The calendar year is quickly coming to an end. Thanksgiving and Winter breaks are just around the corner; where did the time go? And what happened to all of the promises you had made to yourself, in earnest, about the strategies you would use to create greater balance between work and home? Or reducing the stress your family has been feeling around your children’s schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and their study and organization skills? And what about those concerns you’ve been having about school or work performance, keeping up an exercise program, and planning and eating nutritious meals and snacks rather than junk food or fast food? Did you follow through? If not, maybe you need to slow down and figure out what happened. Maybe it’s time to try a little mindfulness.
Doctors, therapists, psychologists, and teachers are just a few of the professionals who have been using mindfulness meditation, personally and with their clients, for over 30 years. A secular meditation practice, mindfulness is a special way of paying attention to thoughts and feelings, without making judgments, and always staying in the present time rather than thinking about what took place in the past or thinking about what might happen in the future.
Making mindfulness a consistent practice has proven to reduce stress and anxiety, decrease negative types of thinking, and lessen emotional reactivity. Mindfulness has also resulted in improvements for focus and attention, relationship satisfaction, and empathy for self and others.
When Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn at UMass Pain Clinic first turned the practice into a manual, he wanted professionals across the world to be able to repeat the series of lessons he created and be able to achieve the same levels of success for patients that he had witnessed among those in his own classes. There were so many areas where this program could be beneficial:
- Schools: test taking, athletics, presentations, arts and music, performances, bullying, classroom behavior, peer relationships, high stakes testing, and academic achievement
- Work: interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, working well with colleagues, displaying less emotional reactivity, better stress management, fewer absences, improved overall wellbeing
- Daily life: improved management of chronic pain, improved alignment of personal goals with how one lives his life; improved sense of overall life satisfaction
No problems magically disappeared, but how participants reacted to daily challenges changed dramatically.
Is this something that would prove to be beneficial for you? Start the year off right. Sign up for a single class or a multi-sessioned program that will change your life for the better. Classes offered through the Allen Parks and Recreation Center start in January and February in Brain Balm: Mindfulness Meditation for Adults, and Texas teachers even earn CPE hours when they attend. (Also available in other locations.) Classes in Study and Organization Skills, as well as creating a balanced lifestyle, have the potential to transform afternoons at your home from a war zone to calm and focused.
Take a chance; take a class and experience the benefits that are waiting for you right around the corner.
Hope to see you in class beginning in January.