Science of Mindfulness


Video link here: Harvard Gazette


SCIENTIFIC BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS

According to Mindfulness Research Monthly  neuroscience research on the benefits of mindfulness has become more prolific. In recent years there has been a surge in NIH-funded research trials in the U.S. In 2008, even the U.S. Department of Defense began using mindfulness practice as part of its treatment for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (link). According to Black (2010), a meta-analytic review by Sawyer, Witt and Oh in 2010 found that mindfulness-based therapies had a dramatic effect on improving both depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness-Based Training for Adults

Research among the scientific community has grown exponentially with researchers from leading institutions around the world including “Harvard, Stanford, UCLA, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Oxford, Cambridge, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and others” leading the way. Numerous studies now show that mindfulness practice can have a profound impact on our emotional wellbeing, physical health, ability to cope with stress and challenges, relationships, and performance.

Brain scanning technologies reveal that not only does the activity of the brain change from moment to moment but the actual structure of the brain itself can change. New synaptic connections can form among brain cells and new brain cells can develop. Practice has been shown to lead to growth of key brain regions associated with emotional regulation, concentration and self-control, as well as reductions in grey-matter density, the area of the brain central to the stress response, fear and anxiety.

blue brain scan image
blue brain scan image

Mindfulness-Based Training for M-DCPS Teachers and Counselors

In the 2015-2016 school year a research study was conducted on a Professional Development Pilot Program for Miami-Dade County Public School Teachers and Administrators based on the Inner Journey ~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Program, the MBSR adaptation developed and taught by Valerie York-Zimmerman beginning in 2002.

As Founder of, Executive Director, and Senior Trainer for Mindful Kids Miami, from its inception through 2016, Valerie taught the 200 teachers and mental health school counselors from 100 schools who participated in the Pilot Program during the 2015-2016 school year. Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is the 4th largest and one of the most diverse districts in the U.S. (source)

The study was a research collaboration led by David J. Lee, Ph.D., University of Miami’s Department of Public Health Sciences, Judson Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, and Tarek Chebbi, Ed.D., Chair, Research Review Committee of M-DCPS.

Study description and conclusions were included in a project supervised by Dr. David Lee in the UMass REDCap System collaborative study entitled “Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on the Well-Being of Educators.” It was a UM Medical School IRB and Miami-Dade County Public Schools approved study, which objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness training on teachers and administrators that participated in the 8-week Inner Journey ~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Program training.  The Effectiveness of Mindfulness Training on the Well-Being of Educators study was embedded in the IJ-MBSR Program as a pilot program for Miami-Dade County Public Schools Professional Development and Evaluation.

Study results suggest improvements in self-compassion and mindfulness, and decreased levels of anxiety in individuals that participated in the IJ-MBSR 8-week program. These findings are consistent with previous research on the benefits of mindfulness practice.

Other Research Studies on the IJ-MBSR Program for Adults

During the two years prior to the M-DCPS IJ-MBSR Pilot Program, research studies with adult participants in all of the Inner Journey~ Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (IJ-MBSR) Programs taught by Valerie York-Zimmerman were overseen and evaluated by Sharon Theroux, Ph.D., neuropsychologist and founder of the South Florida Center for Mindfulness.  Pre- and Post- Surveys which included the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ), Zung Anxiety Scale, and Self-Compassion Surveys were conducted.

Analysis of the data from all adult participants in the IJ-MBSR trainings resulted in significant improvements in each area: reduced anxiety, increased compassion, and improved mindfulness.

The Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) measures improvements associated with positive well-being something that is necessary to help reduce burnout. Higher scores in the observing facet are associated with good psychological adjustment. (Baer, 2008).  The five facets are:

1. Observe surroundings
2. Describe thoughts and emotions
3. Act with awareness
4. Be non-judgmental
5. Be non-reactive in day-to-day life

Mindfulness-Based Training for Children

The body of research on mindfulness training for children and teens continues to grow. There is now evidence to show the impact which mindfulness has on the prefrontal cortex and interconnections involved in attention, working memory, executive function, emotional and behavioral regulation, all of which are relevant to academic, psychological and social well-being and the success of youth today.

Several more prominent school-based interventions (Napoli, 2002; Napoli, 2004; Napoli, Rock Krech, and Holley, 2005; Flook et al. 2010;   Rechtschaffen and Cohen, 2010) focused on mindfulness training for elementary school students. Linda Lantieri’s work in New York City after 9/11 with children in crises culminated in interventions for students and teachers (Lantieri and Goleman, 2008). Willingham (2011) notes that teachers who use emotion regulation skills in their classrooms can improve the self-control capacities of their students.

In the 2011-2012 school year, Mindful Schools partnered with the University of California at Davis to conduct the largest randomized-controlled study to date on mindfulness involving 915 children and 47 teachers in 3 Oakland public elementary schools in a high crime area.  Substantive behavioral improvements were apparent after just six weeks of training.

Mindfulness teachers in the study had a strong mindfulness background, which is a key determinant of success when teaching mindfulness.

As Jon Kabat-Zinn stated in an article in Mindful, February 2014:

The brain science has become very rigorous. A lot of credit obviously goes to Richie Davidson in his lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. Their work is unique and focuses on both basic science and translational research, which takes place in real-life settings such as Madisonâ’s public schools.

Sit Every Day (Lion’s Roar / Shambhala Sun)

By Diana Winston

Diana Winston on commitment to the practice of sitting, why we should sit regularly, and advice on how to keep yourself on schedule.

Your unforgiving alarm rings for all it’s worth. It’s 7AM. You crash out of bed, slamming your toe on your bedside table. You fumble for your zafu in the dark. “It’s over here somewhere,” you mumble. Hearing you awaken from the dead, your cat runs screeching. You are about to plant your still-zombiefied-self on the cushion when nature calls. Three minutes later your mother calls too, and you know you really shouldn’t answer it but she does have that crucial bit of information about the results of American Idol, and… that’s it, the day has started. You’re late for work, the shower’s running cold again, your toothbrush bristles are thoroughly chewed through, the cat is ripping apart your sofa, blackmailing you for food, and of course, as always, despite hundreds of clothes in your closet, you have nothing to wear. You leave the house agitated, jangled, caught in another shouting match with yourself: “You lazy… you didn’t meditate! Again. You’ll never change!” Continue reading “Sit Every Day (Lion’s Roar / Shambhala Sun)”

Mindfulness for Children (NY Times Well)

Children of all ages can benefit from mindfulness, the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment. It can help parents and caregivers, too, by promoting happiness and relieving stress. Here, we offer basic tips for children and adults of all ages, as well as several activities that develop compassion, focus, curiosity and empathy. And remember, mindfulness can be fun.

What Is Mindfulness, and Why Do Kids Need It?

From our earliest moments, mindfulness can help minimize anxiety and increase happiness.

HOW IT HELPS

Adversity comes at us from the moment we are born. Infants get hungry and tired. Toddlers grapple with language and self-control. And as children develop through adolescence to become teenagers, life grows ever more complicated. Developing relationships, navigating school and exercising independence — the very stuff of growing up — naturally creates stressful situations for every child.

At each developmental stage, mindfulness can be a useful tool for decreasing anxiety and promoting happiness. Mindfulness — a simple technique that emphasizes paying attention to the present moment in an accepting, nonjudgmental manner — has emerged as a popular mainstream practice in recent decades. It is being taught to executives at corporations, athletes in the locker room, and increasingly, to children both at home and in school.

EARLY HABITS

Children are uniquely suited to benefit from mindfulness practice. Habits formed early in life will inform behaviors in adulthood, and with mindfulness, we have the opportunity to give our children the habit of being peaceful, kind and accepting.

Copyright © 2015 The New York Times Co.

Read more:  https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/mindfulness-for-children/

Research: Workplace Mindfulness

Workplace mindfulness

INCREASE EARNINGS 
and
IMPROVE PERFORMANCE
by reducing employee stress

Labor organizations estimated that 30% of all work-related illness is due to stress accounting for $6.6 billion of losses in the U.S. alone!

Chronic stress has a serious impact on physical and mental health increasing risk for heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and obesity. According to Mark Bertolini, Chairman and CEO of Aetna, where Mindfulness-Based Programs provided for thousands of Aetna employees nationwide have demonstrated

  • increased productivity of more than $3,000 per person per year
  • improved quality of life: reduced levels of stress and pain and improved sleep.

JOIN LEADING hospitals and health systems, U.S Marine Corps, U.S. Army, Seattle Seahawks, NBA , major corporations and businesses of all kinds in diverse settings like:  Google… Aetna… General Mills… IBM… Apple… Ford… Proctor & Gamble… Eileen Fisher… and more

Research in healthcare shows that reducing stress through Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has a positive impact resulting in:

• Improved performance • Better decisions
• Reduced costs • Improved teamwork
• Reduced absenteeism • Improved communication
• Better customer satisfaction • Kinder, happier workplace
• Healthier, more fulfilled staff • Fewer errors, wasted time

MIAMI MINDFULNESS INVITES YOU to participate in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programs. Click here for the date of our next offering.

Mindful Principles of .b Under Study at Oxford (Myriadproject.org)

MYRIAD (MY Resilience In ADolescence)  compares good quality social & emotional learning to .b (“Stop and be!”) an engaging program based on MBSR & MBCT which includes striking visuals, videos, activities and classical mindfulness practices.

Study with 6,000 participants is underway at Oxford with funding from the Wellcome Trust. Outcomes substantiate the importance of .b for Teens currently being taught by Miami Mindfulness in collaboration with Coral Gables Congregational Church. – Valerie York-Zimmerman

You become what you practice: Skillful MBSR Training emphasizes three important skills

Meditation’s Effects May Differ by Type of Practice

Skillful MBSR Training emphasizes all three important skills of: attention (Presence), compassion (Affect), Social Intelligence (Perspective). Some mindfulness trainings emphasize primarily one type. For instance, brain imaging shows Presence training increases attention and executive function but changes to compassion and perspective-taking were not detected. Here’s a link to a recent groundbreaking study.  (By B Grace Bullock PhD on Mindful.com, October 19, 2017)

 

BY B GRACE BULLOCK PH.D.   MINDFULNESS RESEARCH

 

The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford (mindfulathlete.org)

For those of us who work with kids who may be struggling or having difficulty with their performance in school, sports, or life, I thought I would highlight my friend, mindfulness teacher George Mumford and his book!  George Mumford has taught mindfulness to some of the greatest athletes in the world. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant…

Michael Jordan credits George Mumford with transforming his on-court leadership of the Bulls, helping Jordan lead the team to six NBA championships. Mumford also helped Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and Lamar Odom and countless other NBA players turn around their games. A widely respected public speaker and coach, Mumford is sharing his own story and the strategies that have made these athletes into stars in The Mindful Athlete: The Secret to Pure Performance. His proven, gentle but groundbreaking mindfulness techniques can transform the performance of anyone with a goal, be they an Olympian, weekend warrior, executive, hacker, or artist.

With a charismatic teaching style that combines techniques of engaged mindfulness with lessons from popular culture avatars such as Yoda, Indiana Jones, and Bruce Lee, Mumford tells illuminating stories about his larger than life clients. His writing is down-to-earth and easy to understand and apply. The Mindful Athlete is an engrossing story and an invaluable resource for anyone looking to elevate their game, no matter what the pursuit.

Read more now at http://mindfulathlete.org/

Do These Research-Based Health Benefits Interest You?

What are the benefits of mindfulness? – by Daphne M. Davis, PhD, and Jeffrey A. Hayes, Ph.D. in the American Psychological Association Monitor on Psychology, August 2012.  www.apa.org

The below results are evidence-based. Can you benefit from any of them?

ADULT CLIENTS

  1. Reduced rumination
  2. Fewer depressive symptoms
  3. Better working memory capacity
  4. Sustained attention during performance
  5. Stress reduction
  6. Increased positive affect
  7. Decreased anxiety and negative affect
  8. Emotion regulation
  9. Decreased reactivity
  1. Increased response flexibility
  2. Increased self-observation
  3. Present moment awareness
  4. Increased immune functioning
  5. Improved well-being
  6. Reduced psychological distress
  7. Increased info processing speed

TRAINEES AND THERAPISTS

  1. Increased empathy
  2. Increased compassion
  3. Improved counseling skills
  4. Decreased stress and anxiety
  5. Decreased depressive symptoms
  6. Decreased rumination, negative affect
  1. Decreased fatigue (medical students)
  2. Improved quality of life
  3. Increased emotional intelligence
  4. Reduced PTSD in health workers
  5. Increased counseling self-efficacy

IF you would like to explore MBSR and these outcomes for yourself, contact us for upcoming Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programs at Miami Mindfulness.

Classes: Thursday evenings, 6:00–8:30 p.m., Sept. 28, 2017 – Nov. 16, 2017 or inquire about winter sessions.

To register, email Valerie York-Zimmerman via ijourney@att.net.

For more details see our website: Miami Mindfulness – Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction MBSR

Business Benefit Of MBSR

Workplace mindfulness

Labor organizations estimated that 30% of all work-related illness is due to stress accounting for $6.6 billion of losses in the U.S. alone!

Chronic stress has a serious impact on physical and mental health increasing risk for heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and obesity. According to Mark Bertolini, Chairman and CEO of Aetna, where Mindfulness-Based Programs provided for thousands of Aetna employees nationwide have demonstrated:

  • Increased productivity of more than $3,000 per person per year
  • Improved quality of life: reduced levels of stress and pain and improved sleep.

JOIN LEADING hospitals and health systems, U.S Marine Corps, U.S. Army, Seattle Seahawks, NBA , major corporations and businesses of all kinds in diverse settings like:

Google… Aetna… General Mills… IBM… Apple… Ford… Proctor & Gamble… Eileen Fisher… and more

Research in healthcare shows that reducing stress through Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has a positive impact resulting in:

• Improved performance • Better decisions
• Reduced costs • Improved teamwork
• Reduced absenteeism • Improved communication
• Better customer satisfaction • Kinder, happier workplace
• Healthier, more fulfilled staff • Fewer errors, wasted time

MIAMI MINDFULNESS INVITES YOU to participate in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Programs beginning in September.


REGISTER NOW! Space is limited.

Valerie York-Zimmerman, UMass Medical School, CFM Certified MBSR Teacher, Founder and Senior Trainer & Teacher, MIAMI MINDFULNESS in South Miami.
Email: ijourney@att.net