The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Month: October 2019

Five Resources to Aid your Mindfulness Practice

Last week, we discussed how a regular mindfulness routine can lead to success in the classroom, the workplace, and beyond. While It can be intimidating to think about consistently finding a time (or place) to meditate, we put together a list of resources that can make fitting in a mindfulness practice a little less challenging. 

Five free or low-cost mindfulness resources

  1. Headspace. This app provides users with a library of mindfulness resources, including different guided meditation programs suited to a variety of needs, videos, articles and research, and animations. First-time users can access a free meditation basics course and a free 14-day trial. You can then choose from an annual subscription at $69.99/year (or $5.83/month) or monthly at $12.99/month.
  2. Calm. Similar to Headspace, the Calm app offers a variety of tools to sustain a regular meditation practice. Rather than offering multiple-day programs, Calm provides a new meditation technique each day. The app also includes music and visual nature scenes that users can queue up throughout the day, as well as a robust offering of guided meditations for specifically for sleep. First-time users to use the app’s unlimited services for seven days. After that, users can choose from the following subscriptions: $12.99/month, $59.99/year, and a one-time $299.99 lifetime rate.
  3. Stop, breathe, think. This guided meditation app emphasizes the development of a user’s emotional resilience, and offers different programs for adults, children and educators. The app includes more than 100 activities involving meditation, breathing, yoga and acupressure, and can be customized to fit users’ needs and interests. New users can access a free trial and then subscribe for as little as $4.91/month.
  4. YouTube. It goes without saying that YouTube can be an incredible resource for free mindfulness content. Those looking to complement their meditation with a regular yoga practice should consider the Yoga with Adriene channel, which offers more than 100 free yoga videos.
  5. Tara Brach. Brach’s website offers free guided meditations that range from 15-20 minutes. Beginners can download a free meditation toolkit that includes meditation FAQs, two brief audio meditations, a two-part talk on the benefits of meditation, and instructions/resources for commiting to a regular meditation program.

 

The benefits of meditation and mindfulness

Meditation — or mindfulness — is a practice centered around being fully present and paying attention to the current moment without judgement. While a regular meditation practice is known to alleviate stress, it can also lead to successes in the classroom, the workplace, and beyond. Here are four reasons why you might want to consider incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine:

  1. Boost your academic performance. Meditation can improve one’s ability to process and recall information; an essential skill to any student or professional. This increase in brain efficiency is due to growth of grey matter in the frontal cortex, which is associated with working memory and problem solving.
  2. Reduce stress and anxiety. Adult learners are skilled at balancing competing priorities, and while there’s a certain thrill in the simultanrous accomplishment of both professional and academic goals, that doesn’t mean that the additional projects and deadlines don’t create stress and anxiety. Although you may not realize it, stress can lead to physical symptoms such as elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, and even physical aches and pains. are all symptoms of this type of response. Meditation is an effective tool in combating these symptoms by encouraging your body to slow down. By taking the time to meditate, the body is able to recognize that it is no longer in “flight or fight” mode.
  3. Strengthen your emotional resilience. The occasional failure is a crucial part of professional development. Without failure, and the ability to control the negative emotions associated with failure, there is no room for growth and improvement. Frequent meditation is proven to strengthen the emotional resiliency necessary to process and overcome negative experiences.
  4. Improve your overall health and wellness. Meditation has even been linked to a stronger immune system. A recent study found that meditation can potentially impact inflammation, cell-mediated immunity and biological aging.

Starting a meditation practice may seem overwhelming, but thanks to technology, mindfulness resources are more available than ever before. Stay tuned for a roundup of our favorite easy-access meditation tools.

Student Spotlight: John Gillis

Brandeis University appoints data expert Mark Coleman as Strategic Analytics program chair

 

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies has appointed Mark Coleman, Director of Business Analytics at Carbonite, as its new chair of the Strategic Analytics program.

In his role at Carbonite, Mark leads a multi-disciplinary team of data scientists, analysts, and data engineers that provide data-driven insight, analytical reporting services, and predictive modeling to all core functions across the company.

As program chair, Mark is responsible for ensuring that all Strategic Analytics courses adhere to the university’s high quality standards and that the program’s goals and outcomes remain current and relevant. His deep experience and knowledge of analytics as well the latest industry trends will help translate new in-demand skills into curriculum development. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the Strategic Analytics Program at Brandeis,” said Mark. “Analytics and data science have emerged as transformative technologies, driving innovation and disruptions to virtually every industry across the globe. As Program Chair, my role is to both thoughtfully champion the importance of analytics and data-driven thinking, and to ensure our program gives our students the critical intellectual and technical foundations to succeed in their analytics careers.”

Mark’s robust experience in data science and analytics includes senior analytical management and data science positions at Warner Brothers, The Hartford and Liberty Mutual. He also founded and served as CEO of a successful analytics consulting and forecasting practice for the institutional investment community, and is a regular speaker at analytics industry forums.

Mark has an MA in Economics from Boston College, and BAs in Applied Mathematics and Economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

 

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