September marks one-year anniversary of Mindful Relaxation Minutes

“The Department of Psychiatry is pleased to join efforts by the College of Medicine and the University of Florida to enhance wellness, increase resilience and strengthen compassion through mindfulness practices. Our College motto is to “Learn, Care and Lead” and mindful relaxation skills strengthen everyone’ s readiness to contribute to these goals. By learning mindful relaxation skills to care for ourselves we preserve our ability to help others, sustain the joy that comes from caring, and lead by example.”

-Professor and Chair of Psychiatry, Regina Bussing, MD, MSHS, DFAPA, DFAACAP

Mindful Relaxation MinutesThis month marks the one-year anniversary of the Department of Psychiatry’s Mindful Relaxation Minutes program. The 30-minute weekly mindfulness sessions were started as a way to offer faculty, staff, and residents a time to experience various mindfulness practices and educate them on their benefits. Over the course of the year department members learned how to practice various proven stress reduction methods, including Mindfulness, Yoga Nidra, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Autogenic Training and Breath Work. Sessions were led by experienced teachers and online didactic information was made available on the department’s intranet page. Each mindfulness session was also archived for access at a later time by participants unable to attend the sessions in real time, or by those who wanted to extend the practice beyond our weekly program time.

The program seeks to encourage mindfulness practices among department members in hopes of bringing these practices to their daily lives. Regular personal mindfulness practice can bring direct health benefits, including healthier cardiovascular risk profiles, and possibly even improved immune responses. Personal practice can also increase physicians’ capability to incorporate mindfulness into patients’ treatment plans.

Over the course of the past year we have had six instructors each bringing a different practice with their own unique meditation/mindfulness style. Three of the six instructors are faculty or staff members of the department of psychiatry. The others are certified meditation instructors from various locations across the country.

Mindfulness Relaxation Minutes are held Thursdays from 12:15 – 12:45 pm. Sessions are held or broadcast to conference rooms in various locations including the McKnight Brain Institute, the UF Health Springhill Medical Office Building, the UF Health Child Psychiatry Clinic, the UF Department of Psychiatry Business office at the 1329 building, and the UF Health Dermatology Clinic. Participants can also use a toll-free conference call number to dial into the session from anywhere. For more information on the program or how to participate please contact Melinda Fawcett at

“I was honored to be the inaugural teacher of Mindfulness Relaxation Minutes in 2015, and try to participate in the sessions as often as possible.  As a psychologist and mindfulness teacher and practitioner, I know how powerful and healing learning to pause and reset our body and mind throughout the day can be.  Whether you’ve experienced trauma or the more ordinary stressors of life, practicing relaxing the body and calming the mind can improve overall emotional and physical well-being.  As healthcare professionals, it is important to know what this feels like, and to model good self-care for our colleagues and patients.”

 – Carol Lewis, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Special Thanks to our Mindful Relaxation Minutes Instructors:

  • Genevieve Camp, MA, ATR-BC, LMHC, RYT –  Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida
  • Beatriz Elena de Bruna – Serenity Mindfulness Center
  • Carol Lewis, PhD, MPH –  Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida
  • Trish Magyari, MS, CGC, MS, LCPC, NCC, RYT-200 – Mindfulness Based Counseling, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Lisa Merlo, PhD, MPE – Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida
  • Barbara Yezierzki, BS, LPN – Meditation Instructor