Mindfulness Program at Johns Hopkins

Mindfulness meditation is a form of present-moment awareness—just noticing what is happening inside our bodies and in the world around us as it is happening. The opposite of being mindful is being on “auto-pilot.” Many research studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress, as well as symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and pain.

In mindfulness meditation, we are not trying to change anything. We are simply becoming aware of what is going on without trying to judge it as good or bad. We are approaching experiences with a sense of curiosity and openness. Interestingly, when we bring our awareness to the present moment with repeated practice and allow feelings and bodily sensations to be present without trying to push them away, a natural by-product is often relaxation.

The director of this program, Neda Gould, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences as well as Associate Director of the Bayview Anxiety Disorders Clinic. She has led numerous clinical, professional and research-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) groups. She currently holds MBSR groups for faculty in the School of Medicine. Dr. Gould was involved in a recent systematic review and meta-analysis entitled Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Wellbeing published in JAMA Internal Medicine. In 2015, she completed an 8-month meditation program through the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. She is completing her MBSR teacher certification through the UCSD Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute. She has practiced mindfulness meditation since 2008, attended numerous mindfulness workshops and silent retreats, and given many lectures on mindfulness meditation to JHM groups and externally.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

In 1979, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The MBSR program is an eight-week course that meets for 2 ½ hours each week, a full day silent retreat and home practice with guided meditations. During the course, participants are taught a variety of meditations to foster present-moment awareness, including breathing meditation, guided sitting meditation, body scan, mindful eating, mindful walking, as well as gentle yoga and stretching. There is also group discussion around these concepts. No previous meditation or yoga experience is required and participants are gradually introduced to these concepts.