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A new, 8–week Mindfulness Group for Youth and Adults who Experience Anxiety, Depression and Pain Management, will be starting in King, led by Mary Ventrella.
Here are her sentiments on why these groups are needed:
“One day, 19-year-old Stacy could not get out of bed because she was supposed to present an assignment to her group. She did not show up at school. One day led to three weeks. She had fallen so far behind she actually thought about quitting school altogether. She had decided she was too stupid. She did not share her problem with anyone: who would ever understand her anyway? Bed was the safest place to be…
Mindfulness has become essential to my practice of counselling people with diverse life challenges, from nervous college students to people battling cancer. Anxiety has become a significant obstacle to living life to its full potential.
Stacey's story has a happy ending. She was able to share her fears and get help. With a school meeting and some accommodation, she was able to attend school and complete her courses. Her last report card boasted a 76 per cent average. Working together on changing her thoughts, and practicing mindfulness meditation allowed her to think differently without fear of judgement.
Angelina was diagnosed with cancer. She had lost hope and spent most of her days focusing on death and on how her children would suffer without her. She joined a mindfulness group where she began to see herself as more than just a cancer sufferer. She found it easier to live in the moment and focus on her healing. Today, she is cancer free and lives a bigger life than ever before.
Eli enrolled in Child and Youth Care studies, even though he had been told that he would never complete higher level education. He had his anxiety and learning challenges. Eli discovered his strengths in a Mindfulness Drumming Circle in a creative activity and fun space that provided the compassion and empathy he needed. He was able to share his story with supportive classmates in a classroom where the day always began with a few minutes of meditation, which has now become a regular practice for Eli. He passed his courses, but more importantly, he discovered a more comprehensive and capable self.
Mindfulness is a pathway to self-awareness and personal growth. Mindfulness casts a brighter light on life and the world and provides a clearer view. When we see, we begin to understand the nature of our anxiety and identify the symptoms of depression. When we suspend judgement of ourselves and begin to react with constructive objectivity, we can manage anxiety, depression and pain.
Studies have shown that women with early stage breast cancer receiving eight weeks of MBSR? Spell it out in lay words along with radiation therapy improved in sixteen areas of psychosocial health, including coping, meaningfulness, emotional control, reduced helplessness, depression, anxiety, and more positive affects.
Mindfulness practices can be traced back to at least early fifth-century B.C. The Buddha was an iconic figure in the exploration of intentions and actions as a way to understanding the world. By slowing down and organizing the mind, direct visualization and clarity become possible. Mindfulness is paying attention for real, with less interference from emotions, judgment and impatience. It is well known that such eastern practices have shown us how holistic healing is connected to our thoughts, emotions, body and spirit. Mindfulness is supported by many Western practitioners today as a way of relieving stress and chronic pain, improving immune systems and lowering blood pressure. Mindfulness has shown to make significant physical changes to our brains. Harvard professor Ellen Langer outlined that mindfulness led to greater understanding of one's environment, more openness to new information, and new ways of seeing familiar things, and heightened awareness of problem-solving.
When I chose Child and Youth Care as my avocation and began working with families, I discovered in people the need to find a way to look inward without fear and judgement. My research focused on mindfulness and creativity among leaders in organizations, and drew on the experiences of practitioners in my field as well as my own. Children and youth need to feel prepared to build their futures, and adults are the cornerstone of families and need support with their challenges in order to nurture their children. The environments of home, school and workplace need to be safe places to interact with others, to explore and learn about who we are so that we can live an authentic life in relation to others. Mindfulness is a retreat wherein quiet reflection gives us pause and makes us stronger to face the moment.”
Starting in September Mary Ventrella, PhD, will be giving an 8-week mindfulness course for groups at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 13190 Keele Street in King City. To receive more information, or to register, visit maryventrellacounselling.ca, or call 416-896-5525. Find Mary on Twitter @mary_ventrella
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