Holistic Counseling in Saratoga Springs, NY • firstname.lastname@example.org
Stress Reduction and Meditation
MBSR: Combining the Best of Two Traditions
Stress is one of the most destructive elements in our lives. The way we react to the stress, however, appears to be more important than the stress itself. Many people find that combining modern stress-reduction techniques with ancient meditative practices teaches them to react to stress in a more positive manner.
Donna Bird teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) relaxation techniques in private sessions and in her 8-week MBSR classes. Her programs include teaching additional stress-reduction tools for centering and focusing as well as various other ancient meditations. She continues to create experiential stress-reduction and guided imagery meditation audio recordings, which she uses in her practice and classes. People report they find the recordings helpful for reducing various stress-related symptoms (e.g., anxiety, insomnia, depression, life transitions, etc.).
How Can Donna’s Stress Reduction Programs Help You?
Human beings are capable of withstanding immense stresses from the environment and their daily lives; but if we push the envelope too far, our stress response turns inward and begins to create mental breakdowns, physical disease, or burnout. At times when we encounter stressful situations, we react by going round and round, reacting in circles that we can’t control.
We may attempt to control our inner stress by using alcohol, food, working, smoking, projecting anger at others, isolating, etc. If we have a genetic predisposition to a particular ailment like cancer, heart disease, or depression, then sooner or later the weakest link goes in the body, and we become seriously ill.
That is why learning the benefit of managing stress constructively is so important!
Donna Bird’s Credentials and Experience
Donna was trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction under the direction of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1999. She has also taken numerous meditation courses throughout the years — most recently in 2012, through the Art of Living International Center in Bangalore, India. While in India she also attended Pujas, Homas, and Navratri celebrations led by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder and director of the nationally acclaimed Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Since 1979 he has worked with thousands of people who were referred by their doctors for a wide range of medical problems (e.g., headaches, high blood pressure, back pain, heart disease, cancer, AIDS, etc.). Dr. Kabat-Zinn teaches “Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction” (MBSR) in an 8-week course that combines a variety of body–mind relaxation techniques, including mindfulness meditation practices.
The Benefits of MBSR
Donna became interested in Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s program after reading his two best selling books, Wherever You Go, There You Are and Full Catastrophe Living. In 1999 she had the honor of receiving MBSR training under his direction. Through this training she discovered that practicing these techniques helped her to experience deeper states of relaxation and peacefulness. She then understood how at times MBSR had directly improved physical symptoms of patients at the Stress Reduction Medical Center, and how Dr. Kabat-Zinn had taught people to lead fuller, more satisfying lives.
Through this training Donna also learned how to help people facing both minor and major health problems. (In serious cases, the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction methods work in concert with high-quality medical treatment, not as an alternative to it.)
In 1984, when Donna first became a student of meditation, more people were beginning to learn the practice of relaxation/meditation and making it an integral part of their daily lives. People were beginning to understand that deep relaxation is not a magic bullet, but rather a way of living life in a healthier way.
“Mindfulness” meditation is a Buddhist meditation that is approximately 2,500 years old. When Donna visited Tibet in 1999, she became aware of the Tibetan people’s great respect for their ancient, life-transforming spiritual practice of meditation.