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Mindfulness at Center Ice

I have been following my beloved Buffalo Sabres for a few decades now, I guess you can call me a superfan. I remember 2005-2006, in particular, where there was no stopping us, we were scoring at will and winning impossible games. They were the “heart attack kids” and “scary good” at that point in time. How many games during those years were won within the last few seconds? Even down 1-2 or more goals, you knew when they stepped on the ice, you could feel the energy and you know the heart attack kids were going to make it happen. Wow, that was a great season. Despite those winning seasons, the team generally struggles to find a winning groove. This shortened 2021 season is no exception, but it is different in many ways.

Last month, I came across this Buffalo News article, “Inside the Sabres: Mental health an area of focus during the pandemic,” It talks about a struggling sports team that just can’t find any consistency in its performance and is facing tremendous pressure to perform better while living in a chaotic environment. The article summarizes the pressures of team members’ isolation from their families, daily COVID fears, and tremendous uncertainty of their life schedule from day to day. It was interesting to read about the extensive role of mental health and counseling support from the team, the NHLPA and the NHL itself. It should be no surprise that a sports team might turn to mental health treatment for coping mechanisms to improve themselves and their contributions to their team.

The rest of us are no different in this pandemic environment.

We are all experiencing a new unending level of daily pressure, fear, racing thoughts, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, the list goes on. The pandemic and lifestyle changes resulting from shutdowns, travel bans, etc. have turned our lives upside down and sideways. It has impacted our family life, work life and social lives in ways none of us could have ever imagined. We are all struggling with a level of uncertainty that threatens our ability to focus and perform at our best in each of the roles we play every day, be it boss, staff member, factory worker, parent, sibling, teacher, etc.

As the players and others in the article point out, the best they can do, and perhaps the best any of us can do, is focus on the present. But how do you do that when faced with so many worries and demands? Well, the best of current mental health therapies has an answer in Mindfulness. In its simplest form, and in my own personal experience, it can be a valuable tool to help bring you a level of focus and control to life when faced with unusually stressful and challenging circumstances that threaten your mental and physical well-being. There is an impressive level of efficacy research on this therapy and its positive physical and psychological benefits.

Spectrum Health and Human Services offers mindfulness sessions every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 10am along other helpful resources through our Community of Caring. You are not alone. You can find these resources and more available at

Don Dauman

Sr. Vice President of Finance/CFO

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