According to MacDonald's research, "mindfulness-based programs represent one compelling strategy for reducing stress and risk for mental health problems in college students." With this award, MacDonald, who is also a licensed clinical psychologist, seeks to expand the work of the existing Program for Mindfulness and Contemplative Learning at Emmanuel College, which began in 2012, by unifying mindfulness meditation preventative interventions and mindfulness health promotion efforts for Emmanuel students.
Since 2012, the Program has provided mindfulness educational programming within the psychology department (particularly her counseling & health concentration courses), as well as numerous mindfulness-specific trainings to student groups on campus. MacDonald has worked with her undergraduate research assistants to develop an active research program aiming to better understand the mechanisms underlying the relationships between mindfulness, depression, anxiety, psychological well-being, and empathy in college students.
This award will enable the Program to build on MacDonald's existing research, and initiate the development and implementation of a mindfulness mediation group, a speaker series, a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) group program, and the creation of a Mindfulness Library, all open to the Emmanuel community. Together, these programs strive to foster mindfulness, psychological health, compassion, self-awareness, and emotion regulation throughout the College.