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Author: hw8w@virginia.edu

Research Update

1/12/2024

The Impact of Mindfulness Interventions on Creativity The purpose of this study was to better understand the impact of mindfulness interventions on creative performance.  The investigators reviewed 37 studies, 20…

Perspective

1/12/2024

I have been thinking about the importance of perspective recently.  As our society becomes more and more polarized, it seems it has become harder and harder to appreciate the perspectives of those who may see the world differently than we do.  We all have views on the way things should be that are largely based on our upbringing and other formative experiences.  These views are deeply held and we often don’t even recognize that we have them.  When someone says or does something that is counter to these core beliefs it often triggers a strong reaction in us.  On the other hand, we tend to like when our core beliefs are supported.  Social media companies and news organizations recognize this, and thus our feeds are full of reinforcing information that often focuses on the positives of our beliefs and the negatives of other beliefs. This can lead to greater and greater polarization. Yet if we want to solve difficult problems, we often have to not only acknowledge but even understand and appreciate the beliefs and views of others.  This can be very hard because we often move from feeling negatively about an action to making negative assumptions about the person doing the acting.  Rather than try to understand them, we judge them.

News and Notes

12/22/2023

New Introduction to Mindfulness for Healthcare Employees Course to Be Offered in January The Mindfulness Center will begin offering a new course for healthcare employees starting in January. This six-week…

Research Update

12/22/2023

Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement in Individuals With Opioid Use Disorder Methadone treatment is a mainstay of therapy for opioid use disorder (OUD). However, medication treatment alone does not address the emotion…

Joy

12/22/2023

This time of the year is often associated with joy.  According to Dictionary.com, one of the definitions of joy is “the emotion of delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying”.  There are often many opportunities to experience joy now- giving and receiving gifts, noticing the sense of wonder that can arise in children, feeling our own sense of wonder, perhaps in relation to our religious traditions.  Last weekend I participated with some of my family and 5000 or so others in the Tacky Light Run in Midlothian, a four-mile run/walk through neighborhoods with houses decorated for the holidays in a variety of often extravagant ways.  I experienced joy in spending the time with my family, in seeing the decorations myself, and in watching others’ reactions to them.  As with many positive emotions, joy can be missed or overlooked in the context of ongoing negative events.  We may be caught up in worrying about these events, which can range from global to personal. 

News and Notes

12/1/2023

Free Mindfulness Game One of the more valuable skills gained from an 8-week MBSR course is the ability to see one’s involuntary thoughts as generally irrelevant but distracting brain activity…

Research Update

12/1/2023

Mindfulness-Based Interventions Lead to Brain Structural Changes This study investigated whether structural brain changes occur following mindfulness-based interventions. The authors conducted a meta-analysis including a total of 11 randomized controlled…

Thanksgiving Mindfulness

12/1/2023

Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to practice mindfulness.  The day is devoted to giving thanks, and we can pay attention to all of the things for which we can be thankful: family, friends, food, activities.  We can Intentionally notice our experience as it arises, becoming aware of being in relationship with others, and really paying attention to what we are eating, drinking, and doing. Thanksgiving is also an opportunity to notice when we wish things were different than they are. We might find getting to wherever we are planning to go challenging.  We might be spending time alone when we would prefer to be with others, or we might be with people we find difficult.  Our favorite sports team might lose.  When faced with these moments, we can see if it’s possible to just be with things as they are, noticing what we are feeling without judgement.  We can notice the thoughts that arise and recognize the choice we have in getting caught up in them, which may only serve to amplify our suffering, or in letting them go.  This doesn’t mean we have to passively accept our situation, but rather to observe it so that we can choose the most skillful response. 

News and Notes

11/9/2023

Free Mindfulness Game  One of the more valuable skills gained from an 8-week MBSR course is the ability to see one’s involuntary thoughts as generally irrelevant but distracting brain activity…

Research Update

11/9/2023

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Can Relieve Loneliness, Anxiety, and Depression in Individuals with Cancer Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has been suggested as an effective approach for relieving stress in patients with…