UAMS Mindfulness Program

Welcome to the UAMS Mindfulness Program!

Thank you for your interest in the Mindfulness program. We encourage you to carefully consider participating in this unique and life-changing program. The courses are designed to introduce Mindfulness meditation practice as a way of reducing stress and developing greater balance, control and fuller participation in your life. Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life including the challenges of stress, pain, illness, and everyday demands.

We are dedicated to teaching mindfulness and supporting the growth of mindfulness-based resources in our community. We are actively seeking additional ways to share mindfulness as a healing resource for people throughout our community, and we appreciate your help and support in bringing this work to those it might not reach otherwise.

All classes are open to everyone and we hope you will join us!

Source: UAMS Mindfulness Program

Mindfulness meditation alters neurophysiological characteristics that are linked to anxiety and depression

Source: Mindfulness meditation alters neurophysiological characteristics that are linked to anxiety and depression

Mindfulness meditation training is associated with changes in resting-state brain activity, according to new research conducted with elementary school students. The study, published in the Journal of Psychophysiology, provides new insights into why mindfulness meditation could be effective in improving symptoms of anxiety and depression.

“Our interest in the topic primarily resulted from a desire to identify alternative methods for attenuating anxiety and depression during preadolescence, a stage of development where children are particularly susceptible to internalizing symptoms due to increased social demands and a lack of psychological and neurological maturity to effectively cope with such demands,” said study author Nancy Aaron Jones an associate professor at Florida Atlantic University and director of the WAVES Emotion Lab.

“Children in this age-range have traditionally shown less responsiveness to traditional treatments such as medication and talk therapy compared to adults, and therefore we wanted to evaluate the potential of mindfulness meditation intervention in reducing neurological symptoms of anxiety in this age range and serving as a protective factor against later development of disorders.

“A second goal was to further understand the relationship between internalizing behavioral symptoms and resting-state brain activity measures in children of different age-ranges. This knowledge is valuable for understanding how the neurological mechanisms involved in anxiety and depression may fluctuate as a function of age.”

The researchers examined the impact of a mindfulness meditation training program on 66 elementary school students. The mindfulness meditation program occurred in class for 15 minutes once per day for 10 weeks.

The students completed self-reported assessments of depressive symptoms, anxiety, and mood before and after the mindfulness training program. The researchers also recorded the students’ electrical brain activity before and after the program.

Jones and her colleagues found that self-reported depression scores declined after the mindfulness meditation training program. Using electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings, the researchers also found that the program was associated with alterations in brainwave activity.

In particular, they observed increases in EEG alpha wave coherence throughout the entire cortex. The researchers also observed increases in theta, alpha, and beta power in the frontal and central areas of the brain.

“We hope that this study will shed light on the potential of mindfulness meditation to serve as a buffer against anxiety development in children by demonstrating that a daily mindfulness training program significantly altered neurophysiological characteristics that signify risk for anxiety and depression, namely frontal and central power as well as frontal and parietal coherence were increased following the training,” Jones explained to PsyPost.

“In the broader scope, we hope that parents, teachers, and superintendents concerned with the mental health of children recognize the helpfulness of short duration daily exercises for reducing stress, such as physical activity, music/art, or mindfulness meditation.”

However, two common EEG measures linked to anxiety remained largely unchanged.

“A major caveat of this study is that the participants were not formally diagnosed with anxiety or depression and therefore, we can not conclude that the same results would occur with clinical participants,” Jones said.

“In addition, we did not include a control group, which leaves open the possibility that other factors may have led to the reduced neurophysiological risk for anxiety in the preadolescent participants.”

“Additionally, the long-term effects of mindfulness are less well-understood, so future studies should evaluate the effects of mindfulness longitudinally with multiple time points at different stages of development. We feel one possibility is that mindfulness reduces anxiety by increasing cognitive control so it would be interesting to directly test that mediation factor,” Jones explained.

“We hope that this study and others will shed light on the appropriateness and effectiveness of short-duration mindfulness meditation training for school-wide implementation. In addition to lowering anxiety, mindfulness may strengthen cognitive skills that are beneficial for school performance.”

The study, “Mindfulness Meditation Intervention Alters Neurophysiological Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Preadolescents“, was authored by Nathaniel A. Shanok, Carol Reive, Krystal D. Mize, and Nancy Aaron Jones.

Mindfulness Meditation Classes at UAMS

These Mindfulness Meditation videos were recorded live by Dr. Denise Compton, clinical psychologist, at the UAMS Reynolds Institute on Aging. This approach to meditation is based on the work of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. The series includes an introduction to Mindfulness Meditation, as well as introductions to the 7 “fundamental attitudes” that are encouraged in this practice. The videos also include introduction to a variety of meditation exercises.

These 30-minute classes are ongoing at UAMS, Reynolds Institute on Aging, 1st floor, on Wednesdays from 12-12:30PM. Parking in the adjacent lot is free and all are welcome. Please use the Contact icon on the menu above if you would like further information. Click here for directions.

How Meditation Changed My Life | Mamata Venkat | TEDxWayPublicLibrary

Mamata Venkat wants to empower people to unplug from their gadgets and inspire them to start working on themselves as much as they do their jobs. She will discuss the interaction between our internal and external development using her practice of meditation to exemplify how success in either does not have to come at the cost of the other. A Perrysburg native, Mamata Venkat is a 2014 graduate of Wright State University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a Minor in Spanish. After an internship with the United Nations’ NGO Committee on the Status of Women, she decided to return to Dayton to achieve her lifelong passion of working in the healthcare field. She is currently pursuing a Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certification at Wright State, with the aspiration of working in public health. Mamata is also employed with the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and is a certified meditation instructor.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

A variety of guided meditations of varying lengths and types for your experimentation: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=jon+kabat-zinn+guided+meditation and some great books by Jon Kabat-Zinn: https://www.amazon.com/Jon-Kabat-Zinn/e/B000AQ12GA?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1561246799&sr=8-3 .