PittEd Magazine March 2017: Mindfulness and Health

This issue of PittEd magazine features conducted by faculty and alumni at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education showing that “mindfulness”—the practice of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present—can be a powerful tool for improving health and wellness outcomes for young children, adolescents, and adults.

How generations meditate on mindfulness

From Forbes Magazine online

According to a recent UC-Davis report, mindfulness training triples students’ ability to focus and participate in class activities. In recent years, this sort of validating research has helped push mindfulness from a niche interest to a full-blown lifestyle. From the boardroom to the classroom, Americans of all ages are putting their own spin on the practice. Boomers were originally attracted to mindfulness for its holistic benefits. Today, Generation X is using mindfulness as an individual practice to rise above the competition, while Millennials are using it as a team-strengthening exercise.

Read the article on Forbes.com.

Save the date: 2nd annual Mindfulness Fair March 25, 2017

The Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies at the University of Pittsburgh will sponsor the Second Annual Mindfulness Fair on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at the University Club on the university campus. All are welcome to this family friendly event which will run from 10am to 4pm. The Mindfulness Fair will showcase the resources and activities available to both the campus community and the Pittsburgh region, and will feature wide-ranging talks, yoga and Tai Chi demonstrations, information tables, and family activities. Refreshments will be provided, and there is no charge for this event.

dsc_51391The Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies was formed at the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 to promote scholarship, creativity and well-being through mindfulness research, education, collective practice, and clinical and community service. To this end, speakers at the Mindfulness Fair will include Pitt professors, meditation teachers and community leaders. Topics will range from applications of mindfulness in education and healthy life choices; introducing children to mindfulness; meditation techniques; therapeutic uses; and mindful art and movement. Family activities are planned with crafts, family yoga practices and more.

Mindfulness practices are deeply rooted in ancient traditions, yet are emerging as practices and concepts that are highly relevant to modern life. We invite the entire community to learn more about mindfulness and find out how it can enrich your life. Please save the date and come join us at the Mindfulness Fair on Saturday March 25. For more information email us at mindfulnesspitt@pitt.edu.

News stressing you out?

From patch.com

Reading the news can be a stressful ordeal: Deaths, wars and political turmoil fill the pages of the press, even when we live in relatively peaceful times. But it’s important to stay informed, even if it makes us anxious.

maxresdefaultHow do you find a balance between keeping up-to-date and staying calm? New studies point to benefits of “mindfulness,” an increasingly popular form of anxiety-reduction habits and practices that get people to focus on the present moment, warding off future- and past-directed stressors.

One study, from Georgetown University Medical Center and funded by the National Institutes of Health, took a clinical approach to systematically testing the practice. Led by Dr. Elizabeth Hoge, an associate professor at the university, the research team divided a group of 89 patients with generalized anxiety disorder into two groups: one focused on mindfulness meditation and the other on generic stress management techniques.

Read the full article.

Mindfulness meditation may help treat anxiety disorders

From Forbes.com

960x0Our understanding of the ways in which meditation works in the body and brain is becoming more and more nuanced with every study that comes out. Not only does a meditation practice seem to change the structure of the brain in certain ways, but it also seems to affect the way it functions. One way researchers can track this is by measuring the levels of neurotransmitters, hormones and biomarkers. A new study finds that eight weeks of meditation can significantly alter the stress response in people with generalized anxiety disorder, and this is evident in the levels of stress hormones and inflammatory markers.

The study will be published in the journal Psychiatry Research.

Read the full Forbes.com article.

CMCS to provide scholarships for Pitt students who want to attend a mindfulness stress reduction course offered by UPMC

The Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies will provide 5 full scholarships to University of Pittsburgh undergraduate and graduate students to attend the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course at UPMC’s Center for Integrative Medicine.

scholarshipTo apply for a scholarship, students are first required to attend an orientation session and be accepted into the MBSR course.

After acceptance into the course, send CMCS an “Ask Letter” which includes a statement of need and intention. In short, let CMCS know how/why this class or retreat will beneficial you specifically. Also include a statement of financial need (do not disclose financial data such as social security number).

Scholarships are granted on a first-come first serve basis. Please email lcn6@pitt.edu with questions or to submit your Ask Letter.

The Center also provides other scholarships for Pitt students. Check out our “Scholarships” tab on this Website.

Scans suggest just 20 minutes of meditation could improve your life

From Wired Meditation

Meditation apps promising to de-stress your life in ten minutes or less have made the idea of balancing your mind in a way that’s convenient incredibly attractive. But unlike a lot of fads, it’s important to remember there is a scientific basis for meditation.

meditationPast studies have shown that meditation can sharpen cognitive skills, and even lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It’s a practice that has been around for a few thousand years, but one we are only just beginning to understand.

Neuroscientists from Michigan State University (MSU) have now presented clinical data suggesting the practice can help anyone deal with intensely emotional situations in a calm and balanced way, whether they are “naturals” at meditation or undergo a crash course.

“Our findings not only demonstrate that meditation improves emotional health, but that people can acquire these benefits regardless of their ‘natural’ ability to be mindful,” said Yanli Lin, lead author on the study. “It just takes some practice.”

Read the full article.

UPMC Shadyside is offering eight-week Mindfulness Meditation / MBSR classes

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Do you suffer from chronic pain, stress, anxiety, depression, or sleep problems? Did you know you already have the tools to fight stress, anxiety, and pain and to boost your sense of well-being?

Mindfulness meditation is a powerful practice that can help you finely tune your attention to thoughts, emotions, and reactivity to physical sensations. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, which involves mindfulness meditation, is now taught at over 250 centers in the United States. Its principles can be applied in everyday life to reduce stress, pain, and symptoms of illness and can help you make positive changes in your health attitudes and behaviors.

The Center for Integrative Medicine at UPMC Shadyside is offering eight-week Mindfulness Meditation / MBSR classes, which include discussion and instruction in several meditation practices and gentle mindful yoga stretches as well as recordings of meditation guidance for home practice. Space is limited. Call to register for the Orientation session to learn more: 412-623-3023.

A free (required)orientation session is offered the first Monday of each month, 7-8:30pm and Thursday 9/12, 7-8:30pm. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 8-Week Class is offered in the fall, spring, and summer. The next class starts 9/15/2016. Call the Center for Integrative Medicine at UPMC Shadyside, at 412-623-3023, or email mindfulness@upmc.edu for more information and to register.

Mindfulness may ease depression, stress in poor African-American women

From PsychCentral

Mindfulness training may help alleviate symptoms of depression and stress in African-American women with lower socio-economic status, according to a new pilot study by researchers at Northwestern Medicine.

PostureIt is well-established that poor black women have an increased risk of depressive disorders. However, they rarely seek out antidepressants or psychotherapy due to negative attitudes and stigma associated with conventional mental health treatments. Mindfulness may provide an effective alternative to these conventional treatments.

“Many women are in need of help with their depression and coping with daily life, but they don’t seek it out because of limited access to high-quality mental health services and the stigma within their families and communities,” said lead researcher Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“Our study shows that there are alternatives to traditional mental health treatment, such as mind-body approaches, that effectively alleviate symptoms, and can be done autonomously in the comfort of their own home.”

The study involving 31 black women is the first to test the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions among disadvantaged women with depression in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which provides comprehensive community-based medical care to low-income individuals.

Read the full article.