The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

Mind-body skills groups for medical students: reducing stress, enhancing commitment, and promoting patient-centered care

Mind-body skills groups for medical students

When I started The Center for Mind-Body Medicine in 1991, one of my missions was to bring our vision of self-care and group support to medical students. I am happy to report that I’ve just published a paper that describes how our Mind-Body Skills Group (MBSG) model is currently being used in 15 medical schools. The article, “Mind-body skills groups for medical students: reducing stress, enhancing commitment, and promoting patient-centered care” is in BioMed Central Medical Education (James S. Gordon, 22 September 2014), one of the leading peer-reviewed journals of medical education.
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Contentment

Contentment

Recently, my husband and I were on an 800 mile cross country drive returning our oldest son to college. The Sunday before the drive I had slipped and fallen, resulting in an injury to my rotator cuff; I also had cystitis (an annoying and uncomfortable irritation of the bladder); and my husband was having an arthritic flare, his right wrist throbbing. A few days prior to that our home was flooded accidentally when a bathroom faucet overflowed; shorting out our electrical system and collapsing the kitchen ceiling. I also had a recent job promotion with enormous responsibilities. We actually left home 4 hours later than planned because I had to go to work to complete some important tasks.
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Coping in the Courtroom — and in Life

Coping in the Courtroom -- and in Life

I assisted a young girl who was sex trafficked and helped her to overcome barriers with testifying in criminal court against her predators and they received maximum sentences as a direct result of my training through The Center for Mind-Body Medicine.
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Shaking & Dancing Challenge

Shaking and Dancing Challenge

Shaking & Dancing Meditation has been my favorite exercise since I learned it in the Mind-Body Medicine Professional Training Program. To me, it’s a dynamic and effective method that immediately changes one’s state of mind.

In the groups that I have led, I have noticed that it’s one of the exercises that the participants enjoy and do the most in their daily lives. The group members who have practiced it say they feel more energized and happier, at least during the day they do it. It is easily practiced and duration can depend on the time and availability of each person.

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TechnoStress in the Sauna

TechnoStress in the Sauna - Kathie Madonna Swift

The other day after my workout, I headed to the sauna to savor some quiet time to detox and unwind. Shortly after I got settled in to my warm cocoon and a meditative state, another woman came in to do the same, or so I thought. Wrapped in her terry cloth robe, she immediately reached into her pocket, pulled out her smartphone and began texting away.

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Fear or Trust. You Choose.

Many things have happened lately to make me fearful of others and of life itself. My world seems to be filled with people who hold unfounded grudges that baffle me and choose to say vindictive things for no other reason than spite. We’ve had deaths and serious illnesses, difficult medical prognoses. Family members whose actions are more about greed than family values. Job losses and insecurity. It’s been difficult to hold on to the trust and acceptance that got me through past challenges. I see fear peeking out of every corner, tugging at me, knocking on the door, enticing me to believe that the world is full of anger, resentment, greed and struggles. Fear is ready to haunt me, settle into my stomach and my bones. In fact, I can already feel it in my body, aching and throbbing.

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Shame

Shame - blog post

Shame is an inevitable component of binge eating disorder, so although it’s the most common of eating disorders, it’s rarely discussed.

Binging was a carefully hidden secret for me since my early teen years. I remember getting upset over a running injury and devouring a chocolate cake. Not a piece of cake — a whole chocolate cake — and it was still mostly frozen. Binging was my normal; I didn’t believe change was possible. So even as I got degrees in nutrition and ate more nourishing foods, there were still nights where I’d polish off a can of frosting, and suffer through the inevitable self-loathing hangover.

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Mind, Body, Spirit!

Mind, Body, Spirit!

I am facilitating my second Mind-Body Skills Group since completing both the Advanced Mind-Body Medicine and Food As Medicine courses. The first group started with eight members and ended with a core of four, who have since held two reunions with a third on the horizon. During the time between reunions these individuals have no contact except through me and yet they want to keep in touch, so every few months we get together for lunch.
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Soft Belly

Soft Belly

In June of 2012 I attended the Center’s Food As Medicine conference in Bethesda, MD. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the Center, so I was not sure what to expect. This conference started unlike so many other conferences I have attended. Instead of jumping right in because there would be lots of ground to cover in a short period of time, Dr. Jim Gordon began with a relaxation breathing exercise called “soft belly,” a slow, deep breathing meditation that allows the belly to rise when breathing in and fall when breathing out.The sole focus should be on the image of a soft, relaxed belly. He instructed us to say to ourselves “soft” as we inhaled and “belly” as we exhaled. We started every day of the conference in this fashion. I will admit that I was a bit skeptical at first, as I wondered what breathing had to do with food and when were we going to get to the good stuff. But by day three of the conference I found myself ready to start the day relaxed; I was looking forward to “soft belly!”
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A Limitless Life

A Limitless Life

When I was growing up, my Dad always told me that I could do anything, be anything. You just had to work hard enough for it. Although that put a great deal of pressure on me to strive for excellence (and probably accounted for years of therapy), it also gave me great confidence. For me, there were absolutely no limits in life.
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