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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Description of MINDFULGym for Research...

This is how the MINDFULGym program can be described for research purpose.

MINDFULGym is a group mindfulness-based program developed by consultant psychiatrist Dr. Phang Cheng Kar in 2010 for the Malaysian community. It was developed in consideration of the multi-ethnic and multi-religious needs of Malaysians who wish to learn mindfulness in a secular approach. The full program (see Table M) is conducted over a period of 5 weeks with 1 session per week (2-3 hours per session) and daily home practice (supported by audio-guided instructions in compact disc and WhatsApp mobile messaging app). The sessions are conducted in a group of 15-20 participants using a psycho-educational and experiential approach to ensure maximum learning and benefits. Being the first evidence-based mindfulness program in Malaysia, it has been shown to reduce psychological distress and improve emotional well-being among medical students (Phang, Chiang, Ng, Keng, & Oei, 2015; Phang, Firdaus, Normala, Keng, & Sherina, 2015a; Phang, Firdaus, Normala, Keng, & Sherina, 2015b; Keng, Phang, & Oei, 2015), critical care nurses (Hee, Norsiah, Pathmawathi, & Phang, 2013), school teachers (Gnanavisuddhi, 2015), cancer patients (Woo, 2016), and general adults in the community (Ng, Ting, & Phang, 2015).

Compared to the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) programs, MINDFULGym is a) shorter in duration (5 instead of 8 weeks); b) includes the use stories (e.g. ‘A Better Tomorrow Chocolate’), games (e.g. blowing bubbles), and songs (e.g. 'Happiness is Here-and-Now') for teaching mindfulness in more fun ways; c) has more traditional mindfulness related and ‘meta-mindfulness’ (Phang & Oei, 2012) practice (e.g. mindful walking, grateful thinking, appreciative joy); d) does not include Yoga practice (as it is not culturally appropriate for some people in Malaysia); and e) recommends simpler and shorter daily home practice (typically not more than 5-10 minutes per day)." In the MINDFULGym program, being mindful is defined as 'remembering to pay attention to the present moment with an attitude of kindness, a beginner's mind, and wisdom.'  The MINDFULGym's training slogan is"Be Present, Be Calm & Be Grateful" and 'Mindful-S.T.O.P.' (available in mini, basic, and add-on versions) is the main psychological tool taught for cultivating mindfulness (Phang, Keng, & Chiang, 2014).

Table M: MINDFULGym Program Outline

Week 1: Introduction to mindfulness    
ABC of stress & happiness
Mindful body stretching & relaxation
Introduction to mindfulness
Multitasking & ‘NOW-ing’ (paying attention to physical actions by 'labeling')
Home-Gym workout I (home training)

Week 2: Living in the here-and-now
Review of Home-Gym
Song: Happiness is Here-and-Now
Mindful Breathing: Deepening the NOW
Contacting the present moment with 'H.T.C.'
Mindful-S.T.O.P: Log on to mindfulness at any time
Home-Gym workout II (home training)

Week 3: Appreciating the present moment
Review of Home-Gym
‘Beginner’s Mind’ & 7 habits of mindful eating
Story: A better tomorrow chocolate
Mindful walking & photography
Home-Gym workout III (home training)

Week 4: Observing & transforming thoughts
Review of Home-Gym
Mind-Scan: Awareness of Thinking Errors
Transforming Thinking Errors
Gratitude Workout: ‘Google-WWW-Yahoo’ (paying attention to wellness)
Home-Gym workout IV (home training)

Week 5: Befriending Challenges
Review of Home-Gym
No Worry-Lah, Be Sleepy: Body-Scan & Kindness
Cultivating HEART-fulness (Loving-Kindness)
5 Mindful Vitamins (positive coping statements during adversity)
MP3 – Mindfulness 'Personal Practice Plan'

For a detail description of the various MINDFULGym practice, please refer to the MINDFULGym book:

Phang, C. K. (2016). NOW - Who Wants To Learn MINDFULGym?: 12 Mindful Tools For Stress Reduction & Wellness. Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Association for Mindfulness Practice & Research (MMPR).


Hee, K. L., Norsiah, R., Pathmawathi, S., & Phang, C. K. (2013). The effects of mindfulness training program on reducing stress and promoting well-being among nurses in critical care units. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 31(3), 22–31.

Phang, C. K., Chiang, K. C., Ng, L. O., Keng, S.-L., & Oei, T. P. S. (2015). Effects of Brief Group Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy for Stress Reduction among Medical Students in a Malaysian University. Mindfulness, 7(1), 189-197.

Phang, C. K., Firdaus, M., Normala, I., Keng, S.-L., & Sherina, M.S. (2015a). Effects of a brief mindfulness-based intervention program for stress management among medical students: the Mindful-Gym randomized controlled study. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 20(5), 1115 – 1134.

Phang, K. C., Firdaus, M., Normala, I., Keng, S.-L., & Sherina, M. S. (2015b). Effects of a DVD-Delivered Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Stress Reduction in Medical Students: A Randomized Controlled Study. Education in Medicine Journal, 7(3), 8–20.

Keng, S.-L., Phang, C. K., & Oei, T. P.S. (2015). Effects of a Brief Mindfulness-Based Intervention Program on Psychological Symptoms and Well-Being Among Medical Students in Malaysia: A Controlled Study. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 8(4), 335–350.

Phang, C. K., & Oei, T. P. S. (2012). From Mindfulness to Meta-mindfulness: Further Integration of Meta-mindfulness Concept and Strategies into Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Mindfulness, 3(2), 104–116.

Phang, C. K., Keng, S.-L, & Chiang, K.C. (2014). Mindful-S.T.O.P.: Mindfulness Made Easy for Stress Reduction in Medical Students. Education in Medicine Journal, 6(2), 48–56.

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. Research poster presented at the 2nd International Conference of Applied Psychology (ICAP), Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Gnanavisuddhi, R. (2015). A study on a brief mindfulness-based intervention for stress reduction and wellness among school teachers. Counseling Master Thesis, Help University, Malaysia.

Woo, C.S. (2016). The Effects of Mindful Breathing for Reducing Emotional Distress and Enhancing Quality of Life Among Patients with Cancer. Clinical Psychology Master Thesis, National University of Malaysia.