Monthly Archives: February 2016

A retreat to promote self-care for professional nurses: Understanding the Role of Mindfulness Meditation to Enhance the Delivery of Nursing Care

The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing will host a retreat to learn how to better deal with the unique stresses of being a health care professional. Join licensed psychologist Katherine Hammond Holtz in exploring the many benefits of mindfulness:

  • Improved self-control and objectivity
  • Enhanced flexibility and equanimity
  • Increased concentration and mental clarity
  • Strengthened abilities to relate to others and one’s self with kindness, acceptance and compassion

The retreat will be held on Friday, April 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Boiler Room. Registration & Breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m. The program will include a take-home mindfulness personal practice package with audio recordings of guided meditations from the retreat, a practice booklet, and a reference list of evidence-based research on mindfulness meditation in the field of nursing.

For more information, and to register, go to the School of Nursing Website.

Carnegie Mellon researcher finds meditation trains brain

From Carnegie Mellon University

Everyone gets stressed, and we all deal with our stress in different ways — meditation, exercise, or eating chocolate, to name a few examples. But new research out of Carnegie Mellon’s psychology department shows that mindfulness meditation, a state of focusing on the present and interacting nonjudgementally with thoughts, may physically change your brain and help you feel better.

FallWinter11-MeditationMindfulness meditation is a form of focus exercise that can take many forms, but a common one involves sitting upright with closed eyes and focusing on breathing. When the mind wanders, one passively acknowledges thoughts and returns to focus on breathing. The idea is to focus on the present moment instead of thinking about the past or the future.

Over the past few decades, research into mindfulness meditation has shown that it helps improve a broad range of stress-related physical health, disease, and psychiatric outcomes, such as depression and anxiety, but little is known about the neurobiological mechanisms behind these positive health outcomes.

A new study published in Biological Psychiatry and led by David Creswell, an associate professor of psychology in the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, shows that mindfulness meditation reduces interleukin-6, a biomarker of systemic inflammation, in high-stress, unemployed adults more so than simple relaxation techniques.

“Not only did we show that mindfulness meditation training could reduce a health biomarker of inflammation, but we also showed what mindfulness training-related brain changes drove these beneficial health effects,” Creswell said.

Read the full article.

Save the date: Harvard Professor James Robson explores mindfulness and mental illness March 21

Professor James Robson
Professor James Robson

Dr. James Robson, Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, will present The Promises and Problems of Mindfulness: Between Mental Stillness and Mental Illness on March 21 at 5 p.m. at the University of Pittsburgh, William Pitt Union.

This talk will critically assess modern appropriations and applications of Buddhist meditation and mindfulness practices in therapeutic contexts.  In order to understand both the promises and potential problems of the use of meditation and mindfulness within various healing techniques it is important to track how those practices developed within the Buddhist tradition and how they have been transformed down to the present day.  Current writing on meditation and mindfulness generally celebrates those practices as a panacea for a wide range of physical and mental ailments, but the final section of this talk will discuss some emerging research that suggests there can also be some deleterious effects associated with the contemporary experimentation with those practices.

Dr. Robson is a leading scholar of Daoism and Buddhism in China, as well as an expert on Zen. He is currently researching the history of the relationship between Buddhist monasteries d mental hospitals in Japan.

For more information, check back here, on the Center for Mindfulness blog in the coming weeks.