Meditation and other spiritual practices enhance the enduring personal changes associated with Psilocybin

For as long as illicit substances have been around, psychedelic drug users have reported transcendental, mystical-type experiences. According to researcher Roland Griffiths, these deeply meaningful events can result in profound personal transformations. Quantum change experiences, as Griffiths calls them, result in fundamental changes to a person’s prosocial attitudes and psychological well-being. Different from behavioural changes,Continue reading “Meditation and other spiritual practices enhance the enduring personal changes associated with Psilocybin”

Minding the Gap: Recreating the Research Landscape for Mindfulness?

In a recent article by Van Dam, Nicholas T et al. “Mind the Hype: A Critical Evaluation and Prescriptive Agenda for Research on Mindfulness and Meditation”, authors critically reviewed the research-scape surrounding mindfulness-based interventions. They raised multiple issues with the current state of evidence on the topic, notably misinterpretation of results and subsequent claims thatContinue reading “Minding the Gap: Recreating the Research Landscape for Mindfulness?”

A case study of the issues in Mindfulness research: mindfulness and implicit bias

Image Source Given that mindfulness encourages a focus on the present moment experience, it may minimize the weight of past experiences on present moment interpretations. Leuke et al., based at Central Michigan University, investigated the potential of mindfulness to reduce implicit out-group bias (1). When ideas and memories develop into automatic associations, we refer toContinue reading “A case study of the issues in Mindfulness research: mindfulness and implicit bias”

The Mind on Art: Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy

Art therapy uses creative media like painting, sketching, sculpting, to promote self-exploration and introspection. It is an adjuvant (or alternative for some) to conventional psychotherapy in which the mode of communication is more direct and discussion based. Mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT) simply adds another layer to this process, incorporating the attitudes of mindfulness into theContinue reading “The Mind on Art: Mindfulness-Based Art Therapy”

Emotional Support, Empathy, and Relating: A Mindful Perspective

Not too long ago, I found myself speaking to a patient about their recent cancer diagnosis. It was their first clinic visit in oncology, and the principal goal of the discussion was to clarify the different treatment options for this new-found invasive disease. It was a challenging encounter; I wanted to be a point ofContinue reading “Emotional Support, Empathy, and Relating: A Mindful Perspective”

The potential role of mindfulness-based interventions in addiction medicine

Dr. Eric Garland is leading the field of mindfulness-based interventions for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD), which over 15 million Americans are estimated to meet the criteria for. His lab at the University of Utah has now conducted multiple randomized controlled trials (RCT) targeting patients with chronic pain and opioid misuse. They hypothesizeContinue reading “The potential role of mindfulness-based interventions in addiction medicine”

Mindfulness and Attention Control

The attention economy – that’s what they call it in Silicon Valley. This term, “attention economy”, was coined by Herbert Simon, a psychologist and economist. It refers to the notion that our attention is a finite resource, and a constant source of competition. Consumer technology and the influence of social media means that the majorityContinue reading “Mindfulness and Attention Control”

When You’ve Got Too Much on Your Plate: Mindful Eating

How do you eat? It’s a strange question: we usually ask ourselves what we’re eating, when we’re eating, or where we’re eating, but we don’t often wonder how we’re eating. How we eat, though, might be key in our feelings of food enjoyment and satiety. It could influence food cravings, emotional eating, and weight loss.Continue reading “When You’ve Got Too Much on Your Plate: Mindful Eating”

Nature-Based Mindfulness

Spending time outdoors is invigorating, and we probably don’t do it as much as we would like to or as much as we should. Whether that be taking a fall hike through the mountain, spending a warm summer day by the water, or if you live in the city, walking up Mount Royal for aContinue reading “Nature-Based Mindfulness”

Art Museums and Medicine: Art observation as a complementary approach for mindfulness and the practice of Medicine

Visual Arts and Medicine At first sight, these two domains may seem completely different. However, history shows us that Medicine and Art developed from one another. For example, da Vinci and numerous scientists and physicians’ dissection drawings helped us develop a better understanding of the human body. A contemporary example that most current medical studentsContinue reading “Art Museums and Medicine: Art observation as a complementary approach for mindfulness and the practice of Medicine”

Beyond the Patient: How Mindfulness can be Supportive to Patient Caregivers

As healthcare professionals, our care for people extends beyond the individual patient sitting before us. This is particularly true when treating patients undergoing cognitive decline who rely heavily on caregivers around them for support. Family caregivers often face substantial challenges adjusting to a new role managing the health of their loved one. So, what canContinue reading “Beyond the Patient: How Mindfulness can be Supportive to Patient Caregivers”

Mindfulness and Grief

Mindfulness accepts some degree of suffering as part of the human condition. Mindfulness-based approaches have shown efficacy in depression, anxiety, and trauma. For bereaved patients with similar symptoms, could it also help them cope with their loss? A study by Thieleman et al. done in 2014 examined such an approach in approximately 40 bereaved participants,Continue reading “Mindfulness and Grief”

Sleep and Mindfulness: What does the evidence say?

Sleep quality and quantity is increasingly recognized as a key determinant of physical and mental well-being. The long work hours and demanding schedules of medical professionals and trainees can predispose people to serious sleep deprivation, putting health care professionals at substantially higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease (to name a few).Continue reading “Sleep and Mindfulness: What does the evidence say?”

Can a mindful approach to ordering investigations reduce inappropriate testing?

Appropriate resource allocation in the healthcare setting should be a factor to consider in all clinical encounters. It is the guiding principle behind the group Choosing Wisely Canada, which was created in 2014 in response to the growing need to cut down on unnecessary testing and medical procedures which represent 30% of all interventions performedContinue reading “Can a mindful approach to ordering investigations reduce inappropriate testing?”

A psycho-physiological model for breathing exercises

At the core of mindfulness practices is breathing which has been linked to stress reduction and relaxation. Many different techniques can be employed. Generally linked to yoga, Prana-yama breathing, from the root ‘’prana’’ which means both ‘’breath’’ and ‘’energy’’, aims to consciously regulate the breath either with it is frequency or deepness. Another technique isContinue reading “A psycho-physiological model for breathing exercises”

The power behind “I can do this” – Part Two

So tell us, how was your week of positive self-statements? Did you notice a difference? Did you perform better during the day, or notice being in a better mood? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear about your experience with self-talk! Now, let’s delve a bit deeper. As seen in our previousContinue reading “The power behind “I can do this” – Part Two”

The power behind “I can do this” – Part One

No, you’re not crazy. You’re not the only one who talks to themselves, who has a constant internal monologue running throughout the day. Everyone has that little voice inside their heads, whether you notice it often, or not. Mindfulness can help us become more aware of that inner speech, with less judgment and with aContinue reading “The power behind “I can do this” – Part One”

Do surgical trainees benefit from practicing mindfulness?

It is no secret that surgeons often work in high-stakes environments and they are under a constant pressure to perform. Although there has been a lot of work to show that mindfulness can positively influence the patient-physician encounter, how does it impact surgical skills? Stress is also a known modulator of performance so whether aContinue reading “Do surgical trainees benefit from practicing mindfulness?”

Mindfulness training: short and sweet does the trick

A recent study out of the United-States is of interest to medical students who are interested in mindfulness, but feel that it requires too much time commitment to learn about the practice. The study shows how a short introduction to mindfulness might be just as good as a longer introduction course.     This randomized control trialContinue reading “Mindfulness training: short and sweet does the trick”

Can mindfulness make me less emotionally reactive?

Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in reducing emotional impulsivity. However, the mechanism underlying this observation is not well understood. It has been suggested that mindfulness reduces “knee-jerk”  emotional responses through three related processes: it allows people to engage with an emotion more by paying closer attention to it, it encourages awareness of theContinue reading “Can mindfulness make me less emotionally reactive?”