Mindfullness and Stress Reduction
MIND-BODY APPROACHES TO STRESS MANAGEMENT
The pressures of school, relationships, work and other obligations can be overwhelming. We may begin to feel that we are constantly juggling and on edge, that time is speeding up and slipping away from us, that there is simply too much to do.
Notice how your body is feeling right now, as you are reading these words—are you picking up on any changes, such as a heart rate and breathing quickening, muscles tensing?
Mind-body approaches to stress reduction are based on the understanding that the mind, body, and emotions are deeply connected and, together, impact our well-being on personal, physical, social, and academic levels.
Scientific research has demonstrated benefits of mind-body approaches and meditation practices in stress reduction. Mind-body interventions can have a profoundly healing effect and help improve your mood, focus, concentration, memory, and productivity.
But don’t take our word for it—find out firsthand! Follow the simple meditation instructions offered at the bottom of this page. You may choose to watch the videos linked under Resources for inspiration before you practice. Then check in with your body again—how does it feel?
At the Lehman College Counseling Center, we offer various mind-body approaches to stress reduction, including individual sessions and ongoing series of workshops.
Please join us in the exploration of our inner landscape and discovering a place of peace, wholeness, and contentment within.
All meditations and mindfulness practices are taught in a secular way without any religious affiliation. No prior experience or special attire is needed. Just show up!
MIND-BODY WORKSHOPS FOR STRESS REDUCTION
(not offered Fall 2014)
Relax and Renew (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy)
When we experience stress, discomfort, or pain—physical or emotional—our ways of thinking about it often make the situation worse: “This is just my luck!” “I’ll never succeed.” “I can’t believe he would do this to me!” Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) combines the benefits of mindfulness practice with the power of cognitive therapy to identify and break the cycles of unhelpful ways or thinking. Mindfulness means being present with what is actually happening in the moment, while letting go of our biased interpretations or judgments. The results? A new outlook and experience of life! MBCT has been clinically shown to help reduce stress and cope with strong emotions, anxiety, and depression. Among its many benefits are an improved ability to relax, greater energy and enthusiasm for life, and increased self-esteem. You can attend all sessions of Relax and Renew or drop in on one for a taste of mindfulness practices.
Yoga is a commonly known generic term for the physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in Ancient India with a view to attain a state of permanent peace.
ABOUT THE STRESS REDUCTION SERIES
In the stress reduction series, meditation and yoga are taught as secular practices—in the same way as they are offered in medical, educational, and mental health settings across the US. No prior experience or special attire is necessary. Bring your curiosity and an open mind!
ABOUT THE PRESENTER
Valerie Baker, Ph.D., LMHC teaches the stress reduction series to help students tap into the power of their true self that is always peaceful, whole, and well. She is a certified yoga instructor and mental health counselor. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (718) 860-8761if you have any questions about the series.
Below we have included a few resources for those who are interested in exploring the path to wellness through mind-body-spirit integration practices, such as meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and others. There is an abundance of diverse resources online that you can tap into on your own by using these key words in searchable Internet databases, such as Google or Youtube.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is Professor of Medicine Emeritus and founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn pioneered integration of yoga and meditation with Western medical science by developing the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. MBSR has been clinically shown to help people with chronic pain, stress, depression, anxiety, and an array of physical and emotional difficulties. You can now participate in this program at the Counseling Center!
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is designed to help people who have a tendency toward depression. Depression is characterized by low mood and energy levels and a lack of enthusiasm for and pleasure in life activities. MBCT is clinically shown to help remediate and prevent a return of depression. It combines the power of cognitive therapy with that of meditative practices. Hear one of the method’s developers, Zindel Segal, speak about it.
Recognized as the “First Lady of Yoga”, Lilias Folan offers a quick and easy demonstration of yoga-based stretches you can do to take a break from hours of studying or working at your desk.
Elizabeth Lesser is a co-founder of the Omega Institute of Holistic Studies. She wrote a book “Broken Open” – a collection of stories of people’s transformation through the challenges in their lives. In this video, Lesser speaks about how difficulties we face may present opportunities to get in touch with our true self.
Mindful Breathing Meditation*
Your breathing is the stable, solid ground in which you can take refuge. Regardless of your internal “weather” - your thoughts, emotions, and perceptions - your breathing is always with you like a faithful friend. Whenever you feel scattered or worried, overworked or overwhelmed, anxious or agitated, you can return to your breathing to collect and anchor your mind.
Mindful breathing meditation is easy: simply tune in and feel the flow of air coming in and out through your nose. Feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful your breathing is. You do not need to control your breath; you can simply feel the breath as it actually is. The breath may be long or short, deep or shallow. With your awareness, your breath will naturally become slower and deeper.
You can set aside a special time to practice mindful breathing or you could do it any time – as you are walking down the street, doing your schoolwork, riding the train, reading this brochure. At any moment, you can tune into your breath and return to the peaceful, calming feeling of breathing.
Mindful breathing is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into each moment of your daily life.
* These meditation instructions have been borrowed and adapted from the teachings and writings of Thich Nhat Hanh
Last modified: Aug 29, 2014