Mindfulness is a practice that individuals and groups can do on a day-to-day basis. It can enable people to change the way they think and feel about their experiences, especially stressful experiences. As a mind-body approach, it can increase one’s ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices.
A growing body of evidence has found that when people intentionally practice being mindful they feel less stressed, anxious and depressed. Research also shows positive effects on several aspects of whole-person health, including the mind, the brain, the body, and behavior, as well as a person’s relationships with others.
Meet Mr. and Mrs. X
A husband and wife, both in their sixties and newly retired, wanted to incorporate a mindful practice into their daily lives, manage their stress more effectively, and work on their personal roadblocks. To protect the privacy of the couple, I’ll refer to the husband and wife as Mr. and Mrs. X.
Married for over forty years, Mr. and Mrs. X have a strong and healthy relationship, yet each recognized the opportunity for improvement, particularly in the areas of nutrition and symptomatic behaviors. Of paramount importance was not only self-improvement but the ability to listen deeply, offering the possibility of being more empathetic and nurturing toward one another. Recognizing they needed help to achieve these goals, the couple researched different styles of therapy. Eventually choosing mindfulness-based education and coaching, they contacted The Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who referred them to me as one of the few certified MBSR teachers in the Pacific Northwest.
The Intervention: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
After an introductory meeting to discuss the preferred course of action with the couple, I proposed a personalized 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program. This was eagerly accepted and our work together began. Over the duration of the program, we experienced various mindful meditations, explored mindfulness-based skills and practices, and implemented home assignments, resulting in deep self-discovery and meaningful discussions. The skills learned allowed them to bring a fresh perspective to their personal areas of challenge, resulting in self-discovery and healing.
Upon completion of their personalized program, the couple reported general reduced stress, the ability to be fully present non-judgmentally and open to experience, accepting things as they are, living in peace, serenity, and compassion. They no longer allow themselves to be swept up in life’s highs and lows, as best they can, moment to moment. Although the 8-week program has ended, Mr. and Mrs. X have decided to continue working with me to further their practice of mindful living.
Mr. and Mrs. X learned to deal gently, kindly and patiently with themselves and each other. Rather than judging, they learned to open their hearts to truly listen to and understand each other’s experience. The overarching goal was to support one another’s values and needs, and the couple feels they more than achieved this outcome. Putting my heart and soul into this opportunity, I did some of my best work with this couple. The results surpassed my highest expectation and witnessing their transformation is encouraging, inspirational, and beautiful.
“Lorrie Jones is an extraordinarily competent and effective mindfulness-based stress reduction teacher and therapist. Lorrie is also an exceptionally gifted mindfulness writer.”
—Mr. and Mrs. X