Are life’s demands pushing you beyond your limits? Are things moving so quickly that you feel you’ve lost the capacity to enjoy your life? If this sounds like you, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) has a resource available that can help.
Use Mindfulness to Address the Stresses of Your Life
Learn some invaluable techniques to help you cope with the difficult moments you face every day
For the last 22 years, LVHN Center for Mindfulness has been helping people learn different values and skills that permit them to let go of their worries and bring their full attention to the present. The goal is to experience your life with more awareness and achieve more peace and relaxation.
“It’s a matter of dealing with the stress and anxiety of life by getting to know yourself better,” says mindfulness instructor Lisa Wolk. “Through the years I’ve seen a lot of people who are suffering, looking for something that can help them cope with the stresses of life. We’re offering them an opportunity to do that.”
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
The cornerstone of LVHN’s approach to mindfulness is an intensive eight-week group program that is designed around the teachings of Jon Kabat-Zinn, who created this method of stress reduction 40 years ago at University of Massachusetts. Each 2½-hour class includes learning mindfulness meditation as well as a discussion on recognizing the relationship stress plays in terms of illness and behavior, recognizing one’s own stressors and coping mechanisms/reactions, and learning more skillful and creative ways to respond to stress in their lives. This is approached with compassion for oneself throughout the process. Two trained teachers conduct each class, which can be experienced in person or online. The program is available to students ages 18 and over.
“The collective support involved with our program is invaluable,” Wolk says. “We have students who took the class 20 years ago who return to join with community in practice. This is a graduate benefit which is offered freely twice per month.”
The program begins with an orientation session where you can learn more about mindfulness. Then an instructor goes one-on-one with you in assessing where you are in your life and if this is a good fit at this time.
Some students spoke about how the program has helped them.
“It truly has changed my life in such a positive way, and it has become a part of my day just like brushing my teeth," says Debbie Stupak of Macungie, Pa.
“When I started the class, I honestly didn’t think I would be able to finish it,” says Shannon Bradley of Schuylkill Haven, Pa. “I’m glad I did. I have noticed a difference in my life and how I react to things. It has helped with what I had started on my own last year.”
Growing Resilience With Mindfulness
This program, developed by LVHN Center for Mindfulness co-founder Susan Wiley, MD, in 2019, is a less intensive version of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for students who may be more limited on time and availability. This version is offered across six weeks in 90-minute sessions.
“Participants practice a variety of formal mindfulness and self-compassion exercises,” Wolk says. “They will develop practical skills to be used at home, in the workplace, wherever they happen to be.” A detailed manual is included for continued practice.
Growing Resilience With Mindfulness is also available in person or online.
Wolk hopes area residents realize how valuable this resource can be.
“This center is really a treasure that many people don’t know about,” she says. “We’re talking about something that’s usually found at the largest medical centers and major college and school systems. We’re lucky to have it here.”