MS-UK understands the importance of having a healthy relationship with your mental wellbeing and is now offering two mindfulness courses. These courses are designed to help you live more consciously, with evidence that it can help people living with a chronic condition, such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is considered to be a state of consciousness, whereby you are aware of your body, thoughts and emotions, living ‘mindfully’ and alive to your experiences.
This can be achieved through practice, choosing where to place your attention, the awareness to thoughts and to reframe and respond skilfully rather than reacting negatively towards them.
There is now growing medical evidence of the benefits of mindfulness in alleviating stress and anxiety, and that stress and worry can contribute to the exacerbation of MS symptoms, relapses, the progression of the condition, and perhaps even to the onset of the condition itself.
What are the benefits you can expect from mindfulness?
Our mindfulness courses
We have two types of mindfulness courses running throughout the year that includes our nine-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and our four-week mindfulness course. Please see below more about what each course offers.
Four-week mindfulness course
Purpose of the four-week course
To provide an introduction to mindfulness for PwMS to kick start practice; designed for those who are not able right now to commit to the full nine-week course.
Our four-week mindfulness course is the first course we will be offering in 2021, and is a pilot course that has been developed following feedback from our previous courses.
The shorter course offers a less intensive option for people who may have difficulty committing to the longer nine-week option. The course itself will still offer a good introduction to mindfulness and allow you to begin developing the skills to practice mindfulness for all the benefits it can have.
Focus of the course
Participants will learn the essential skills of mindfulness over four weeks in a small group, exploring together and individually, how mindfulness may help them to live to more easily with their MS.
You will start to learn how to
- Relate to yourself and your MS in a more kind and compassionate way
- Use your breath and body to help reduce the harmful effects of stress on MS
- React less emotionally and respond more skilfully to the challenges of living with MS
You will need to commit to
- Attend four 90-minute Zoom sessions including practice, group discussion and teaching
- Personal practice (approximately two x ten minute practices) each day over the four weeks – the more you can do, the more you will learn
- Just give it a go!
If you are interested in learning more about this four-week course, please contact at email@example.com.
My name is Yvette Sargood and I am delighted to be offering a four-week Introduction to Mindfulness for people with MS (PwMS) course through MS-UK, starting in June.
I am a qualified mindfulness teacher with a MSc in Mindfulness from the University of Exeter. Having MS too, means I get what it's like living with the unpredictability and challenges MS can bring.
I started practicing mindfulness in 2014 at the point when I was searching for some different ways to better manage my condition. I had tried mindfulness many times over my life, failing dismally! And it wasn’t until I understood what the research was suggesting about the benefits of mindfulness and MS that I was able to create a powerful personal intention to practice. And over time (this is not a quick fix) it has helped me accept that I have MS and enable me, day by day, to live a little more easily with it.
Inspired by how mindfulness helps me, I wanted to be able to share this gift and teach others. I have taught the 8-week mindfulness courses to PwMS, to individuals with chronic illness at Kings College Hospital in London as well as in organisations.
Nine-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course
Largely experiential – developing a life skill
Homework – mainly practicing, guided meditations will be provided; around 45 minutes per day homework, ideally six days per week
Safe and confidential environment -share only as much as you want to and explore difficult sensations only as much as you want to
Weeks 1- 3 Beginning to practice and developing awareness
Weeks 4-6 Awareness of stress and our reactions
Awareness of thoughts and emotions
Responding vs reacting when living with MS
Working with difficult experiences
Weeks 7- 9 Preparing for the future
MS Lifestyle modifications
Identity and taking care of yourself
Preparing your own meditation practice
Before starting this course, it is worth considering the following points
The course can be emotionally demanding – is this the right time for you to do it?
Doing the homework is important and makes a huge difference – few will manage every day but three-four days per week should be a minimum
Find a space where you will be alone and ideally won’t be interrupted for both the class and your practice
It’s OK to miss a session over the nine-weeks, but if you know that you’ll miss more than two sessions then best to wait for the next course or to register for the shorter four-week course
For this MS-UK MBSR course, we have made some modifications to the standard MBSR course to make it even more relevant and helpful to those with MS, including a whole new session on lifestyle changes. The feedback from the first two pilot courses we held was extremely positive and this has guided us to develop both our we offer courses.
Please see the feedback below from the participants of our previous courses
“The theory and exercises now form part of my plans for the day and help me to spend time just for me. I can justify being kind to myself as a valuable way of dealing with my MS.”
“Noticing tension in the body, learning to slow down in situations that normally cause me to rush and make mistakes”
“I feel have a way to take back control, to both focus and find peace”.
As with all our online activities, there is a suggested donation for both courses. For our nine-week course, the suggested donation is £40 and for the four-week course, the is a suggested donation of £20.
If you would like to know more about the mindfulness courses or when the next courses start, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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