A learner's view of mindfulness

Tess Wixted

Last week I enjoyed the mindful company of 19 other learners for Continuing Studies' two-day course, Mindful Communication and Listening. As a long time meditator it was richly rewarding to witness so many people from a wide landscape of lifestyles emerge themselves in a practice that for most was a new way of looking at the realm of communication.

This week the Times Colonist published an article citing findings from UBC researchers about a 12-week emotional learning program called MindUP offered to fourth and fifth graders in Coquitlam. The researchers found that children in the experimental group showed significant improvement in not only test scores but also in their social well-being.

According to the article, “the MindUP participants reported feeling more optismistic, happier and less depressed, and were rated by their peers as more helpful and trustworthy. Children in the control group worsened in these measures.”

This month the Harvard Business Review reports on the myriad ways mindfulness can literally change your brain for the better. Their research finds that meditators have a more active anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) which is associated with the ability to purposefully direct attention and behaviour, control inappropriate responses, and switch strategies with more flexibility.

The researchers found “meditators...demonstrate superior performance on tests of self-regulation, resisting distractions and making correct answers more often than non-meditators. They also show more activity in the ACC than non-meditators. In addition to self-regulation, the ACC is associated with learning from past experience to support optimal decision-making.”

All this good news doesn't surprise me. Experiencing the positive results in my own life of reduced stress, more ease in work and personal encounters are just a few of the obvious benefits of a mindful lifestyle. Knowing that Continuing Studies is bringing so many opportunities for positive change is just that extra little bit of icing on the cake.

To find out more about all our mindfulness courses, contact Continuing Studies at 250.391.2513.

JUST ADDED: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction - April 26-June 14. $365 + GST.

Read more of the Times Colonist article, Golden Hawn program makes kids kinder, better at math: UBC researchers.

Read more of the Harvard Business Review article, Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain.