Mindfulness Meditation

Guided Mindfulness Meditation Sitting Group in Essex Village every Wednesday, mornings from 10am-11am and also evenings 6:45pm-7:45pm at 8 Novelty Lane. Space is limited. Contact us to reserve your spot!  Beginner’s Welcome! A $10 donation is appreciated.

Is your mind often filled with worries about the future or regrets about the past? Do you feel like you can’t live in the present? Would you like to deepen your ability to consciously participate in your own life? Are you willing to actively engage in your own health and wellbeing?

Mindfulness is a practice that comes from a variety of contemplative traditions throughout history. It is a way of paying attention to our thoughts, feelings, body sensations and environment from moment to moment with curious, kind and non-judgmental attention. This way of being allows the body’s natural healing mechanisms to function fully, establishing better health, well-being, balance and calmness. Mindfulness is a skill and can be learned systematically, and people of any age, profession or background can incorporate it into their daily life.

It can be a challenge to notice what is going on in our minds because it brings us into direct contact with our anxieties, judgments and vulnerabilities. With mindfulness practice, we discover that the predominantly automatic nature of our thinking often leads us to worry about the future or relive the past. As we develop mindful awareness and adopt a compassionate present-moment way of observing the contents of our mind, we come to see which beliefs promote skillful interactions and which cause stressful ones. As our minds become increasingly grounded in mindfulness, we become better equipped to respond rather than react to life’s challenges when they arise.

The BENEFITS of Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation

Thanks to research and exposure from the media, mindfulness is no longer hiding in ancient spiritual texts. Today, it is practiced by millions of people all over the world. It is taught in schools, workplaces and hospitals.

In recent years, more than 11,000 scientific studies on mindfulness and mindfulness meditation have been published, all of which back up growing evidence of the positive physiological and psychological effects on those who practice them. Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School, Yale Medical School, UCLA Medical School, Exeter University, and Oxford and Cambridge universities are just a few of the prominent research institutions that have undertaken the research.

The benefits include:

  • Increased resilience to life’s up and downs
  • Increased energy and reduced feelings of fatigue
  • Increased focus, clarity of mind and more creative productivity
  • Improved performance at work and home and during sports and leisure time
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced cholesterol
  • Relief of headaches and migraines
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Reduced use of alcohol, cigarettes and drugs
  • Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Easing of muscular tension
  • Better pain control
  • Balanced digestion
  • Relief of symptoms of asthma
  • Alleviation of Pre-Menstrual Symptoms

You don’t need to have a medical or psychological issue or even be stressed in order to benefit from mindfulness practice. In fact, mindfulness meditation can be particularly useful to learn when you aren’t stressed as you’ll be developing skills that can then be used more easily when things get tough.

The Essex Wellness Center provides the following offerings for individuals and groups. Discover for yourself the incredible benefits of living mindfully.

Mindful Awareness Group Course

This course is designed for participants to understand basic principles of mindfulness, learn a variety of mindfulness practices, develop a personal mindfulness meditation practice, and to apply mindfulness principles in their daily life on an ongoing basis. Once learned, mindfulness is something you can access easily for the rest of your life, at any time you choose. Each class is 90 minutes and is a combination of practice, and group feedback and discussion.

Groups sessions run between 4 and 6 weeks. $30 per group.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Group for Health and Wellbeing

 MBCT brings together the latest understandings of modern science and a straightforward form of mindfulness meditation to create a proven program that increases physical and psychological health. In fact, scientific studies have shown that regular mindfulness practice results in reduced anxiety and depression, reduced tension and fatigue, greater self-awareness, increased ability to manage stress and improved sleep.

Specifically, the MBCT program integrates the evidence-based techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with elements of insight meditation practice, relaxation techniques, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. It also cultivates attitudes of acceptance, patience, self-compassion, open-mindedness and gentle persistence. This synthesis, which teaches a different way of knowing the mind and body, helps participants make a powerful shift in how they deal with stressful thoughts and feelings. As participants learn the skills to avoid the gravitational pull of unwanted thoughts, feelings and behaviors, a growing sense of genuine happiness and contentment can flourish.

The MBCT program consists of eight weekly two-hour classes and daily home practice. It is important that participants make a commitment to attend each session and find time for home practice. The next MBCT Group begins on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017 from 6:3 to 8:30 p.m. It will be held at the Essex Wellness Fitness on the Water Shops at Water’s Edge, 1587 Boston Post Road, B-1, Westbrook, CT. An initial interview is required of all potential participants to ensure a good fit with the program, to provide additional information, and to answer any questions.

The total cost of the MBCT Group Program is $500, including written materials, home practice CDs/MP3s and a screening interview. Some insurance companies may reimburse for part of the cost of this therapeutic group program. Interested persons should contact Elizabeth Hale, LCSW, CPC, at 860-767-1517, ext. 8, or the Essex Wellness Center at 860-767-7770.

Mindfulness-Based Life Coaching sessions are now available.

 Mindfulness-Based Life Coaching helps you manage stress and create the life you want now. Mindfulness-Based Life Coaching is unique because while it is goal focused, it also teaches you to accept and embody the present moment intentionally.

The structure of individualized sessions varies to best meet your needs and to help you reach your goals. Individualized programs may involve meditation training, personal exploration and skill development. Common areas addressed are: learning formal and informal mindfulness practices, navigating stressful situations and difficult emotions, developing strengths, identifying core values, and breaking through limiting beliefs to build a more flexible and optimistic view of yourself and the world.

Discover coaching tools that empower you with focus, insight and accountability. During coaching sessions, Liz will work with you to clarify and define your objectives, which will ensure the most productive use of your time. Coaching sessions are best conducted face to face, but Liz is available to conduct sessions over the phone via Skype in the event you are unable to meet in person.

An individual 55-minute life-coaching session is $125.

Elizabeth Hale, LCSW, CPC, is a mindfulness-based psychotherapist, life coach and mindfulness teacher who is passionate about helping people enjoy a more conscious and connected life. With over 20 years of counseling, coaching and teaching experience, her work incorporates mindfulness meditation, established coaching methods, cognitive behavioral approaches, emotional intelligence and positive psychology. She received a master’s degree from Smith College and received a life coach certification from the Institute for Excellence in Professional Coaching (iPEC). She has studied Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy with Zindel Segal, Ph.D., and has studied many additional relaxation and meditation practices. She has maintained a meditation practice for over 20 years.

Liz believes everyone’s mind is naturally capable of mindfulness, awareness, kindness and compassion. She works with people who want practical, non-dogmatic ways to tap into the deep peace and joy that can be found through mindfulness. She is grateful for the opportunity to help people embrace the full spectrum of their experience through exploring mindfulness and integrating their awareness into everyday life. She is known for her down-to-earth, engaging and authentic teaching style.

MBCT is based on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, developed by Jon Kabat Zinn in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Research shows that MBSR is enormously empowering for patients with chronic pain, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as for psychological problems such as anxiety and panic. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy grew from this work. Zindel Segal, Mark Williams and John Teasdale adapted the MBSR program so it could be used especially for people who had suffered bouts of depression in their lives.

The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has endorsed MBCT as an effective treatment for prevention of relapse. Research has shown that people who have been clinically depressed 3 or more times (sometimes for 20 years or more) find that learning and practicing MBCT skills helps to considerably reduce their chances that depression will return.

Energy Medicine Practitioner Debbie Sodergren, R.M.T, IPCT  is a Reiki Master Teacher having received the necessary training, attunement and knowledge at the Master Level of the Usui natural system of healing from The Center of Reiki Training.   With this certification, she has met all the requirements to teach all levels of Reiki as an independent Reiki Master Teacher. Debbie is a registered member with the International Association of Reiki Practitioners.

Debbie provides professional, relaxing therapeutic energy work in order to provide the client with a variety of benefits. Some of the more common benefits my clients experience are:

  • physical body reduced pain, promote own healing process, balances the energy fields
  • mental body reduced anxiety and emotional stress
  • increased energy level, increased sense of well-being and calmness
  • spiritual body enhanced peacefulness and awareness

Debbie teaches classes in Reiki training, meditation & awareness and infinite possibilities and I mentor clients in finding balance and contentment in daily living of the life they want to create.