Essentia Health is offering a course beginning in the New Year that can help people ease stress, pain and illness. The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course begins soon and can make a difference in the lives of those who complete it.
“I decided to enroll to learn methods and techniques to lessen daily stress,” says Dr. Kathleen Braddy, a cardiologist who works with heart patients at Essentia’s Heart & Vascular Center in Duluth. “We all have activities and interactions each day which can be stressful, and we know that stress can have an adverse effect on our physical and emotional health, including heart disease, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, weight loss and many other medical conditions.”
One of the biggest takeaways from the class she learned was to control her reaction, and therefore, control the power and energy required by stressful events.
“I learned to slow down and take a deep breath before reacting or responding to a stressful activity or interaction,” Dr. Braddy adds. “I learned the importance of being fully present in the moment rather than reflecting on the past or thinking of the future. I also learned that meditation, quiet self-reflection, helps energize me.”
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the 1970’s by Professor Jon Kabat-Zinn. It uses a combination of mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and yoga to help people become more mindful. Krysta Kaas teaches the 8-week course. She says mindful practice allows people to take time to connect to their deeper self and focus on what’s important.
“One of my greatest gifts from taking and teaching MBSR is being able to choose a more wise intentioned response than going to a place of automatic reactivity,” Kaas says. “I am not as pre-occupied with future worries and I am better able to stay grounded in the moment.”
The course costs $325 and requires a weekly three-hour time commitment for six weeks, plus a silent retreat. It’s held at the Amberwing facility, located at 615 Pecan Avenue in Duluth. Formal techniques in meditation, body scanning and yoga help students become aware of what is taking place in their lives, moment by moment.
“It is such a joy to witness class participants connect more deeply with themselves and be able to find that place of stillness within them,” Kaas adds.
“If you are considering joining to help yourself and improve your stress, and therefore, your health, do it,” says Dr. Braddy. “With so many methods and techniques taught, you will learn several that work for you and that you will use in your life every day and you will feel better and be better.”
Anyone interested in taking the course must attend a mandatory orientation on January 11. For more information, check out the course link at www.essentiahealth.org/main/classes/ Any questions can also be directed to MBSR@essentiahealth.org which is also the email to register for the orientation on January 11.