Cultivating
Mindfulness to
Support Recovery
Elizabeth A.R. (Libby) Robinson,
Ph.D., MSW
Dawn Farms Ed Series, 12 17 13
Outline
 What is mindfulness?
 Evidence of its effects on stress, pain,
depression, anxiety and recovery from addictions...
What is Mindfulness?
 “Mindfulness means paying attention in a
particular way: on purpose, in the present
moment, and non...
Not a new idea
 Almost every world religion (Christianity,
Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism) has a
strand of thought an...
Jon Kabat-Zinn and MindfulnessBased Stress Reduction (MBSR)
 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) :
cultivates mindf...
Mindfulness is not:

 A religion
 A state of bliss
 Automatic pilot
 An empty mind
A brief summary of research on
mindfulness’s effects
 Research on mindfulness-based interventions
is growing and now incl...
Some specific findings on changes
associated with mindfulness meditation
 Statistically significant improvements in ratin...
What seems to change/shift?
 Observing (noticing internal and external stimuli, e.g.,
as sensations, emotions, cognitions...
Some speculation on how mindfulness
works
Based on neuroimaging, self-report and
behavioral findings, practitioners of min...
Ways to cultivate mindfulness

 Meditation

 Informally – being more present
in one’s ordinary life
What is meditation?
 “A family of self-regulatory practices that focus
on training attention and awareness in order to
br...
Experiencing Mindfulness
in this Moment
Practicing informally – noticing ordinary present
moment experience.
Informal Mindfulness:
examples
 Eating
 Shower/bath

 Time with loved ones
 Time in nature
 Music
 Driving a car

 ...
Experiencing Mindfulness
in this Moment
Practicing meditation
cor.delaranja.com
What else you might notice

 Judgment

 Curiosity about thoughts
 Awareness of impermanence of experience
 Thoughts ar...
Why the Breath as an Anchor?

 Always available
 Free
 Accessible -- easily felt
 Connects mind and body, a measure of...
Cultivating Compassion
 Almost always paired with mindfulness
practice.
 What is a compassion practice?

 Deliberately ...
Practicing Compassion
Cultivating Mindfulness to Support Recovery
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Cultivating Mindfulness to Support Recovery

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“Cultivating Mindfulness to Support Recovery” was presented on Tuesday December 17, 2013; by Libby Robinson Ph.D., MSW. Mindfulness practices can help support an individual’s recovery from substance use disorders. This presentation will describe mindfulness, provide opportunities to experience and cultivate mindfulness, and review the evidence of its positive effect on recovery. Dr. Robinson has taught Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction since 2003. She has practiced mindfulness meditation since 1979 and was trained to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction by Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness, where he developed this program for cultivating mindfulness. She recently retired from the University of Michigan, where she was a U of M Research Assistant Professor, carrying out NIH-funded research on the role of spiritual and religious change in recovery. She also did an NIAAA post-doctoral fellowship at the U of M Addiction Research Center and was on the social work faculty at Case Western Reserve University and the University at Buffalo. Dr. Robinson has an MSW and MPH from the University of Michigan, as well as her Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Work. This program is part of the Dawn Farm Education Series, a FREE, annual workshop series developed to provide accurate, helpful, hopeful, practical, current information about chemical dependency, recovery, family and related issues. The Education Series is organized by Dawn Farm, a non-profit community of programs providing a continuum of chemical dependency services. For information, please see http://www.dawnfarm.org/programs/education-series.

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Cultivating Mindfulness to Support Recovery

  1. 1. Cultivating Mindfulness to Support Recovery Elizabeth A.R. (Libby) Robinson, Ph.D., MSW Dawn Farms Ed Series, 12 17 13
  2. 2. Outline  What is mindfulness?  Evidence of its effects on stress, pain, depression, anxiety and recovery from addictions.  What seems to change/shift as we practice mindfulness?  Ways to cultivate mindfulness: “Informally” With meditation  Experiencing cultivating mindfulness, informally & formally -- discussion
  3. 3. What is Mindfulness?  “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” - Jon Kabat-Zinn  Cultivating mindfulness is training the mind to develop greater awareness of the present moment, including current physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings, without judging one’s self or one’s experience.
  4. 4. Not a new idea  Almost every world religion (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism) has a strand of thought and practice that proposes that being in the present has value in helping us be better people (e.g., Centering Prayer, Quaker meditation).  The Greeks, Romans, and the American transcendentalists (Thoreau, Emerson) also made this same point.  Most recently, Eckhart Tolle, author of bestselling The Power of Now, on Oprah Winfrey’s show urging us to practice being more present.
  5. 5. Jon Kabat-Zinn and MindfulnessBased Stress Reduction (MBSR)  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) : cultivates mindfulness through meditation, both sitting meditation and mindful movement (easy yoga, walking), and through informal practices (noticing one’s present moment experience in ordinary life).  MBSR is a secular 8-week class, originally developed for coping with severe chronic pain.  Since its development, many variations have been developed, including a version for depression (MBCT), eating disorders (M-EAT), and relapse prevention (MBRP).
  6. 6. Mindfulness is not:  A religion  A state of bliss  Automatic pilot  An empty mind
  7. 7. A brief summary of research on mindfulness’s effects  Research on mindfulness-based interventions is growing and now includes neuroimaging studies and more sophisticated research designs.  Effects include: - Reductions in depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, stress, and pain. - Increased immunological response, reduced blood pressure and cortisol - Increased psychological well-being and enhanced cognitive functioning. Holzel, Lazar et al, 2011
  8. 8. Some specific findings on changes associated with mindfulness meditation  Statistically significant improvements in ratings of pain & other medical symptoms.  Patients reported decreases in anxiety and depression.  Patients with binge eating disorders improved eating patterns & mood.  Fibromyalgia patients improved.  Psoriasis cleared faster in patients exposed to recordings of guided mindfulness meditation than those who were not.  Decreases in substance use both in MBRP & other MB interventions.  Changes appear to persist.
  9. 9. What seems to change/shift?  Observing (noticing internal and external stimuli, e.g., as sensations, emotions, cognitions, sights, sounds, and smells)  Describing (mentally labeling these stimuli with words)  Acting with awareness (attending to one’s current actions, as opposed to behaving automatically or absentmindedly)  Nonjudging (refraining from evaluating sensations, cognitions, and emotions)  Nonreactivity to inner experience (allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go, without getting caught in them) Baer et al, 2006
  10. 10. Some speculation on how mindfulness works Based on neuroimaging, self-report and behavioral findings, practitioners of mindfulness experience enhanced self-regulation from increased:  Attention regulation  Body awareness  Emotional regulation, including Reappraisal Exposure, extinction, and reconsolidation  Changes in perspective on one’s self  Compassion toward self & others Holzel, Lazar et al, 2011
  11. 11. Ways to cultivate mindfulness  Meditation  Informally – being more present in one’s ordinary life
  12. 12. What is meditation?  “A family of self-regulatory practices that focus on training attention and awareness in order to bring mental processes under greater voluntary control … (Walsh & Shapiro, Am. Psych., 2006)  Types of meditation: Concentration Mindfulness Contemplation
  13. 13. Experiencing Mindfulness in this Moment Practicing informally – noticing ordinary present moment experience.
  14. 14. Informal Mindfulness: examples  Eating  Shower/bath  Time with loved ones  Time in nature  Music  Driving a car  Sitting  Touching water  Getting out of bed or into bed
  15. 15. Experiencing Mindfulness in this Moment Practicing meditation
  16. 16. cor.delaranja.com
  17. 17. What else you might notice  Judgment  Curiosity about thoughts  Awareness of impermanence of experience  Thoughts are just mental events  Simple awareness
  18. 18. Why the Breath as an Anchor?  Always available  Free  Accessible -- easily felt  Connects mind and body, a measure of well- being  Fairly neutral
  19. 19. Cultivating Compassion  Almost always paired with mindfulness practice.  What is a compassion practice?  Deliberately cultivating friendliness and kindliness toward one’s self and toward others.
  20. 20. Practicing Compassion

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