All posts by rayyeo2

Center for Mindfulness helps sponsor inaugural conference: Building Compassionate Learning Communities

Please join us to build, grow, and support compassionate and resilient learning communities at the inaugural conference of Building Compassionate Learning Communities (BCLC).

Thanks to the generosity of the Grable Foundation and with support from the University of Pittsburgh Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies, we are excited to bring educators together with the best teachers, researchers, and practitioners in the fields of social emotional learning (SEL) and contemplative practices – mindfulness, resilience, and the science of human flourishing.

W H E N & WHERE?

Monday, October 8, 2018 – Mt. Lebanon High School, Pittsburgh, PA (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

W H O ?

We welcome all stakeholders from Pre-K through Higher-Ed, including school counselors, health professionals, principals, administrators and other school leaders, superintendents and assistant superintendents, professors, pre-service teachers, and Intermediate Unit leaders. (Act 48 credits will be offered.)

W H A T ?

A day filled with learning, connection, and practice as we explore how we collectively can Build Compassionate Learning Communities through social emotional learning, mindfulness, and resilience. The conference will begin with an expert panel of Keynote Speakers, including:

  • Dr. Mark Greenberg, Bennett Endowed Chair in Prevention Research in Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development and Founding Director of the Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development, Emeritus Board Member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
  • Dr. Robert Roeser, Bennett Pierce Professor of Care, Compassion and Human Development at Penn State University, Fulbright Scholar, and Senior Program Coordinator for the Mind and Life Institute.
  • Dr. Brian Galla, Assistant Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. (Please see our website for more information on our Keynote Speakers.)

After lunch we will have a series of concurrent breakout sessions from a variety of organizations. The cost of registration includes breakfast, lunch and ACT48 credits. Tickets begin at $30, register now to take advantage of pre-sale and/or early bird pricing.

We have a wonderful, dedicated team working on the conference to provide you an exciting day filled with learning and practice. We look forward to having you join us and deepen our understanding of SEL and mindfulness; together we can foster compassionate learning communities!

Kind regards,

Tina Raspanti, Chair Conference Team Stephanie Confer, Jessica Peconi-Cook, Natasha Dirda, Roddy Gibbs, Michelle King, and Leah Northrop

Find out more at https://www.bclctogether.org/

Mindful Practices: A Workshop for Educators

Falk Laboratory School and the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Pittsburgh would like to invite you to an afternoon workshop!

If you are a teacher, an educator or work in a classroom setting, please consider joining Carla Tantillo Philibert from Mindful Practices for an afternoon focused on bringing Social and Emotional Learning to your classroom through mindful practices.

Carla Tantillo Philibert, the Founder of Mindful Practices, conducts Professional Development workshops across the globe. Carla is the author of Cooling Down Your Classroom and the Everyday SEL series on Routledge, which provides practical Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness solutions for Early Childhood to High School teachers. She is a highly sought-after speaker who provides keynote addresses globally from Texas to Michigan and Mexico to India.

The workshop will take place on June 11th from 4-6:30pm. Light refreshments will be served.  Registration is free but limited.  Please register here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mindful-practices-a-workshop-for-educators-tickets-46371198503

If you are have questions, please contact Leah Northrop at lcn6@pitt.edu.

Researchers study how mindfulness changes the brain in depressed patients

From the Harvard Gazette

In 2015, 16.1 million Americans reported experiencing major depression during the previous year, often struggling to function while grappling with crippling darkness and despair.

There’s an arsenal of treatments at hand, including talk therapy and antidepressant medications, but what’s depressing in itself is that they don’t work for every patient.

“Many people don’t respond to the frontline interventions,” said Benjamin Shapero, an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH) Depression Clinical and Research Program. “Individual cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful for many people; antidepressant medications help many people. But it’s also the case that many people don’t benefit from them as well. There’s a great need for alternative approaches.”

Shapero is working with Gaëlle Desbordes, an instructor in radiology at HMS and a neuroscientist at MGH’s Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, to explore one alternative approach: mindfulness-based meditation.

In recent decades, public interest in mindfulness meditation has soared. Paralleling, and perhaps feeding, the growing popular acceptance has been rising scientific attention. The number of randomized controlled trials — the gold standard for clinical study — involving mindfulness has jumped from one in the period from 1995‒1997 to 11 from 2004‒2006, to a whopping 216 from 2013‒2015, according to a recent article summarizing scientific findings on the subject.

Studies have shown benefits against an array of conditions both physical and mental, including irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But some of those findings have been called into question because studies had small sample sizes or problematic experimental designs. Still, there are a handful of key areas — including depression, chronic pain, and anxiety — in which well-designed, well-run studies have shown benefits for patients engaging in a mindfulness meditation program, with effects similar to other existing treatments.

“There are a few applications where the evidence is believable. But the effects are by no means earth-shattering,” Desbordes said. “We’re talking about moderate effect size, on par with other treatments, not better. And then there’s a bunch of other things under study with preliminary evidence that is encouraging but by no means conclusive. I think that’s where it’s at. I’m not sure that is exactly how the public understands it at this point.”

Read the full article.

Call for Proposals: Religion, Technology, and Human Relationships

The Institute of Buddhist Studies, with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, invites proposals from scholars across the academic disciplines specializing in any religious traditions, and from theologians from all religious traditions, to participate in a three-year research initiative and series of meetings addressing the impacts of technologies on human relationships.

This program seeks to identify and cultivate new models of public theology (broadly construed) that powerfully address a central concern of contemporary life: The ways in which technologies reshape human relationships and alter how people are or are not “present” to each other.

Thirteen scholars of religion and theologians will receive grants of $10,000 each to support individual research projects on technologies and interpersonal presence. Grantees will gather yearly to share and hone their research and its applications, explore opportunities for collaboration, and take advantage of significant Silicon Valley and media resources.

The detailed request for proposals is available here.

The deadline for the submission of proposals is May 7, 2018.

Address questions about the program or the application process to Program Director Dr. Steven Barrie-Anthony: stevenba@shin-ibs.edu, (510) 500-9722.

Could mindfulness benefit breast cancer survivors?

From the Dailystar.net

Linda Larkey, a professor at Arizona State University’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation, defines mindfulness as being present in the current moment and aware of our inner and outer environments, as well as being aware of the movement of the body.

She states that practicing mindfulness activities such as qigong and tai chi, traditional Chinese exercises which focus on posture, movement, breathing and meditation, can help to relieve symptoms and improve overall quality of life for breast cancer survivors by having an effect on the body’s usual responses to stress.

By using these methods to calm the mind, deepen the breath and relax the muscles through gentle movement, the biochemicals in the body that support health and immune function increase, while the biochemicals that produce inflammation, pain and depression/anxiety are decreased.

Her own research is also backed up by other studies, with a UCLA study published earlier this year also finding that tai chi could be beneficial for breast cancer survivors by helping to relieve insomnia as well as feelings of depression and fatigue, common problems for the 30 percent of breast cancer survivors who suffer from the sleep condition. A lack of sleep can also lead to an increased risk of disease.

The team found that after participants had completed weekly tai chi classes for three months, nearly 46.7 percent showed a strong, clinically significant improvement in insomnia symptoms as well as improvements in symptoms of depression and fatigue.

The team also found in their previous research that tai chi could help reduce inflammation in breast cancer survivors and may have potential to help lower the risk of the disease and its recurrence.

Research looking at the effects of practicing mindfulness using methods such as yoga and meditation as part of a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program also revealed positive results, helping to improve the cognitive impairment that often occurs as a result of cancer treatment.

Read the full article.

Just 25 minutes of mindfulness boosts brain function and energy

From ScienceDaily.com

Practicing Hatha yoga or mindfulness meditation for just 25 minutes can significantly improve brain function and energy levels, compared with spending 25 minutes quietly reading, according to new research from Canada.

Kimberley Luu and associate professor Peter Hall, of the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, report their study in the journal Mindfulness.

Of the many styles of yoga, the one most commonly practiced in the West is Hatha yoga, which combines breathing with meditation and movement and concludes with relaxation. Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga are examples of Hatha yoga.

Mindfulness meditation is an approach that emphasizes paying attention to what is going on in the mind without evaluating or judging it. While yoga often includes some aspects of mindfulness, it can also be practiced on its own.

Prof. Hall explains, “Hatha yoga and mindfulness meditation both focus the brain’s conscious processing power on a limited number of targets like breathing and posing, and also reduce processing of nonessential information.”

Read the full article.

Forest Bathing: A retreat to nature can boost immunity and mood

From NPR… (Allison Aubrey reporting on Morning Addition)

[…] The aim of forest bathing, Choukas-Bradley [certified Forest Therapy guide] explained, is to slow down and become immersed in the natural environment. She helped us tune in to the smells, textures, tastes and sights of the forest. We took in our surroundings by using all our senses.

As we passed through a stand of pawpaw trees, we touched the bark. We smelled the black walnuts, which give off a lovely citrus fragrance. We got a little shower of ripe mulberries, too.

“Close your eyes and just breathe, just breathe,” Choukas-Bradley intoned. It felt a bit like a meditation retreat.

It took me a few minutes to clear out the clutter in my brain, and tune in to the natural world. “When you open your eyes, imagine you’re seeing the world for the very first time,” Choukas-Bradley told us.

[…] The Associations of Nature & Forest Therapy plans to train and certify about 250 new guides next year. “We’re aiming to have 1,000 trained guides within three years,” Clifford says.

There’s a growing body of evidence that the practice can help boost immunity and mood and help reduce stress. “Medical researchers in Japan have studied forest bathing and have demonstrated several benefits to our health,” says Philip Barr, a physician who specializes in integrative medicine at Duke University.

One study published in 2011 compared the effects of walking in the city to taking a forest walk. Both activities required the same amount of physical activity, but researchers found that the forest environment led to more significant reductions in blood pressure and certain stress hormones.

On average, the forest walkers — who ranged in age from 36 to 77 — saw a reduction in their systolic blood pressure from 141 mmHg down to 134 mmHg after four hours in the forest.

Read the full article on NPR.

To train an athlete, add 12 minutes of meditation to the daily mix

From the New York Times

If athletes practice meditation for a few minutes a day, they may become better able to withstand the mental demands of hours of strenuous physical training, according to an interesting new study of Division I college football players.

The study, which compared different types of mental training for stress resilience, could have relevance for anyone planning to start exercising or competing more intensely this summer.

Exercise, as most of us know, is a form of stress. The demands of exercise require our bodies to respond and adapt, and the greater the intensity of the exercise relative to our current fitness, the greater the level of stress it generates.

Much of this strain is physical, but some of it also involves the mind, says Amishi Jha, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Miami in Florida, who led the new study. Prolonged, strenuous training “requires attention,” she says, and a stern focus on continuing to exercise when it might be more pleasant to stop.

Read the full article.