M R is the name of the organization and they do great work helping people with pain and they include mindfulness into that. So they're working with the mind and the body together, which is now research is saying so much about how that helps in dealing with pain.

And the other thing that comes to mind too, I just want to say is there's so much research. Now we find behind mindfulness and how, um, it really can. Um, change our brains and how we respond and, and work with relationships and people in our own selves. So thank you for that opportunity, Christina. I appreciate it.

Absolutely. Thank you very much for joining us. This has been Christine with WGVU

Shaping Narratives a collection of voices from West Michigan's communities of color is brought to you in partnership with the wk Kellogg Foundation, a partner with communities where children come first. Want to hear more Shaping Narratives episodes download and subscribe at WGVU dot org or wherever you get your podcasts. Please rate and subscribe if you get a chance, it helps us to know you're listening. Shaping Narratives is produced by WGVU PBS and NPR in West Michigan through the facilities of the Meijer public broadcast center in the service of Grand Valley State University. Matt Gruppen processed all the audio, Joe Bielecki edits each episode, Vance Orr designed our graphics and manages our Web presence, Phil Lanes is our director of content. The views and opinions expressed in this program are those of the hosts and their guests and do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU or Grand Valley State University.