The Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation: Wiring the Brain for Academic Success

Date

Thursday, November 3

Time

3:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Presenter(s)

Tyan Taubner

Abstract

This presentation will introduce the neurological and psychological basis of mindfulness meditation and its potential as a support for students presenting with ADHD, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Research indicates that the practice of mindfulness is a powerful and practical way to enhance emotional well-being and mental concentration, both of which are directly tied to academic success. Studies have shown that just eight weeks of mindfulness meditation practice is associated with positive changes in areas of the brain involved in learning, memory, emotional regulation, self-awareness, and empathy (Hölzel et al., 2011). As disability service providers we are in a unique position to guide students toward research based interventions. In addition, as these practices become more embedded in mainstream culture there are many opportunities for campuses of any size to incorporate mindfulness within their programs. The learning objectives of this presentation are as follows:

  • Understand what mindfulness is and how it shapes the brain to promote resiliency and focus.
  • Be able to introduce the concept and practice of mindfulness to your students as a secular, science based intervention.
  • Learn exercises that are easy to do, anywhere, and at any time to share with your students.
  • Leave with on-line resources to promote secular mindfulness practices on your campus.

Hölzel, B. K., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S. M., Gard, T., & Lazar, S. W. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research, 191(1), 36–43.

Presenter Bio(s)

Tyan Taubner is an Access Advisor at the University of Oregon’s Accessible Education Center. Tyan regularly incorporates mindfulness practices during her individual appointments and has facilitated introductory and continuing mindfulness meditation groups for students registered with the AEC over the past four years. Tyan has presented on the neurology of mindfulness meditation at the University of Oregon’s Symposium for Mindfulness and Society, and to parent groups, high school students and childcare providers.

Presentation Materials