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Introduction to Mindfulness for Stress Reduction

Presented by Anton Shcherbakov, Psy.D, BCBA

View the webinar’s corresponding slides here        Download the Webinar

You may have heard the term “mindfulness” pop up on the news, in books, or through friends and family. It seems like everyone is talking about it these days! So what is it? Put simply, mindfulness is the practice of turning your full awareness towards your present moment experience. Dozens of research studies show that engaging in regular mindfulness practice can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and improve overall well-being. During this webinar, participants can expect to learn about the origins of mindfulness practice, hear about psychological research regarding its benefits, and participate in a guided meditation practice. Resources for continuing the practice of mindfulness meditation will be provided.

Comments(8)

  1. B. Otto says

    Your thoughts on practicing mindfulness on a full stomach. I wonder if it would help with digestion if you did it after a hearty meal. Of for that matter do you know of its use in weight control?

    • Dr. Shcherbakov says

      I think it can be beneficial to practice mindfulness with either a full or empty stomach. When full, you may pay attention to the feeling of satiation and the glow that comes following after a good meal. If you practice on an empty stomach, you may pay attention to the feelings of hunger and practice observing them without reacting. A very valuable skill for those of us that snack at the first sign of hunger! In terms of mindfulness effects on digestion itself, I’m not aware of any research one way or the other. Since that process is so automatic, I don’t expect much effect on the physical aspects of digestion. Mindfulness meditation, however, can absolutely be helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. A 2017 review study found that mindfulness-based interventions helped individuals lose about 7lbs on average and reduce unhealthy eating behavior. Look here for more information: https://www.healthline.com/health/meditation-for-weight-loss

  2. C Whorl says

    As parents most of us try to limit screen time. Do you think there is a downside to using an app to practice mindfulness, particularly for adolescents and teens?

    • Anton Shcherbakov says

      Thank for your question! This is definitely a concern that I hear a lot of parents bring up. I don’t think the app is inherently problematic if used thoughtfully and with monitoring. When the meditation starts, there is no need for any further interaction with the screen. Most people place the device next to them while they sit and listen to the guided meditation through the speakers (or headphones). When I recommend meditation as a strategy to increase relaxation before bed, I often suggest that parents use parental controls to prevent children from accessing other apps or games on the device. For example, Apple has a fantastic feature called “Screen Time” that allows you to block certain apps at certain times.

  3. F. Sistine says

    Do you think one of the appeals of mindfulness is that anyone can do it anytime? The individual gets to pick the time and place and there can be no cost associated.

    • Dr. Shcherbakov says

      Absolutely! It’s free, easy, and totally portable. I will often meditate for a few minutes before seeing a patient or at the end of a long day. Once you develop the habit, it becomes second nature.

  4. c acent says

    Regarding mindfulness for kids – as a senior I remember that I practiced mindfulness all the time as a kid, but it didn’t have a name then. It was just what you did outside playing – watching clouds, searching for 4 leaf clover, looking for sea glass, cutting the grass, making snow men etc. – not in the house playing video games or texting. I think that the need for mindfulness for stress would not be as necessary today for adolescents/young adults if it had been encouraged more when they were kids. It seems to me that today’s parents should encourage this practice. Your comments would be appreciated.

    • Dr. Shcherbakov says

      I mostly agree! I think that many children are inherently more mindful and “present-focused” than we are as adults. I also think that parents try their best to encourage kids to go outside and engage with the world in a real way. However, I don’t think that’s enough anymore. Kids are now exposed to increasingly high levels of anxiety and stress by a world that seems to keep going faster and faster. They are bombarded with more negative information and sensory stimulation than they can handle. We need to teach them how to slow down and be in the present. Indeed, many adults (regardless of their generation) struggle with the same things. Many of us seem to have bought into the idea that being busy is good and being still is lazy.

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