With Thanksgiving on the horizon and the end-of-year holiday season rapidly approaching, now is an incredibly stressful time of year for many people. Preparing meals for family celebrations, attending a seemingly endless series of parties, fighting crowds to shop for gifts for loved ones—the chaos of the season piles on top of our everyday stressors and difficulties, and the combination can feel overwhelming.
Which is why, at this time of year, it’s more important than ever to take time for oneself. One increasingly popular way to reduce stress is known as mindfulness, sometimes called mindful meditation, and it involves keeping one’s consciousness in the present moment and being aware of current feelings such as anxiety and stress. Mindfulness is the brainchild of Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School who holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from MIT and who has been researching and writing for decades on the mind/body connection in healing.
In addition to reducing stress, Kabat-Zinn’s research has shown mindfulness can reduce the symptoms of psoriasis and chronic pain, and improve the quality of life of people with persistent asthma. According to the UMass Center for Mindfulness, “The Stress Reduction Clinic [of which Kabat-Zinn is the founding director] has served as the model for mindfulness-based clinical intervention programs at over 200 medical centers and clinics nation-wide and abroad.” (Right here in Philly, Penn Medicine offers one such program.)
If you’re looking for ways to manage stress, especially at this hectic time of year, register for the upcoming web seminar on mindfulness offered by Arleen Fitzgerald, LICSW, at source4women.com, and learn ways to be more productive and get more out of life without letting stress hold you back.