Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Mindfulness Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Melissa Jean

Second Advisor

Dr. Nancy Waring


Healthcare providers are subject to unique stress as part of their job in a helping profession and regularly suffer the effects of burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Mindfulness-based interventions have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing burnout and addressing the impacts of secondary traumatic stress, however the current COVID-19 pandemic poses a new, more debilitating type of stress to healthcare providers. This paper seeks to examine the existing evidence on the effects of mindfulness in reducing burnout and secondary traumatic stress, incorporate new evidence on the unique stress of COVID-19, and determine if mindfulness interventions remain effective. It also seeks to evaluate the most recommended forms of mindfulness practice and evaluate the science behind their effectiveness.

Findings of this paper include the significant effects of COVID-19 on healthcare workers, both physically and emotionally, and the resulting increase in anxiety, depression, and insomnia that stems from the traumatic nature of healthcare providers’ work during COVID-19. Further effects of COVID-19 are found to be due to the increased isolation due to COVID-19 precautions and the pre-existing literature on the effects of isolation. This paper also suggests that mindfulness can help healthcare providers retain their effectiveness and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and that these benefits are maximized by focusing mindfulness efforts in four areas: nutrition, movement, meditation, and rest, each of which reflects principles of the Buddhist roots of mindfulness as well as emerging neuroscience. It is my hope that this body of work will continue to benefit those who have so tirelessly sacrificed their physical and emotional well-being for those of others during this global pandemic.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.