Healthy Workplace Initiative: UBC Okanagan

Mindfulness Training

By Nancy Sandvoss, Support Services Assistant

As part of a Healthy Workplace Initiative, the staff of Student Services and Financial Support meet every Tuesday morning for an hour of Mindfulness training.  We are led by Dr. Janice Snyder, Professor of Psychology.  This practice is a first-time experience for all of us.  Below are some excerpts about individual experiences:

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“For me, the mindfulness meditation sessions mean another tool in my mental health toolbox. Shortly after we began our mindfulness meditation sessions, a headline in the January 13th edition of the National Post caught my attention:  Is meditation the new antidepressant? Mindfulness practice may be more effective than drugs for anxiety, depression.  The article goes on to say that on January 6th, 2014 the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the results of a study lead by Dr. Madhav Goyal of the John Hopkins School of Medicine which demonstrated that “meditation appears to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as antidepressants” and that “mindfulness meditation is the most effective form”.  These results are not surprising to those who work in field of psychopathology as mindfulness works to help calm the mind.

I am thankful I have been given the opportunity from my employer to try mindfulness meditation in an effort to improve my overall health and wellness.  Mindfulness meditation has now become another tool in my mental health toolbox.”

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“I’m really struggling with whether this is for me or not. This thought stresses me out because I think “maybe I am being lazy? Why isn’t this for me? Am I not open minded enough? If I choose not to do it will I be judged?” I have found that the stretching/yoga type sessions we have done are GREAT for me, I come out of that ballroom ready for the day mind and body limber. So I ask myself why I can’t come out of every session like that. I think my problem is that I am putting too much pressure on myself to have the perfect meditation every time when that may not be a reality. ”

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“I am not discrediting the entire meditation idea all together but I think everyone has their own personal form and idea of what meditation is. For me its yoga for someone else maybe it’s a body scan laying still. Whatever your form is I think it is great and I think we should all be respected for whatever form suits each of us individually.”

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“Today was my first ever meditation class done at work. It was definitely a very interesting experience. Thinking back to when I was young, I remember my elementary school teacher used to lead us in a very similar style of meditation where we imagine being “one with the nature”. I really enjoy that as a team, we get to do this together every Tuesday morning. Not only allowing us to be relaxed and refreshed once a week through meditation, but enjoying each other’s company outside of our normal work setting. I think now a day with everyone’s busy schedule, it’s tough for us to slow down and relax. But with these Tuesday meditation classes, it gives everyone a great excuse to do so.”

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“The most astounding thing for me is that I find myself going to a mindful place unintentionally during my day.  I find myself with my thoughts on my inhalations and exhalations and, in doing so, find calmness and focus in the rhythm of my breath.”

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