Northwestern Medicine

Keep Stress from Managing You in the New Year

Northwestern Memorial Hospital December 19, 2011

Northwestern Medicine Integrative Medicine offers mindful meditation course

CHICAGO, IL – The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be an exciting, yet often hectic time for people. Stress associated with busier than usual schedules and competing engagements can easily mount, making it difficult for people to find time to unwind, relax and regroup. Northwestern Medicine Integrative Medicine experts warn that over time, stress has a significant impact on health and well-being, making it important to find ways to manage tension before it manages you.

“Stress can lead to sleep loss, chronic pain and feeling distracted,” said Maggie Crowley, PsyD, health psychologist at Northwestern Medicine Integrative Medicine. “We all need to find ways to decompress both body and mind to regain a sense of ease and well-being.”

Crowley will lead a course called Guided Mindful Meditation beginning January 11 designed to help people alleviate anxiety and stress and cultivate a sense of well-being. Through guided meditation, participants will learn the concepts of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, which includes elements of meditation and yoga. By becoming more aware of their stress, as well as the connection between the mind and body, participants can achieve balance in their lives.

Research has shown that meditation can have a favorable impact on physical symptoms of stress including headache, fatigue and high blood pressure.

“Our goal is to create a calm environment where people can experience the relaxing benefits of meditation,” said Crowley.

Each one hour class will include guided meditation, movement and discussion about what people are experiencing. The six-week course is open to adults of all ages who may be experiencing stress, chronic pain or illness, as well as those generally looking to improve their health. Participants will receive a meditation mat and cushion as part of their registration fee.

Lee Boyle, a library technical services manager who suffers from arthritis and insomnia, participated in the course’s fall session and credits the mindful meditation techniques she learned for relieving her symptoms and overall stress.

“Because of the class, I’ve begun to believe in the value of meditation. It inspired me to seek recordings for meditation that I’ve used to fight my insomnia,” said Boyle. “Now, when I’m stressing about something, I refocus my mind away from the problem or future worry to be mindful of my surroundings and I can feel the tension leave.”

Learn more about Northwestern Medicine Integrative Medicine.

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