What is Mindfulness?? - Spina Bifida Association

Can Mindfulness and
Meditation Help
Individuals with Spina
Bifida Cope with Anxiety
and Depression?
Dennis Carmody, BA
Research Coordinator
Duke University School of Medicine
What is Mindfulness??
 It is a quality that we all have. It is the ability
to bring awareness to the present moment
without judgment and with acceptance.
 Mindfulness can be brought to almost any
situation that you can think of:
 Taking a shower
 While eating a meal
 Having conversation
 Driving a car
Mindful Eating Example
 When eating your next meal, try to do the
following exercise:
 Feel the food in your mouth as you
 Feel all the textures
 Taste all of the flavors
 Feel it as it is going down your
throat and into your stomach
Conditions that Mindfulness
can Help Treat
 Mindfulness has been shown to be effective
in helping people cope with a variety of
medical conditions, including:
 Chronic Pain
 Sleep Disturbance
 High Blood Pressure
 Anxiety and Depression (Discussed in detail
on the next slide)
How can Mindfulness Help People
Cope with Anxiety and Depression?
 People with Spina Bifida have a higher than
average incidence of anxiety and depression
(Bellin et al. 2010). Since Mindfulness is the
ability to bring awareness to the present
moment, we can use this to observe negative
thoughts and feelings, feelings of guilt and
worthlessness, in the case of depression, or
excessive worries about what tomorrow might
bring, in the case of anxiety, and can you observe
and allow these thoughts and feeling without
judgment of the thoughts and feelings.
How Do we Increase
 Through MEDITATION!!!
 What is Meditation? Meditation involves focused
concentration to your internal and external
environment, for example, breathing
 Awareness of breathing is a core, fundamental
practice in mindfulness meditation. It is paying
attention to the process of breathing :
 can you feel the cool air as it enters through
your nostrils?
 can you feel your chest and abdomen rising
and falling, expanding and contracting?
 Finally, can you feel the breath as it exits out of
your mouth?
How Can I Find More About
Mindfulness and Meditation?
 Search for Mindfulness Based Stress
Reduction (MBSR) programs near you.
 Books about mindfulness meditation
 iTunes (search mindfulness/meditation)
 Meditation temples near you

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