The Whole Health Cure

"Finding Connection in Times of Isolation" with Jenny Mascaro, PhD

Episode Summary

Jennifer Mascaro, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Mascaro holds a PhD in biological anthropology from Emory University. Her doctoral work examined the impact of compassion meditation on social cognition and brain function, and post-doctoral work investigated the biological bases of paternal caregiving behavior. Dr. Mascaro's current research program examines interventions that enhance social connectivity, and in so doing, impact health. Ongoing projects include longitudinal investigations of compassion and mindfulness meditation training for diverse populations including Emory Healthcare employees, medical and physician’s assistant students, and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. We talk about social distancing, its meaning and effects. There is existing and emerging research about loneliness and isolation - the differences between the two, how each affects our health and wellbeing in different ways. Is physical isolation a determinant for feeling lonely? Can technology and connectedness through online communing be effective to overcome it or mitigate its effects? What are the things we can do to still continue to participate in and build communities in spite of isolation and social distancing? Dr. Mascaro also talks about other triggers that may be influencing mental health of people today - uncertainty, lack of control, lack of predictability, hightened stress - and how those can effect us in short and long term. We discuss the tools we can use to deal with all of this, the silver lining we can focus on, the good to look forward to. Tune in to learn more! This podcast is brought to you by Emory Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness. To learn more about our work, please visit https://bit.ly/EmoryLM

Episode Notes

Jennifer Mascaro, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Mascaro is a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at Winship Cancer Institute.

Dr. Mascaro holds a PhD in biological anthropology from Emory University. Her doctoral work examined the impact of compassion meditation on social cognition and brain function, and post-doctoral work investigated the biological bases of paternal caregiving behavior. 

Dr. Mascaro's current research program examines interventions that enhance social connectivity, and in so doing, impact health. Ongoing projects include longitudinal investigations of compassion and mindfulness meditation training for diverse populations including Emory Healthcare employees, medical and physician’s assistant students, and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We talk about social distancing, its meaning and effects. There is existing and emerging research about loneliness and isolation - the differences between the two, how each affects our health and wellbeing in different ways. Is physical isolation a determinant for feeling lonely? Can technology and connectedness through online communing be effective to overcome it or mitigate its effects? What are the things we can do to still continue to participate in and build communities in spite of isolation and social distancing? Dr. Mascaro also talks about other triggers that may be influencing mental health of people today - uncertainty, lack of control, lack of predictability, hightened stress - and how those can effect us in short and long term. We discuss the tools we can use to deal with all of this, the silver lining we can focus on, the good to look forward to. 

Tune in to learn more!

There is a number of resources that are available for free for various groups especially affected by current events.

Headspace is offering free Headspace Plus access for Healthcare professionals: https://www.headspace.com/health-covid-19

The yoga app Down Dog is offering free subscriptions to anyone through April 1 and to anyone with a .edu email address until July 1: https://www.downdogapp.com/

Calm is offering free meditation resources, including their widely acclaimed Sleep Stories as well as meditation sessions for kids:

https://www.calm.com/blog/take-a-deep-breath?utm_source=lifecycle&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=difficult_times_subs_031720

The VA has free apps developed for those wanting help interacting with difficult emotions:

- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Coach APP: https://mobile.va.gov/app/act-coach

- Mindfulness: https://mobile.va.gov/app/mindfulness-coach

 

This podcast is brought to you by Emory Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness. To learn more about our work, please visit 

https://bit.ly/EmoryLM