Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. Developing mindfulness skills helps us meet life’s challenges with calm and equilibrium.
There is a significant amount of research on the benefits of mindfulness training. Jon Kabat-Zinn first brought mindfulness to healthcare at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. In working with cancer patients he was able to demonstrate improved health and psychological outcomes. Since he began in 1979, 30 years of research and thousands of studies have documented that mindfulness improves:
– academic and sports performance
– a sense of calm in the face of challenging situations
– enhances relationships
– reduces uncomfortable emotions and stress
– decreases the thought patterns accompanying anxiety and depression
– increases the density of brain areas associated with learning, memory, emotional regulation, and empathy (increased density is good!)
Knowing the benefits of mindfulness, I taught it to groups of teens and recommended it to my adult clients for years before committing to a regular practice myself. Even knowing how helpful it is, like most people, I had many other priorities. However, once I started it, I was amazed at how much things changed for myself.
In 2014, I founded Atlanta Mindfulness Groups, Incorporated as a non-profit organization with my longtime friend and colleague, Dr. Mary Helen Hunt. Our intention in establishing AMG as a non-profit is to make these valuable skills accessible to a general population. Although mindfulness has been shown to help with ADHD, anxiety, depression, stress, and health outcomes, as psychologists we are also aware of the importance of teaching healthy coping skills to all children and adolescents.
If you are interested in learning more about Atlanta Mindfulness Groups and the classes we offer, please visit: AtlantaMindfulnessGroups.com. We are currently offering our Fall series beginning in September.