Mindfulness Based Training begins at Venue Off the Square with Bill Mory EdS, LPC, LMFT and Jim Runnels MS, LPC on July 29, 2017 at Venue Off the Square in downtown Sherman, Texas. This 1.5 hour group is an introduction to Mindfulness practice. At these introductory sessions, Bill and Jim will discuss basic concepts, teach you to practice fundamental skills such as sitting meditation, walking meditation, mindful eating, and explore how to apply mindfulness to daily life. No prior experience or knowledge is required. All levels of skill and experience are welcome. Attendees should wear comfortable clothing and plan to leave cell phones in the car. We expect that this session will be full, but the next date, August 19, 2017 at 10:00 am until 11:30 am is open. To RSVP or Ask questions: email firstname.lastname@example.org or Call 903.624.3960
In recent years mindfulness has evolved into a range of secular therapies and courses focused on being aware of the present moment and simply noticing feelings and thoughts as they come and go. Mindfulness was originally an ancient Buddhist meditation technique. As Mindfulness is being studied and evaluated scientists are finding that “brain imaging techniques are revealing that this ancient practice can profoundly change the way different regions of the brain communicate with each other – and therefore how we think – permanently.” Scientific American by Tom Ireland, June 12, 2014.
The primary area of change in the brain is the amygdala which is described as the brain’s “fight or flight” center associated with fear and emotion and the initiator of the physiological stress response.
As the amygdala shrinks, the pre-frontal cortex – associated with higher order brain functions such as awareness, concentration and decision-making – becomes thicker. The “functional connectivity” between these regions – i.e. how often they are activated together – also changes. The connection between the amygdala and the rest of the brain gets weaker, while the connections between areas associated with attention and concentration get stronger. Scientific American by Tom Ireland, June 12, 2014.
One of the occupational disciplines where mindfulness has had an important impact is teaching. A recent article on teaching strategies on the KQED News website about “Why Teachers Say Practicing Mindfulness is Transforming the Work” described in a soon to be released study as follows:
“In a soon-to-be published study, Jennings and her co-authors provided an extended version of CARE training to 224 teachers in high-poverty schools in New York City, with several two-day sessions spaced over the course of a year. The participants reported that their anxiety, depression, feelings of burnout, being rushed and perceived stress all went down compared with a control group. Their sleep improved, and the teachers said they felt less judgmental.
Even more interesting effects came from classroom observations. When teachers were more mindful, “yelling went down,” says Jennings. Classrooms were rated more emotionally positive and productive. Students were more engaged.
Among the students who rated lower on social skills at the outset of the study — presumably some of the most vulnerable — reading scores also improved. Again, these effects came from working with the teachers, not directly with the students.
Bonnie Kirkwood and Michele Coyle-Hughes work at P.S. 279 in the Bronx. Their school participated in the study over the 2014-2015 school year, and they spent the school year that just ended helping teach the techniques to their colleagues.
They are back at the CARE For Teachers retreat to figure out how to spread it further. As part of the student support staff, “I deal with teachers in crisis,” says Coyle-Hughes. “I can see that they need more tools.”
Find out more about how Mindfulness Based Training can benefit your and our community by attending one of these events, or registering for the paid workshops coming soon. Find out more about the leaders on their profiles on this website.