“Stress Less with Mindfulness”

A session at The Priester National Extension Health Conference

Wednesday 11th April, 2012

1:15pm to 3:45pm (EST)

Jane Riffe, Ed.D., LICSW
West Virginia University

Becky M. Smith, MBA
West Virginia University

Andrea Bennett, MA
Families & Health Extension Agent
West Virginia University


Stress-related illnesses have a high financial and emotional cost to individuals, families, taxpayers, and employers. Among stress management approaches, mindfulness-based stress reduction has shown promise in positively impacting physiological as well as emotional correlates of stress. “Mindfulness” has been described as paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, and with a non-judgmental attitude (Kabat-Zinn, 1994). Mindfulness involves systematic training in gently focused awareness. The use of these simple self-regulation practices has been found to lower one’s reactivity to stress triggers.

Stress Less with Mindfulness is a five-part curriculum built on methodology developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and taught to thousands of people since 1979. (www.umassmed.edu/content.aspx?id...) The National Institutes of Health currently show 211 studies investigating how mindfulness training can help people with chronic pain, hypertension, menopausal symptoms, insomnia, depression and anxiety, and other physical and psychological difficulties (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/)

This train-the-trainer workshop will demonstrate the curriculum and provide a base for teaching mindfulness-based stress management skills to others. The workshop will interweave didactic information and experiential activities to teach a range of strategies to increase awareness and self-calming. Topics and skills covered include paying mindful attention to the breath, walking, eating, everyday routines, and humorous everyday experiences.

Workshop participants will:

•Increase knowledge of research-based mindfulness stress coping strategies.
•Experience six core mindfulness stress coping skills.
•Increase skills and confidence in teaching these strategies to others.

Faculty will present results of participant surveys showing knowledge gained and intention to change behavior.

Participants will receive curriculum materials and access to web-based Power Point presentations, participant handouts, and an evaluation form, allowing easy replication with adult and older adolescent audiences.

Plans are being developed for this Extension-developed curriculum will be offered as a worksite wellness program throughout West Virginia University.

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Time 1:15pm3:45pm EST

Date Wed 11th April 2012

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