Public Stress Management Course
What Do Participants Think?
Susan: The Penn Program on Mindfulness changed my life. This is not an over statement it is the truth. Every morning I start my day hearing Dr. Michael Baime talk to me via CD. I relax. My body softens. My mind clears. My creativity can focus and soar at the same time.
I accomplish much more because time slows down. I can turn off head chatter by simply taking a breath. That simple, delicate act of enjoying a breath is the greatest gift I can give to myself and the people I service.
My work is about stress reduction and ergonomics which translates into presentation skills and natural beauty. Most of my clients don't meditate. However they all learn how to enjoy their breath, creativity, ability and self confidence. Mediation is magic.
Robin: I, like so many, go through the day without taking time for myself. The Penn Mindfulness Program has shown me the value of creating oppportunities during the day for concentrated breathing and quiet time.
Steve M: I was probably not the typical participant in the mindfulness program, but I found it very worthwhile in the doing, and I'm pleased to have added the wonderful life skill of meditation as I journey along life's way.
What I have taken from the program is the ability in certain stressful situations to use the program's techniques to help me effectively gather and calm unfocused and sometimes fearful thoughts in a few, short minutes of sitting quietly with my eyes closed and concentrating on my breathing. The benefits from doing that have been substantial, and quite long lasting.
It is clear to me that there is much value in engaging in regular (i. e., daily), half-hour (or more) periods of stillness, breathing and meditation. It is also true, however, that there is much value in being able to apply that approach sporadically and for much shorter periods of time. I greatly appreciate the stress management program's leading me to that understanding.
Steve A: Since taking the Penn Program for Mindfulness course, I experience my life at a somewhat slower pace. I have less internal dialogue. My troubles are not gone, but they are less pressing and intrusive.
When stress arises, I am less likely to “catastrophize.” Stress and worry get in line with all the other emotions and experiences of life rather than crowding their way to the front.
Stress, like everything else, is impermanent. It rises up, and then falls away. After observing this over and over, its grip is lessened and its momentum is diminished.
Kathy: The Penn Program for Mindfulness has provided me with a valuable tool for living life fully - mindful meditation. My daily meditation practice has allowed me to truly enjoy this moment and has greatly lessened feelings of anxiety and anger.
I welcome the day with curiosity for the unknown, rather than fearing it. My interactions with people at work and my relationships with friends and family are more thoughtful because my mind has slowed to enable me to respond rather than react.
Mary: From the outside, my personal and professional life looks pretty much the same. But, I am approaching both from a new vantage point which makes all the difference. Friends and colleagues have noticed a "change" in me as well. For example, my boss asked how I was using what I learned from the Penn Program for Mindfulness in my work, and another administrator asked for information about the program for staff and clients.
While not dismissing or diminishing the losses incurred by health challenges I've experienced the past two years, one of my doctors recently told me they are a gift because all the new skills and resources I have developed will benefit me for decades to come. I'm not the only one amazed at my recovery -- all my children, friends, co-workers, fitness trainer and even my physical therapist, who said I look awesome.
In general I would say I have a new-found sense of well-being and openness to all of life's experiences. I have become more consciously aware, accepting and attuned to myself, others and my environment which has expanded both my inner and outer worlds.
Marlene: The Penn Program for Mindfulness has changed my life in so many ways. The most important way was learning to deal with the crushing and destructive stress that comes from a very demanding job and the pressures of modern living. I learned to relax and to let go of the constant demands made on me and “to roll with the punches.” The ability to take 5 minutes during the course of a day, close my eyes and breathe deeply, would dissipate the anger and tenseness in my body. The comment I would hear most from those around me was that I was so calm. The calmness enables me to deal with confrontational situations rationally.
I have regained my creativity. I mourned the loss of this creative thinking and doing because of the stress and demands on me. I gradually noticed that writer's block had disappeared, the way I approached problems had changed, and I was able to focus in on problems without panicking. I have become much more productive because I can approach each situation calmly without panic. I've also rediscovered the creativity in my personal life and have engaged in new hobbies; I found that I was too scattered and stressed to focus in on details and complicated projects before.
The best part has been the ability to “stop and smell the roses.” Being in the present has enabled me to notice details and to take joy in the small things in life. To take a walk and notice how beautiful the trees are at this time of the year. To enjoy puttering in my garden and literally smelling the roses. To laugh at my dog chasing squirrels. I've regained all of the little things that make life joyful, that we lose in the rushing around and not being in the present.
Jean: Mindfulness meditation has given me the tools to recognize when I am starting to fall into the pattern of over-reaction.
I am able to look at what is causing my stress and pause and step back from it.