Unit 1:What is mindfulness?

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Return to: ETAP 623 Spring 2020 (Zhang) | Understanding and Integrating Age Appropriate Mindfulness Activities

Navigate to:

Unit 1:What is mindfulness?

Unit 2:How can someone be mindful?

Unit 3: What are age appropriate mindfulness activities for students k-12?

Additional Mindfulness Resources

An Overview of this Unit

By completing this unit you will meet the following objectives:

1.1 Watch videos to define mindfulness

1.2 Reflect on the science of how mindfulness changes the brain and then interpret the benefits

1.3 Define mindfulness and the benefits for the brain

Defining Mindfulness

This video will help you to understand mindfulness and what it is.

Mindfulness and the Brain: Proof it works

   Mindfulness has been proven to improve cognitive function, social-emotional skills, and overall well-being. 
Improvement Proof
Cognitive Function Better Focus and Concentration
Social-Emotional Skills Improves self-regulation and compassion
Well Being Decreased stress, anxiety, and depression

Watch the following video to understand the difference between the Default Mode Network and the Task Positive Network

Neurons that Fire Together Wire Together

Research has shown that regular practice (8+ weeks) can…

  • Shrink the amygdala (in charge of fight or flight responses)
  • Weaken functional connections between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, which strengthens attention and weakens reactivity
  • Increase the gray matter in the following key areas: Anterior Cingulate Cortex (associated with self-regulation and cognitive flexibility), Pre-Frontal Cortex (responsible for emotional regulation, planning & problem solving), and the Hippocampus (governs learning and memory) (Neu, 2020)

Image source:(Fox et al., 2014)

Defining Mindfulness and it's Benefits

Complete the following on this google doc with your first and last name

1. Define mindfulness in your own words

2. Explain in written form or with a diagram how the amygdala, the default mode network, the task positive network and the brain are related to mindfulness.

Next Stop: Unit 2:How can someone be mindful?

Resources and References

Fox, K. C., Nijeboer, S., Dixon, M. L., Floman, J. L., Ellamil, M., Rumak, S. P., ... & Christoff, K. (2014). Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuroimaging in meditation practitioners. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 43, 48-73.

Neu, Christina. (2020). It Starts with You HCSD [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from Christina Neu.