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MALAYSIA'S FIRST & ONLY STRUCTURED MINDFULNESS-BASED PROGRAM WHICH IS SUPPORTED BY THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH (MYSIHAT) AND LOCAL RESEARCH (UPM, UM, UKM, SUNWAY U, NUS)...

Friday, December 11, 2015

MINDFULGym REST-Shop for Health Care Professionals at UKMMC

3-4 December, 2015: More than 70 health care professionals participated in a two-day MINDFULGym REST-Shop at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC). Supported by the Department of Psychiatry, the program aimed to provide health care professionals with simple and effective tools (e.g. Mindful-S.T.O.P.) to reduce stress and enhance self-care. Many doctors are experiencing burnout. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve physical and mental health among doctors and other health care professionals [1]. Furthermore, psychotherapists in training who practised mindfulness had better treatment outcome in their patients, compared to those who did not practise mindfulness [2].
      
   

[1]. Irving, J. A., Dobkin, P. L., & Park, J. (2009). Cultivating mindfulness in health care professionals: A review of empirical studies of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 15(2), 61-66.

[2]. Grepmair, L., Mitterlehner, F., Loew, T., Bachler, E., Rother, W., & Nickel, M. (2007). Promoting mindfulness in psychotherapists in training influences the treatment results of their patients: A randomized, double-blind, controlled study. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 76(6), 332–338.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mindfulness Programs at Sunway Medical Centre (SunMed)

NOW - group and individual mindfulness-based training at Sunway Medical Centre (SunMed). Finally, in Malaysia, we're able to have something similar to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. Feel free to contact Dr. Phang (pckar39011@gmail.com) to customize a program for your personal and organizational needs.





For more information & FAQ - HERE


Friday, November 20, 2015

Elective Posting (Psychiatry) in MINDFULGym Program - Dr. Shamini


"When I look back, I believe my mindfulness practice did me some good in terms of boosting my immune system. So, mindfulness meditation (and NOT medications) helped me to recover naturally from this common illness (flu) which I used to get frequently."

I am a final year master trainee in psychiatry and I attended the 6-week MINDFULGym workshop as part of my elective posting. The reason I chose this workshop is because I was curious with mindfulness practices and its benefits, and decided to undertake it myself to experience this practice.The workshop has taught me a lot of things that I usually unaware of. Now, I am  more aware of the effect of stress on myself. Even though I knew that I was experiencing stress, I was not fully aware of what it did to my mind and body.

By practicing mindfulness, I am able to recognize the stress reactions in my mind and body. I have become more aware of the effect of stress on my mind (unfocused thoughts) and body (tension in my neck), and employ the various MINDFULGym tools to help alleviate these symptoms. Although previously I was aware of stress, I dealt with it in a way which lacks self-kindness. For instance, when I was stressed out, I would compulsively keep myself busy by thinking more or harder, assuming that this would solve all my problems. This resulted in more stress, self-criticism, and low self-esteem whenever I fall short of ideas to resolve my problems. By practising mindfulness, I am able to bring more care and attention to my mind/body and want to treat it better for health.

I realized that in the month that I started practicing mindfulness, I became less sick with flu and sore throat, especially during the haze season. I did get two attacks of sore throat. But unlike my usual sore throat experience, which would require antibiotics and lasts for a week, this time it resolved within two days - without antibiotics. I usually had to go on an antibiotic course to prevent laryngitis and loosing my voice. I was also less feverish and did not require vitamin C prophylaxis. When I look back, I believe my mindfulness practice did me some good in terms of boosting my immune system. So, mindfulness meditation (and NOT medications) helped me to recover naturally from this common illness (flu) which I used to get frequently.


"The workshop has taught me a lot of things that I usually unaware of. Now, I am  more aware of the effect of stress on myself. Even though I knew that I was experiencing stress, I was not fully aware of what it did to my mind and body."

In sum, I am very glad to have found a practice to help me cope with stress in my life. Otherwise, I would have submitted myself to frequently being sick with the common cold. I especially appreciate the “being kind to yourself” part of mindfulness training (instead of being self-critical). I realized that I am the hardest critic of myself, and this is not helpful at all for my self-esteem and problem solving ability.

Another thing which I like about the program is the brevity and simplicity of the practice in mindfulness. This is important for me as I have short attention span and busy daily schedule. For me, it is the small micro steps, instead of big steps, that I appreciate to bring about positive changes in my lifestyle.

Thank you for the opportunity to join this wonderful programme.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

7 Things NOT Helpful To Say: Communicating Mindfully With A Person With Depression


Depression is a severe medical condition that affects the way we think, feel, and act. Despite with good intention, we sometimes say things that are unhelpful or may worsen a person's depression:

1.  Don’t be lazy, you’re wasting your time!

Why not?: Excessive tiredness is a common symptom of depression. "Lazy" implies that the person is having an attitude problem or making it up.
Mindful response: It must be very frustrating feeling tired all the time and unable to do the things you want to do...

2.  It’s your bad kamma - do more good!

Why not?: This may induce or worsen guilt feeling which is part of depression. It may also trigger thoughts of uselessness, "I'm not good enough."
Mindful response:  Bad things sometimes do happen in life and nobody really knows why. Let’s see how we can move on together…

3.  Nothing is impossible; think positive and be strong.

Why not?: Having depression is not a sign of weakness. Many great people in the world had depression.
Mindful response: It must be really tough going through all the difficulties. Maybe you’re too strong for too long…

4.  How long more you want to be depressed?!

Why not?: Being depressed is not a choice. We don't tell a person with cancer, "How long more do want to be cancerous?"
Mindful response: Wow! You’ve been struggling for so long. I wonder how you manage to cope…

5.  Be grateful.  You’re already very lucky; many are worse.

Why not?: This may be invalidating or disrespecting the emotional pain of a depressed person. They may also think, "Ya, I'm so useless/ungrateful. People can cope and move on, but I can't. Terrible me!"
Mindful response: It’s unfortunate that so many bad things had happened to you. Let’s see how we can work on them…

6.  Why are you so weak? You think you’re the only one with problems?!

Why not?: Obviously, he/she is not coping well, despite others may be having the same problems and are able to cope. Else, he/she won't be suffering from depression.
Mindful response: Ya, life sometimes can be terrible. I’m also going through some challenges…

7.  Stop pretending to be depressed!

Why not?: Nobody chooses or pretends to have cancer. Similarly, depression, as a medical condition, is NOT a choice. 
Mindful response: Perhaps you don’t have to try so hard pretending to be happy. Sometimes, it’s OK not to be ok…


In brief, try to be a good listener, understanding, empathetic, and supportive (e.g. offer tissue paper for crying, give a gentle pat on the shoulder). 


"What should I do if I or somebody has depression?"
"12 ways to encourage a person with depression to seek help"

Kindly refer to the book, "I'm still Human: Understanding Depression With Kindness."



Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mindful Body Scan & Kindness - 1 second


Allow your attention to rest on different parts of the body with curiosity and gentleness. As you sweep your attention to different body parts, you may imagine and associate something positive, happy, or healthy to the body parts (e.g. flower blooming, butterfly fluttering, smiley image, waves cleansing, saying "Thank You" to the organs, etc.) 


Mindful Body Scan & Kindness - 5 seconds



Allow your attention to rest on different parts of the body with curiosity and gentleness. As you sweep your attention to different body parts, you may imagine and associate something positive, happy, or healthy to the body parts (e.g. flower blooming, butterfly fluttering, smiley image, waves cleansing, saying "Thank You" to the organs, etc.). 

Mindful Body Scan & Kindness - 3 seconds


Allow your attention to rest on different parts of the body with curiosity and gentleness. As you sweep your attention to different body parts, you may imagine and associate something positive, happy, or healthy to the body parts (e.g. flower blooming, butterfly fluttering, smiley image, waves cleansing, saying "Thank You" to the organs, etc.) 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

MINDFULGym in Hospital Serdang

 

Congratulations to Matron Hee for her recent award for most outstanding nursing research on MINDFULGym program for nurses...


The 5-week MINDFULGym program was conducted for the critical care nurses at Hospital Serdang (January - April, 2013) as part of their Continuing Nursing Education. The program was initiated by Matron Hee Kim Lan and supported by the Hospital's Nursing Department. About 40 nurses graduated from the program and data on the effectiveness of the program has been published in the Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing - HERE. Congratulations to Matron Hee for successfully introducing the meaningful program to the nurses, and completing her masters in nursing studies.

Full paper - HERE.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

MINDFULGym Clock



MINDFULGym Clock by Dr. Zhen-Phang

Mindfulness is remembering to pay attention to the present moment with kindness, beginner's mind and wisdom
-MINDFULGym Program- 

Friday, September 18, 2015

MINDFULGym For Corporate World


MINDFULGym training plans are now available for the corporate world. We are happy to customize a half-day, one-day, or two-day wellness programs for your organization. In Malaysia, MINDFULGym program has been introduced to Berjaya Corporation Bhd., Wing Tai Clothing Sdn. Bhd., Young President's Organization, Sunway Group, Knowles Electronics, IJM Corporation, Omesti Bhd, Pacific & Orient Insurance Co. Bhd., FOREFRONT International, Qi Group, Roche, USG Boral, Baker Tilly, Brand Dynamics, etc. If you are interested in introducing the program to your employees, kindly email Dr. Phang at pckar39011@gmail.com to schedule a meeting.



  • Mindfulness takes over the corporate world - HERE.
  • Mindfulness is transforming leaders - HERE.
  • 4 companies that embrace mindfulness - HERE. 
  • A guide to mindfulness at work - HERE.
  • 7 habits of highly mindful leaders - HERE.

MINDFULGym in Knowles - HERE
MINDFULGym in IJM Corporation - HERE & NOW

Powered by flickr embed.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

MINDFULGym for a Malaysian community study presented at ICAP, Colombo (2015)



Effectiveness of MINDFULGym program for reducing anxiety, depression; and increasing mindfulness and psychological well-being among a Malaysian community is supported. Part of psychology student Ms. Ting Pei Lim's final year undergraduate research project, the study was presented by Associate Professor Dr. Alvin Ng Lai Oon (Sunway University, Malaysia) at the International Conference of Applied Psychology in Colombo (2015). This is the first mixed quantitative and qualitative study of MINDFULGym in Malaysia.







Ng, L.O., Ting, P.L., & Phang, C.K. (2015). Brief mindfulness-based intervention: a comparison study of its effects between quantitative and qualitative measures. 2nd International Conference on Applied Psychology (ICAP2015), 28-30 August 2015, the Bandaranaika Memorial International Conference Hall, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Organised by the Colombo Institute of Research and Psychology.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Individual Mindfulness-Based Therapy at SMC

Feel free to make an appointment with Dr. Phang in his clinic at Sunway Medical Centre to customize a mindfulness-based therapy for your personal needs.

Dr. Phang's clinic contact & hours - NOW.
For more information - HERE.






Thursday, August 20, 2015

7 Habits for Cultivating Beginner's Mind

In MINDFULGym program, mindfulness training is defined as remembering to pay attention to the present moment with kindness, beginner's mind and wisdom. The concept of "beginner's mind" is emphasized in Zen Buddhism. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, lack of preconceived or fixated ideas, when studying a subject or experiencing life. Other words for it include "zen mind," "open mind," "don't-know mind," and "non-judgmental mind."

Benefits of beginner's mind:

1. Learn more effectively.
2. Appreciate the richness of life.
3. Solve problems creatively.
4. Release unhelpful habits.
5. Better communication & relationships.


Zen story: Emptying Your Cup - HERE.


Below are 7 ways for cultivating beginner's mind:

1. Do something routine in different ways.

Life becomes more interesting with simple adjustments:
  • Use a different route to work.
  • Park your car in a different place.
  • Sit in a different position during meeting.
  • Use the stairs instead of lift.
  • Chant in a different sequence.
  • Walk in a different posture.
  • Use a different toilet bowl.
  • Teach using different styles.
  • Eat in different restaurants.
  • Sleep on a different side of the bed.

2. Observe something without using labels, names or words.

When you're experiencing something (e.g. wind), try doing that without calling it "wind." As we label in our hearts, "it's wind," we're limiting our experience to the preconceived idea of what "wind" is. We become a know-it-all and it's a hindrance to discovering new experience related to "w...." Try to sense and feel the...

Song of the Wind (Plum Village song)

I listen to the song of the wind that has no name
I listen to the song of the wind that has no words
I listen to the song of the wind that I can see
The wind is real, the wind is real

I listen to the song of the sky that has no name
I listen to the song of the sky that has no words
I listen to the song of the sky that I can see
The sky is real, the sky is real

I listen to the song of the moon that has no name
I listen to the song of the moon that has no words
I listen to the song of the moon that I can see
The moon is real, the moon is real

You Tube - HERE.


3. Imagine bringing along a child and experience life with child-like curiosity.


 "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."

- Marcel Proust.


4. Answer questions with "yes," and "no," depending on situations.

Try to be open minded in our views by having "yes" and "no" answers to any questions. For example, "Should a student work hard in studies?" The answers could be "yes," if the student lacks discipline in his or her studies. And the answer could be "no," if the student is too serious in studies to the extend of feeling depressed and suicidal. In life, often there's no absolute yes/no, right/wrong or good/bad; it depends on situations.

"A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.” - Frank Zappa.

What do you think? Yes, you're right and i'm correct...
When "yes" is correct, "no" can also be correct.
Zen story: You're correct too - HERE.


5. Slow down, relax, and be mindful of the present moment experience.

When stressed out, we often function in an autopilot mode, and we react to challenges with unhelpful habits (e.g anger outburst, binge eating, feeling guilty). On the other hand, when we're calm and mindful, we're able to respond to challenges with wise decisions and helpful solutions.

How can we easily slow and calm down, and rest in the present moment?
Take a Mindful-S.T.O.P. and contemplate on the poem, "Slow Dance."


6. Don't belief our thoughts too seriously.


What we believe are often conditioned by our mood and 'shadow' of past experience. For example, a phone call from a friend requesting for help may be interpreted differently depending on situations. When our mood and past experience are positive, we'll likely interpret it as, "It's so nice that my friend trusts me and shares his/her problems." Otherwise, it could be interpreted as, "Oh no, he/she's trying to use me again!" If we're not sure whether to believe in something, it's better to get a second opinion from a friend.


7. Try new experience and challenges.




Don't be afraid to try new things. No matter what happens, it's always a learning experience. When we experience life from different perspectives, we have a more complete picture of life.

Story: Elephant & The 6 Blind Men.


Photo credits (baby and thought bubble): Pixabay