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Improving Mental Health Through Mindfulness Training

The Singapore Mindfulness Conference 2019 was held on 24 and 25 August 2019 at the National University of Singapore (NUS) University Cultural Centre Hall.

The conference was jointly organised by the Brahm Centre and Residential College Four of the NUS, in partnership with Duke-NUS Medical School, National Healthcare Group, Institute of Mental Health and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC). Mindfulness training involves focussing on emotions, thoughts and sensations in the present moment and has been shown to improve various aspects of a person’s life.

Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health, Dr. Amy Khor delivered the opening address where she stressed on the need for investment in mental health, promotion of mental well-being as a preventive strategy and the need for efforts by community partners in the promotion of mental health. Following this, various topics including effects of mindfulness training on the ageing of the brain, better sleep through mindful attitudes, confronting the stigma of mental illness, mindfulness intervention for depression, mindfulness in schools and mindful parenting were covered by overseas and local experts on the first day. Various mindfulness workshops were also held for the participants. On the second day of the conference, topics relating to improving cognition and slowing down ageing, improving personal and organisational performances through mindfulness and workshops were held.

During the conference, Duke-NUS Medical School together with the Brahm Centre released their findings that shorter mindfulness training programmes can help improve sleep quality. The team found that pre-sleep cognitive arousal decreases following a four-week introductory mindfulness course. In the study on 96 participants, they found that some of the benefits to sleep commonly seen over eight weeks of mindfulness practice can also be observed over a four-week intervention period. This study suggests that a short course of mindfulness training can improve sleep quality by reducing anxious thoughts at bedtime.

Brahm Centre offers mindfulness as a key component of its programs in Singapore. Through the cultivation of mindfulness, the centre aims to reduce stress and enhance well-being, as well as empower people to create their own happiness. This is much needed in the fact-paced lifestyle of Singaporeans, where multi-tasking is quite common and can lead to issues relating to mental health, depression, stress, eating disorders and sleep disorders. As mindfulness has been shown to help those with such issues, there was an overwhelming response for the two-day conference with the number of participants close to 1000.

The Singapore Mindfulness Conference 2020 will be held on 22–23 August 2020. [APBN]