Mindfulness-based stress reduction classes available this summer

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This summer Washington State University employees and faculty can take part in a program that has been shown in studies to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction, or MBSR, is structured mindfulness training offered in a group setting. The 10 weekly sessions will be led by Robin Bond, assistant dean of the Honors College, and Trymaine Gaither, special assistant to the provost for inclusive excellence. Both are certified MBSR teachers.

The classes are offered virtually and are open to employees and faculty on all campuses, free of charge. Register to attend via Zoom through Percipio.

MBSR “equips individuals with strategies to better handle anxiety,” Gaither said. “Participants can respond better to life’s challenges and to triggering situations.”  

Added Bond, “it’s a fairly intensive program for learning to incorporate mindfulness into everyday life.”

Sessions take place from June 3 through July 29, mostly from 2:30–5 p.m. The exceptions are a slightly shorter first session and a nearly all-day session about halfway through the series.

That’s a hefty time commitment, but employees can use work hours to participate, noted Ann Monroe, WSU director of benefit services and coordinator of the WellCoug program. Employees are asked to get approval from their supervisors in advance.

“Seeing the high level of support we got for this from university administration speaks to their commitment; they’re saying, ‘This is important to us,’” Monroe said.

Enrollment will be capped at 25 people to ensure a high-quality experience for all participants.

Mindfulness helps bring perspective, both Gaither and Bond say.

“Our minds tend to wander, we spend a lot of time wrapped up in thoughts of the future or past, and the majority of those thoughts can be negative,” Bond said. “Mindfulness can help us step back from our thoughts and see them as something we experience and not something that defines who we are.”

Said Gaither, “You’re less reactive and more intentional in your responses. And that’s key to both professional and personal development.”

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