Outsmarting Stress with Mindfulness During Stress Awareness Month in April

StressImpactsEveryoneS-T-R-E-S-S. Stress impacts everyone. It happens when we experience pressure or a situation that exceeds our ability to cope. It’s also one of the main sources of wear-and-tear on our spirits, minds, bodies, and relationships.

In the United States where I live, the most common sources of stress include work, money, the current political climate, the future of the nation, violence, and crime. Guess which ones are the most common among adults? Here’s how the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2017 Stress in America survey answered the question.

  • #1 – The Future of the Nation, 63% of adults (specific issues include health care – 43%, economy – 35%, trust in government – 32%, crime and hate crimes – 31%, terrorist attacks – 30%, high taxes – 28%, social security – 26%, and government controversies and scandals – 25%
  • #2 – Money, 62% of adults
  • #3 – Work, 61% of adults
  • #4 – Current Political Climate, 57% of adults
  • #5 – Violence and Crime, 51% of adults


In its 2018 Stress in America survey, the APA documented how young Americans between the ages of 15 and 21 (referred to as Generation Z or Gen Z) are impacted by stress. The survey found that high-profile issues, such as sexual harassment and gun violence, are significant stressors for Gen Z. Also, Gen Z is most likely of all generations to report poor mental health and significantly more likely to seek professional help for mental health issues. See more below.

  • Gen Z Stressed About Safety: 75 percent of Gen Z report mass shootings as a significant source of stress, and nearly as many (72 percent) say the same about school shootings or the possibility of them occurring
  • Gen Z Stressed About Nation: Gen Z’s reported average stress level related to the current state of the nation is 5.4 (on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “little or no stress” and 10 is “a great deal of stress”). It is on par with the national average for adults overall regarding the state of the nation (5.3). More than half experience the current political climate as a source of stress (55 percent). Around two-thirds of Gen Z feel very or somewhat significantly stressed about the nation’s future (68 percent) and do not believe the nation is moving toward being stronger than ever (66 percent).
  • Gen Z Stressed About News: They are stressed out about news related to mass shootings (75%), the rise in suicide rates (62%), climate change and global warming (58%), the separation and deportation of immigrant and migrant families (57%), and sexual harassment and assault reports (53%).
  • Gen Z Personal Life Stressors: Money is a significant stress for 81 percent of Gen Zs. Work is their second biggest stressor (77 percent).  Their third biggest stressor is health-related concerns (75%). The economy is their fourth biggest stressor (48%).
  • How Stress Impacts Gen Zs of Color: They are more likely to report stress around certain issues more than their white peers. For example, four in 10 Gen Zs of color experience stress related to their personal debt (41 percent) and housing instability (40 percent) compared to three in 10 white Gen Zs (30 percent) who experience stress related to personal debt and less than one quarter (24 percent) who experience stress related to housing instability. Also, 34 percent of Gen Zs of color report experiencing stress related to hunger and getting enough to eat compared to  23 percent of white Gen Zs.

What are the most common sources of stress in your life?

How do you manage them?


I manage stress with the support of mindfulness practices including meditation, yoga, reiki, journaling, mindful moments throughout my day, fitness workouts, walking, art-making, dancing, sipping tea, reading Oprah and Mindful magazines, laughing and spending time with family and friends, listening to music, participating in Deepak and Oprah’s 21-day meditation challenges (offered 4 times per year), and going on meditation and yoga retreats.

In case you are wondering what mindfulness is, I thought I’d share my two-part definition.

Mindfulness is our birthright. Each of us is born with the ABILITY TO BE AWARE of what’s happening in our spirit, heart, mind, body, and surroundings.

Mindfulness is also a practice that we can CHOOSE to PAY ATTENTION to what’s happening in our spirit, heart, mind, body and surroundings ON PURPOSE in the PRESENT MOMENT and WITHOUT JUDGMENT.


Just in case you are looking for resources to outsmart stress, I thought I would share several podcast resources and a schedule of my April classes and workshops this month. May they support you in navigating stress with more ease and grace. Also, drop me a line at to let me know how they have helped you. Feel free to share them with your family, friends, and colleagues too.




ONLINE WORKSHOP ON APRIL 6, 3-5PM ET VIA ZOOM: Practice self-care by giving yourself the gift of an evening of mindful reflection that allows you to become still and explore what’s been happening in your life. During the workshop, you will recharge with mindful living practices including breathing and meditation. You’ll use mindful creativity exercises to reflect on how you are showing up in your life, relationships, career, and/or business. Also, you’ll get help in creating a game plan for navigating and celebrating your next 30-90 days. REGISTER ONLINE ($35).

DC WORKSHOP ON APRIL 7, 6:30-8:30PM AT QI KRATOM CBD TEA, 1517 U STREET, NW: Join me for a self-care workshop that includes meditation, deep breathing and gentle office yoga exercises (chair and standing yoga poses), reflection and journaling, release and forgiveness, action planning for next 30-90 days, and celebration of Y-O-U. REGISTER ONLINE ($35).


DC WEEKLY CLASSES: If you are in the Washington, DC area in April and looking for ways to outsmart stress, join me at my Thriving Mindfully in the City class on Sundays, April 7, 21, and 28 (no class on April 14) from 2-3 p.m. at the Eaton Workshop’s Wellness Center, 1201 K Street, NW ($20 – register online).

Also, I teach the Mindful Monday Meditation class as a part of the #ThrivingMindfully Meetup Group on Mondays, April 8, 15, 22, and 29 from 6:15-7:30 p.m. at Qi Kratom CBD Tea, 1517 U Street, NW (free). The #ThrivingMindfully Meetup Group is celebrating its first year anniversary this month. Visit Thriving Mindfully Meetup Group’s page for more information.


Eaton Radio Launches Ananda Leeke’s Thriving Mindfully Show, S1 EP 1 – Women Warriors Who Practice Mindfulness in March


On March 16th, Eaton Radio and I partnered to launch my Thriving Mindfully Show at the Eaton Workshop, a woman-owned arts, social justice, and wellness hotel, co-working space, and center in DC. The Thriving Mindfully Show is dedicated to sharing stories about people who use mindfulness to express creativity, social justice activism, and wellness. The one-hour program airs on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

Go here to listen to the inaugural episode featuring a discussion on Warrior Women Who Practice Mindfulness with Satyani McPherson of Kozmique Light Media, Iris Rivera of Intentional Healing, and Emily Rasowsky of The Release. During the show, the women discussed the following:

  • the meaning of mindfulness and meditation
  • each woman’s journey and what led them to mindfulness
  • each woman’s healing arts gifts and business
  • reflections on “Mindfulness as the New Sexy,” a phrase I coined and am currently exploring in my own life, book writing, and teaching and speaking practices.

Also, Emily led a short meditation that focuses on the breath. Satyani offered a guided body scan and meditation. Iris used her Tibetan singing bowl to guide us through a meditation.


Watch a 34-minute excerpt from the Facebook Live video here.

Check out the after the show video below.







Guess who joined the NTEN Board in March? Moi! Woo Hoo!

March was a positive, powerful, and productive month. One of the most positive and powerful moments occurred when I joined the Nonprofit Technology Network’s Board of Directors during the annual conference in Portland, Oregon. I am super excited to serve along side a fantastic group of folks including my fellow new Board members Jude Parker Koski and Meico Marquette Whitlock.


Shout out to the current NTEN Board members who welcomed us with open arms, herbal tea, and healthy food and snacks: Amy Sample Ward, Jason Shim, Rob Wu, Jereme Bivins, Vailey Oehlke, Nam-ho Park, John Zoltner, Ken Montenegro, Farra Trompeter, Gayle Samuelson Carpentier, Debra Socia, and Beth Kanter.

Ananda Leeke Discusses Mindful Communication at NTEN Conference (#19NTC) in March


Here’s what I said when I received the invitation to speak about mindful communication during the Activating a Culture of Resilience and Sustainable Impact session at the Nonprofit Technology Network‘s (NTEN) 2019 Conference: YESSSSSSSSSSSSS (in my best impression of Cookie Lyon of the Fox musical drama Empire). WHY? 

Three reasons.

Reason #1 – My amazing and brilliant co-presenters Beth Kanter of the Happy Healthy Nonprofit, Carrie Rice of Carrie Rice Consulting, and Meico Whitlock of Mindful Techie.


Reason #2 – The awesome NTEN attendees! What a dynamic groovy group of diverse and creative people who are so generous with their knowledge, kindness, and coolness! Special thanks to everyone who attended the Activating a Culture of Resilience and Sustainable Impact session. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and discussing mindful communication.


Reason #3 – The super fabulousness of NTEN’s conferences, food, vendors, and fun locations. Portland rocks! I was fortunate to experience the 2016 and 2018 conferences. I am looking forward to the 2020 conference in Baltimore.

Check out the podcast resources and takeaways from my mindful communication presentation below.



Mindful Communication is intentional, being present, actively listening, practicing compassion and nonjudgement, and using honest speech from the heart.

COMMUNICATION in the workplace can be a M.E.S.S. because it offers us an opportunity to:

  • Practice MINDFULNESS with ourselves first and
  • EXPRESS mindfulness in ways that
  • SUPPORT our team and
  • SERVE the mission of our organization.



Mindful Communication happens when:

  • People pay attention to each other with direct eye contact, without any distractions (like using smartphones & computers).
  • People actively listen to each other by giving one’s full attention to the speaker with kindness, compassion, and nonjudgment without reacting, thinking of ways to respond, and speaking while the speaker is talking.
  • People speak honestly, concisely, and from the heart.


Benefits of Mindful Communication

  • Reduces stress, anxiety & burnout
  • Resolves conflict
  • Strengthens team relationships
  • Increases staff confidence, performance & productivity


Tips for Mindful Communication with Teams 

  • MINDFUL INTENTION: Spend 1-3 minutes in the morning setting an intention for how you want to show up and communicate with your team.
  • MINDFUL BREAKS: Take mindful breaks during your day to slow down, be still, breathe deeply (3-5X), check-in, and re-center yourself.
  • MINDFUL PAUSE: Practice the mindful pause (10-30 second or more pause) before speaking and writing.
  • MINDFUL JOURNALING: Take some deep breaths before journaling for 3 minutes or more about what you want to communicate. Don’t censure yourself. Breathe deeply as you read what you wrote. Decide if it makes sense.

Tips for Promoting Compassionate Dialogue and Navigating Conflict

  • Start meetings with a mindful moment that allows the team to breathe deeply and sit still for 1-3 minutes.
  • Use active listening and honest and concise speech from the heart during meetings.
  • Encourage your team to have walking meetings with 1-2 others when appropriate.

Thriving Mindfully Show Launches on Eaton Radio on March 16th at 12 Noon EST (Facebook Live)


On March 16th, my Thriving Mindfully Show launches on Eaton Radio with a discussion on Warrior Women Who Practice Mindfulness at 12 noon ET. The three amazing guests are Iris Rivera, Shamanic Practitioner, Life Coach, and Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, and founder of Intentional Healing; Satyani McPherson, Mindfulness Trainer and founder of Kozmique Light Meditations; and Emily Rasowsky, yoga teacher and founder of The Release. Watch the show from 12 noon to 1 p.m. ET on Eaton Workshop’s Facebook Live.

Explore Mindfulness with Ananda in November & December (register for classes & workshops)


Check out my November and December classes and workshops below. Share them with your family and friends.

  • Meditate with me and the #ThrivingMindfully Meetup Group at the Mindful Monday Meditation on November 12, 19, 26 & December 3 & 10 from 6:15-7:30PM at Qi Kratom CBD Tea, 1517 U Street, NW, Washington, DC (Free; will not meet on December 17, 24 or 31; will resume meeting in early January 2018)
  • Thriving Mindfully Online Workshop: Be Mindful at Work (via Zoom) on Tuesday, November 13 from 8-9:30PM ET (Note the time zone; $25) – Register online.
  • Thriving Mindfully Online Workshop: Open Your Heart to Mindful Creativity (via Zoom) on Thursday, November 15 from 8-9:30PM ET (Note the time zone; $25) – Register online.
  • Thriving Mindfully Online Workshop: Transform Your Failures with Mindfulness (via Zoom) on Sunday, November 25 from 7-8:30PM ET (Note the time zone; $25) – Register online.

Stay tuned for news about a special online event I am co-hosting and my mindfulness workshops (online and in DC) in December!

Ananda Leeke’s September Meditation Classes & Mindfulness Workshops

Get ready for the autumn season with my meditation classes and mindful movement and creativity workshops in September. See the dates, descriptions, and links below.

And remember to share my offerings with your family, friends, colleagues, and online network. Invite them to come with you. I look forward to seeing you all soon!


The #MindfulMonday Meditation is offered every Monday (except Labor Day and the last two Mondays in December). During the class, you will practice mindfulness meditation and learn mindful at work practices on September 10th, 17th, and 24th from 6:15-7:30 p.m. Bring a family member, friend or colleague!

Click here for more information about the #ThrivingMindfully Meetup Group and classes. Don’t worry if you are not a member of the #ThrivingMindfully Meetup Group. You can still attend the class. Drop by and meditate with us!
Register on Eventbrite for Wellness Wednesday Meditation on September 12th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Femme Fatale DC, 4620 Wisconsin Avenue, NW in Washington, DC. Bring a friend, family member or colleague!



I am super excited about leading the Mindful Movement Workshop in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Unity World Day of Prayer at my church, Unity of Washington, DC on September 13th from 4-5 p.m. at 1225 R Street, NW in DC. Visit Unity’s website for more information.



When’s the last time you allowed yourself the space to dream, imagine, and create? Come explore how to open your heart to your own creativity through the power of mindfulness at the Open Your Heart to Mindful Creativity Workshop on September 16th from 1-3 p.m. at Femme Fatale DC, 4620 Wisconsin Avenue, NW in Washington, DC.

During the workshop, I will help you explore your inner archetypes (or personalities) and the role they play in your creativity through deep breathing exercises, meditation, journaling, and discussion. The takeaways include ways to tap into your intuition, imagination, and nurturing energy as growth opportunities during the autumn season.

Register on Eventbrite. Bring a family member, friend, or colleague!

Join Ananda Leeke for a Conversation on Meditation on WHUR FM on May 17 @7PM ET


Meditation is the practice of resting your mind and focusing your awareness on what’s happening inside of yourself – what’s happening in your spirit, heart, mind, and body. In meditation, you can use your breath to help focus your attention and cultivate stillness by observing and coming back to it when your mind is distracted by thoughts.

Meditation can help you become friends with your mind when you offer yourself compassion and nonjudgment. It can also help you increase your self-awareness, relax, improve concentration, reduce stress, strengthen your emotional and physical well-being, and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Join me on May 17th at 7 p.m. ET on WHUR 96.3 FM for a conversation about meditation on The Daily Drum with Harold Fisher, my Morgan State University classmate, and Sherrell Moore-Tucker of Faith & Flow Yoga. You can listen online here.



Check out the #ThrivingMindfully 31-Day Challenge, events, and books below.

TM-31DayMeditationChallenge-FacebookPostIf you want to create more mindful moments in your life, join the #ThrivingMindfully 31-Day Challenge. It is a self-directed challenge. That means you do it at your own pace. Here’s how the #ThrivingMindfully 31-Day Challenge works. There at 31 #ThrivingMindfully podcast episodes that include guided meditations, breathing exercises, short talks, tips, and resources. They are divided into three sections: mindful living, creativity, and technology. Follow the steps below to access the podcasts. You can follow them in numerical order or pick and choose the ones that resonate the most with you. Use what works and leave the rest behind. Read my blog for more details and links to the challenge. Enjoy your #ThrivingMindfully 31-Day journey!


Join me for “Breathe & Meditate,” a free Facebook Live series, on May 20th and 27th from 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. EST: Each morning I will guide you through three short meditations and offer tips on how to create mindful living moments in your daily life.

If you live or visit the DC area in May, consider joining me for two #ThrivingMindfully Meetup Group meditation events on May 19 and May 21. Go here for more details.


Looking for mindfulness-inspired books to read? Click here to learn about and buy my three books on Amazon: yoga-inspired novel Love’s Troubadours, mindful creativity memoir That Which Awakens Me, and mindful technology memoir Digital Sisterhood.



National Meditation Month – #ThrivingMindfully 31-Day Challenge: Part 1 – Mindful Living Podcasts Day #1-Day #15


There’s still time for you to join the #ThrivingMindfully 31-Day Challenge during National Meditation Month. Here’s how the #ThrivingMindfully 31-Day Challenge works. There are 31 #ThrivingMindfully podcast episodes that include guided meditations, breathing exercises, short talks, tips, and resources about mindful living, creativity, and technology.

  • Step 1: Each day go to the #ThrivingMindfully Soundcloud page and click on the #ThrivingMindfully 31-Day Challenge playlist.
  • Step 2: Select the podcast episode for Day #1, #2, #3 etc. and listen to it. You can also choose to listen to a podcast that resonates with you. Make the challenge your own. Take what you need and leave the rest behind.
  • Step 3: Practice the breathing, meditation, and reflections exercise(s) throughout your day and/or week.
  • Step 4: Join the A Mindful Cup of Tea Facebook Group and share your experiences with others.

Part 1 (Day #1-#15 podcasts) focuses on breathing in the present moment to experience mindful living. See the podcast topics and links below. Happy Listening!

Day #1: Breathe in the present moment

Day #2: Choose your experience in the present moment

Day #3: Discover your emotions and energy that come up after you breathe deeply and choose your experience in the present moment

Day #4: Explore the power of your force – intuition through mindful breathing exercises

Day #5: Trust your intuition when you breathe deeply and come into the present moment

Day #6: Allow yourself space to connect with, listen to, trust, and follow your intuition when you breathe deeply and come into the present moment

Day #7: Thank your intuition for providing guidance when you breathe deeply and come into the present moment

Day #8: Expect goodness, grace, and growth when you breathe deeply and come into the present moment

Day #9: Create a mindful living intention

Day #10: Make your mindful living intention come alive with action

Day #11: Mindfulness and health

Day #12: Mindfulness and relationships

Day #13: Mindfulness and finances

Day #14: Mindfulness and personal style

Day #15: Mindfulness and home


My online offerings and events are offered as a gift. If they have blessed you, I invite you to show gratitude by supporting my work with a donation on PayPal or with the Cash app: or$AnandaLeeke. Thank you for your generosity. It is deeply appreciated!