Mindfulness Matters

A Newsletter from the UVA Mindfulness Center

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Monthly Musings

Just for Now

As I read and understand more about this new “normal” I am awestruck at the concept of impermanence. This exact time last year, I was on a plane for Quebec, Canada.  In just 2 hours, I landed in the beautiful city of Montreal, where I found myself wandering around this French-Canadian wonderland in large crowds of people.  We were dancing, singing, and enjoying the outdoor movie creations. It was a creative celebration of Old Montreal’s history through “Cite Memoire” with original footage of the city shown on the sides of buildings while sharing headsets in both English and French. There were open air markets, beautiful museums, delicious croissants with wild caught salmon in crowded cafes.  There were people everywhere, touching, talking, singing, laughing.
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Breathing Deeply

There is so much going on now that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.  The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to worsen in parts of the world, with cases still going up around the US.  Even Virginia, which had been bucking the trend with decreased numbers, has experienced an increase again.  Schools are due to open soon, yet conditions are such that it’s impossible to know what a “safe” return might look like. The economy is shrinking and the unemployment rate remains high.  The unrest following the murder of George Floyd has largely subsided, but the need to address 400 years of racial injustice remains as urgent as ever.
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Mindfulness and Implicit Bias

Black Lives Matter.  George Floyd’s tragic murder under the knee of a Minneapolis policeman has again brought the issue of systemic racism to the forefront, not just in the US but around the world.  This event, along with the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmoud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks, as well as the racial inequities in the impact of COVID-19, have highlighted the racial injustice, structural inequalities, and systematic biases that Blacks in this country face every day.  The widespread protests that have resulted, including individuals from many different backgrounds, seem to indicate that there now may be greater understanding of how our assumptions and actions may be influenced towards others even when we claim, often with great sincerity, that we are not racist, or not even biased.  Yet there continues to be ample evidence that systematic racial bias is widespread.  Why is this?  Why, even when we have the intention of truly viewing and treating everyone equally, with respect and compassion, is it so hard to do?  And how can mindfulness help us in this pursuit?
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Update on Mindfulness for Health System Employees Classes

The Mindfulness Center just finished the fifth Mindfulness for Health System Employees class conducted in conjunction with the Be Wise program.  These eight-week classes are now offered virtually and are…

Research Update

Enhanced Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is Effective in Episodic Migraine These investigators evaluated the impact of enhanced mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR+) compared to a stress management program for headache without mindfulness…

Mindful Pause

Please join us for the virtual Mindful Pause at 4 pm daily, Monday through Friday.  The sessions are 15 minute meditations led by a mindfulness teacher via Zoom. Registration is…

Research Update

Helping People by Being Present  This research evaluated whether mindfulness practices can increase helping (prosocial) behaviors in the workplace.  The investigators did a series of studies in the US and…

Summer Reading and Book Discussion

August 12 3:30-5:00pm (EDT) Free and open to the public Registration required The UVa Contemplative Sciences Center and the Center for Teaching Excellence will be hosting a discussion of the book,…

Mindfulness for Health System Employees Classes Expanded

To meet the demand after the first class filled very quickly, a second Fostering Resilience in the Time of COVID-19 class is being offered in June.  It will be held…