Our fire fighters are exposed to many external stressors and pressure in their work. While most of us aren’t dousing flames and saving cats in trees in our day-to-day, it’s a feeling a lot of us relate to.
Mindfulness Research with Fire Fighters
A recent study led by researchers at the Black Dog Institute and University of NSW Sydney (UNSW) has found robust associations between mindfulness and mental health and well-being in Australian fire fighters.
Increased mindfulness was positively associated with decreased depression and anxiety, as well as greater levels of wellbeing, according to the findings published in BMC Psychology.
The study involved 114 professional firefighters from Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), who reported reduced levels of depression and anxiety when practicing mindfulness. Interestingly, the findings hold true regardless of gender or number of years on the job.
“Like many of the other skills firefighters employ, mindfulness is an acute attention skill. It requires sustained attention, situational awareness and it may also enhance specific cognitive abilities such as working memory,” says Sadhbh Joyce, Senior Psychologist and consultant with the Black Dog Institute’s Workplace Mental Health Research Program.
Mindfulness Research in other High Risk Situations
The study builds on recent research from Black Dog Institute, UNSW and FRNSW, which found online mindfulness-based resilience training significantly enhanced psychological resilience for high-risk workers.
Mindfulness in Your Own Life
We all wanted to be firefighters when we were little. Now’s your chance. Take a moment to check in with your immediate surrounds, the areas of your life that are important to you and your loved ones, have a yarn with someone close to you, and practice being present and mindful to put out some of those fires in your life.