If you are interested in mindfulness in Medicine then see the link for further information
Karisa Krcmar from Loughborough university has developed a a unique Mindfulness for Study programme for students at Loughborough University who have specific learning differences such as dyslexia and adhd. They have presented and published about this programme in a variety of places. If you want to find out more see article from Dyslexia Review for your interest.
Also check out their twitter account @mindfulnesstudy
Forty of us gathered at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre for a symposium on Mindfulness in Higher Education on 25th April. The day was divided into two parts focusing on the research and theory behind introducing mindfulness into Higher Education and on the practical aspects of setting up and running mindfulness based courses in a university .
Participants said they really appreciated both the range of topics presented and the opportunity for discussion and networking. The interest in this day outstripped the number of places and therefore we will be running further days in London in September this year and Oxford next year. For information about the next symposium please contact us
Slides from the Presentation on 25th April 2014
Are you revising, feeling stressed out and under pressure with exams coming up ? Did you know that taking a mindful moment can help you concentrate and focus , it will also strengthen your immune system and helps to switch your nervous system out of flight/fight mode and into a relaxed aware state…
Try this short stress buster
5 senses drill
1. Pause what you are doing for a moment and take one or two deep breaths to help bring you into the present moment.
2. Look around you, and silently name three things that you see in your immediate vicinity
2. Now opening to the sounds around you , silently note and name three things that you can hear right now
3. Bringing your attention to your body, silently name three sensations that you can feel in this moment ( maybe warmth, tingling, contraction, coolness….. .)
4. Bringing your attention to smell and taste , what do you notice in your immediate awareness when you bring your attention to these senses- lightly name what you experience.
5. Take one or two breaths to finish this mindfulness exercise.
Repeat this exercise every now and then to deliberately bring your awareness to what is happening in the present moment and to build your resilience to deal with exam anxiety and general pressures around this time of the academic year by cultivating mindfulness in this way.
In March Jon Kabat-Zinn had a series of meetings with senior politicians and policy advisers in Downing Street to brief them on the potential benefits of a more widespread adoption of mindfulness training in the UK. The proven effectiveness of mindfulness, as well its cost-effectiveness, were messages which the policy makers were keen to hear about as public spending is squeezed and the health care bill keeps rising. Jon Kabat-Zinn has long argued that ‘the find it, fix it model of medicine’ was broken in relation to the US health care system and his message is increasingly applicable to the UK today.
We have now run 4 very successful one day symposiums held at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and in London. The events were led and facilitated by Ariana Faris, Chris Cullen, Steven Stanley and Kate Malleson and in the last three events we have been joined by Ruth Collins, Siobhan Lynch and Kitty Wheater. Over 120 participants from a wide range of universities and colleges have now attended these days. Some were based in their institutions counselling services, others were administrators and academics. All shared their knowledge and experience about what makes a successful mindfulness course in higher education. The symposiums have been oversubscribed and we feel this signals the interest in bringing mindfulness to students and academic staff. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or Oxford Mindfulness Centre.
Here are some of the photos and participants comments from a fascinating and enriching days:
The symposiums aimed to assist people in developing strategies for effectively integrating Mindfulness training into Higher Education and making it accessible to all students. We focused on:
1 Research and local evidence supporting the use of MBSR/MBCT or Mindfulness Based adaptations in Higher Education: Mindfulness and learning, enhancing academic performance, reducing stress and anxiety.
2 Mindfulness based models for Higher Education contexts: case studies, MBCT adaptations including frantic world, clinical and non-clinical populations
3 The Case for Mindfulness in Universities: Practical strategies for engaging management and academic staff in this process, in order to gain support for introducing Mindfulness courses to students. This includes methods for presenting the academic/wellbeing/student retention as well as economic arguments.
4 Setting up 8 week courses: advantages and disadvantages of locating MBI’s within student counselling services or academic support services within Universities and Colleges of Higher Education. Some of the challenges involved in introducing MBI’s to student populations.
Here are links to some of the presentations held at the most recent symposium which was held in May. Steven Stanley asks that if you would like a copy of his paper you contact him directly on his email ( see contact details on about page)
Mindfulness in Highter Education May 2015 – presentation by Ruth Collins
Jon Kabat zinn discuss the case for mindfulness and stress reduction, how mindfulness can help build resilience and tools to deal with the challenges that arise in life: ill health, work pressure, stress and anxiety, etc.
“Mindfulness gives me the chance to reach my full potential in all situations in life. With mindfulness I have an option out of the crippling fear, shakes and anxiety that set me back and the chance to believe that I could achieve my potential, in my recital, in a job interview and in social situations. The time I’ve invested in mindfulness has proven to be one of the best choices that I’ve made.” Quote from student who attended an 8 week mindfulness course
Mindfulness is discussed in the relation to mental health, well being and unemployment in the House of Commons.
The endemic nature of student stress and its potentially negative effects on student health and effective learning would indicate that strategies to tackle this problem should be a central feature of the student support services of all good universities.
In fact, a cursory review on most UK university student services shows that advice and support which specifically addresses the adverse effects of stress across the student body is patchy at best. One reason for this is that student health services are extremely hard-pressed as demands for their services have increased[i] while budgets have come under pressure. Providing one-to-one counselling services is costly and time-consuming and most counselling services can only hope to support a small fraction of the student body in this way. Addressing the negative effects of stress across the whole student body may therefore seem like a daunting prospect to over-stretched counselling services. At the same time, however, there is growing awareness of the need to address the needs of student holistically rather than dividing them into two distinct categories of ‘well’ and ‘ill’. The idea that universities generally and student health services specifically need to think more holistically about ‘student wellbeing’ is now well-established.
This change in approach has the potential to provide for a more comprehensive and effective framework in which all students can take advantage of a range of support services to help them to deal with stress so that it does not impact adversely on both their learning and happiness. It is notable that a number of university counselling services have now been rebranded as wellbeing services. This change is not simply cosmetic but reflects a change of approach to student support in which there is a serious attempt to address the routine effects of stress experienced by students who are not suffering from any recognisable mental health problem.
If the goal of promoting student wellbeing is to be taken seriously, one element of this is to develop stress reduction programmes which can be offered to groups of students as part of the tools they need to learn to maintain their health, happiness and productivity in much the same way as they are encouraged to engage in sporting activities or to eat a healthy diet. Mindfulness training falls squarely within this approach to student well-being. The change in approach, is important in encouraging students who are suffering in silence to seek help, given that the NUS survey found that:
‘When asked what issues students felt prevented them from asking for personal support, an overwhelming 80% reported that the stigma attached to mental illness would act as a barrier in approaching someone for support’ (NUS, 2010).
If we accept that stress is a normal part of student life, tackling its potentially damaging effects on learning and wellbeing should no longer be addressing by expecting individual students to refer themselves to health services at the point when stress starts to impact seriously on their mental health, but instead should now be embedded within mainstream student support services with no greater stigma than joining a social club or a sports team. The consequence of this shift will be to give all students the opportunity to learn strategies to deal with the effects of stress as it arises in the normal course of their lives in the same was that other enhanced learning initiatives equip them to deal with the challenges of living away from home, managing their finances or keeping fit.
The Mindfulness for Students programme (MFS) seeks to seeks to promote this goal by offering a coherent and accessible programme of training to all students to help minimise the negative effects of stress as and when they occur. It starts from the premise that the increasing pressures on all students require a good university to provide tools to help them manage the normal stresses of student life effectively so as to be able to work in a way which is enjoyable, creative and productive.