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The Gift of Being In the Present Moment; Mindfulness Practice for Stress Reduction

Wherever You Go, There You Are, by John Kabat-Zinn
Image by elycefeliz via Flickr

What is all the buzz about MINDFULNESS these days? One hears about it as a relief from a wide gamut of life’s challenges; the stress of everyday living, psychological issues and physical ailments. Current scientific research supports these claims.

Mindfulness is a way of experiencing your world, in the present moment with non-judgmental awareness. It utilizes a series of practices that are centuries old. The core features of mindfulness practice are breath meditation, gentle movement, and bringing mindfulness into everyday living. We learn to both participate fully and be a wise witness to our experience.

Have you ever noticed when you are doing something repetitive such as driving your car, or washing the dishes that your mind has drifted away and may be planning a trip, worrying about something, or aimlessly thinking of almost anything else but what you’re doing. In any case, you’re not focused on the here and now of your current experience. You’re in automatic-pilot mode. When you are on auto-pilot you tend to take in information from the outside world, process it through a largely unconscious filter about what it means, make assumptions and respond accordingly.

Mindfulness is the opposite of automatic pilot mode. It is about directly experiencing your life in the ‘here and now.’

The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program, (MBSR) as taught in Sandpoint at Temanos Counseling Center and Kaniksu Health Services, is based on Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD’s, MBSR program at the UMass Medical Center. It teaches a core set of skills that enhance one’s capacity to be in the moment, make positive choices, deepen the mind-body connection and find joy in everyday life. You become less imprisoned by the past, your habits, expectations or assumptions and more able to respond to life with compassion and wisdom.

Mindfulness is a skill that takes time to develop. It requires a certain level of effort, time, patience and ongoing practice. However, most participants in the 8 week MBSR course experience new levels of peace and a lessening of the symptoms that prompted them to participate in the first place. For some the experience is nothing short of a profound transformation.

New classes will begin in Jan. 2010. For more information please call Ginna Maus, LCSW at Temanos Counseling Center at 263-8948 or Janet Sturdevant, R.N. at Kaniksu Health Services at 255-3455.

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