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Mindfulness/Mental Well-Being

In the last few years, the Dobkins laboratory has been focused on novel mindfulness-based approaches for enhancing mental well-being. This new line of work is motivated by a desire to address the continuing elevation of stress and depression in society (especially in young people).  Some of these studies are also being conducted in Hong Kong in collaboration with Winnie Mak, Ph.D. at the Chinese University of Kong Hong, which allows for a cross-cultural comparison.

Using questionnaire data, heart rate responses and cortisol samples collected pre- vs. post-intervention, current projects include testing the effectiveness of:

  • Principles of Clarity.   This is an experiential (and playful) workshop created and led by Dr. Dobkins, which has been taught in the USA and Asia. The goal is to help people break free from the limiting concepts and thought patterns that lead to psychological suffering.
  • • IntenSati.   This is a novel workout method, created by Patricia Moreno in NYC, which combines exercise with the power of positive affirmations, shouted in a call-and-response format.
  • • Short-Term Meditation.  In these studies we are investigating the effects of having a master present/absent, as well as placebo effects of meditation.
  • • Deep Human Connection.  Using an intervention created by Dr. Dobkins which allows people to simply “be” together, we are investigating whether/how this intervention enhances empathic accuracy, we well as mental well-being.
  • • Hugging and Touch.  We are investigating the effects of hugging and touch on establishing intimacy and enhancing mental well-being.
  • • Journaling.  We are looking at how journaling about inspiration fictional and real people enhances well-being.
  • • Interoception (Body Awareness).   This refers to the ability to sense the physiological condition of the body, including: heart rate and breathing rate, posture, pain, and arousal. We all have an intuition about this sense through our use of phrases such as  “I have a gut feeling” or “My heart is breaking”.   We are interested in how body awareness affects well-being and feelings of connectedness.