The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has put itself firmly on record as being deeply concerned about our national epidemic of stress at the individual, organizational and societal levels. NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) broadcast on September 7th its annual Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary Therapies. The lecture was titled A Nation Under Pressure: The Public Health Consequences of Stress in America.
The American Psychological Association (APA) recently documented a worrisome increase in stress in the U.S. population (Stress in America https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress). Uncontrolled stress can cause or worsen anxiety, depression, PTSD and a wide range of clinical conditions affecting every organ system. Medical students, residents and practicing physicians experience higher levels of stress than their age-
Of all the sciences, medicine uniquely combines all domains of the human condition-
Medicine has always attracted the best and the brightest. Most applicants to medical school are also inspired by a desire to be of genuine service and express their deepest human values through their professional lives. This ethic of altruism, compassion, meaning and service distinguishes medical students from most other professional students.
This new patient was a desperate, mid-
Modern life is taking its toll on our nation’s mental and physical health. Physicians and their patients both suffer from stress-
Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy MD has sounded the alarm regarding our country’s epidemic of stress.(1) He calls for a serious national effort to mitigate the corrosive effect of chronic stress on every organ system. He calls for a nationwide campaign to spread a preventive, behavioral lifestyle prescription of healthy eating, physical activity and genuine social support (other than social media). Based on solid peer-
Behavioral medicine research confirms the value of mind-
Relationships are at the very heart of medicine. I recently saw one of my favorite patients whom I had not seen in 10 years. I have thought of her often since the hospital took over my Estill County practice in Irvine and I moved to Lexington. Wanda always lifted my spirits. She always asked me how I was doing because she cared about me. We joked and laughed while managing her chronic medical conditions. She was good medicine for me.
Defining resilience: The American Psychological Association (APA) describes resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress, such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.” APA further describes resilience as “ordinary, not extraordinary. People commonly demonstrate resilience.
Wayne Jonas MD is clinical professor of family medicine, Georgetown University, retired Lt. Colonel United States Army Medical Corps and a complementary medicine researcher. He previously served as Director of the Office of Alternative Medicine at NIH, which is now called the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. He has recently proposed the HOPE note (Healing Oriented Practices and Environments) as a clinical tool to help physicians….
Anxiety, depression, loneliness and suicide are increasing-
US public health officials are alarmed by a growing mental health epidemic of stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, substance abuse and suicide. Britain has created a Minister of Loneliness to tackle this ‘sad reality of modern life’ and its $3.5 billion annual drain on UK employers. Vivek Murthy MD is the 21st US Surgeon General. He was also the 19th Surgeon General under president Obama.
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Mindfulness benefits for teachers
Roughly half a million U.S. teachers leave the profession each year due to chronic stress, anxiety, depression and burnout. Teachers feel tremendous pressure to do their best for their students in an age of classroom disrespect, school violence and unfriendly state legislative actions. Teachers who train to teach mindfulness in their classroom notice a difference in their own stress management, resilience, self-
Mindfulness benefits for parents
Many parents have stress-
Mindfulness benefits for physicians
Kids deserve a doctor that is happy, resilient, compassionate and listens well. The pandemic has led to great suffering among physicians. Mindfulness-
In many Asian languages the word for heart and mind are the same. Thus, it is said that mindfulness is also heartfulness. The growth of self-
Mindfulness exercises for kids (and their adults)
Paying attention to the body and the breath are basic introductory mindfulness practices. We train the mind to pay attention by using the grounded dependability of the body. Even though our mind may be in some other place-
As we gain confidence in experiencing the simultaneous presence of opposite physical sensations, we can transfer that skill to our thoughts and emotions. Children can experience the simultaneous presence of test anxiety and the joy of learning. Adults can experience the simultaneous presence of depression and gratitude for the love in their life.
I have made audio recordings for “Soft Belly Breathing” and “Body Scan.” Below are links to these introductory mindfulness practices. I have also provided links to resources created by the Aetna Foundation’s public awareness campaign promoting mindfulness for children and throughout society.
Mindfulness is a natural human capacity that kids, teachers, parents and physicians can cultivate-
Anxiety, depression, loneliness and suicide are increasing-
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a portable tool for effectively coping with stress. It consists of intentionally maintaining a moment-
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
Research shows that mindfulness improves attention, impulse control, emotional resilience, memory, and chronic pain. It strengthens the “mental muscle” to bring attention and focus back to the task at hand-
Mindfulness helps us accept and even forgive ourselves for harmful habits and actions and, in the process, cultivate empathy,
forgiveness and compassion for others who are on this same life journey, doing the best they can. By mindfully paying attention to our emotions, we learn how fleeting they are and learn to see how we cling to pleasant emotions we like and resist or deny unpleasant emotions we don’t like. Relaxation is a common side benefit of mindfulness practice, though mindful attention can also be brought to activity and movement.
Mindfulness benefits for children
A child’s autonomic nervous system responds to the stress of a math test in the same way it responds to actual physical danger. Children need tools to decrease the fight-
By helping them cope with stress, mindfulness helps many children reduce distractibility and hyperactivity, learn better, score higher and reach their full potential. Children get more grounded, slow down, relax their bodies, quiet their minds and open their hearts. They learn to regulate their unskillful physical, mental and emotional reactivity and become more skillfully responsive at school
Dr Patterson chairs the Lexington Medical
Senator Alvarado earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Loma Linda University (California) in 1990, and then went on to receive his Doctorate in Medicine in 1994. He completed his medical residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Kentucky in 1998. Society's Physician Wellness Commission and is certified in Physician Coaching. He is on the family practice faculty UK College of Medicine and teaches nationally for Saybrook School of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences (San Francisco) and the Center for Mind Body Medicine (Washington, DC). After 30 years in private family practice in Irvine KY, he now operates the Mind Body Studio in Lexington, where he offers integrative mind-