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Nine-week Mindfulness Course

What: Mindfulness introductory workshop (nine-week course) 

When: Monday 20 September 2021 at 11am  

Where: Zoom (please email register@ms-uk.org for the Zoom link) 

About the mindfulness introduction session 

As part of our introductory series, we will be hosting an introductory workshop on mindfulness ahead of our new Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course starting in October 2021. 

This introductory workshop will give you an overview of what mindfulness is, the benefits it can have (particularly for those with multiple sclerosis (MS)), the evidence behind its use, and how mindfulness can be used to manage stress, anxiety and symptoms of MS.  

Our mindfulness practitioner, Phil Startin, will provide information on our specially designed mindfulness course for those living with MS, along with guiding a short practice together. He will signpost you to useful resources guiding you where to go next, including letting you know more about our full MBSR nine-week course and our shorter four-week courses.  

The introductory session will last for around 40 minutes and allow for questions at the end. 

The session is free to attend and if you would like to take part, you can register to attend by contacting us at register@ms-uk.org for the Zoom details. 

 

  • Held over nine weekly sessions 

  • Two-hour sessions each with comfort breaks 

  • Largely experiential – developing a life skill 

  • Weekly handouts 

  • 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 

  • Mindful awareness 

  • Looking at things differently 

  • Awareness of barriers and reactions 

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. 

 

About Phil Phil Startin - Trustee.png

I’m excited to be leading the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses for MS-UK. Living myself with PPMS for over 14 years, I’ve been practicing mindfulness meditation for over a decade now, and have gone from being really quite sceptical of it (“hippy tree-hugging” was my view of meditation before I started), to being an important part of my life and a really positive contribution to my health and well-being, which is why I started teaching mindfulness.  

Mindfulness has also helped me deal with some of the symptoms of MS. I think regardless of when you were diagnosed and where you are on your MS journey, typically those of us with MS need to deal with the unpredictability of the course of the condition in terms of disease activity and relapses, as well as progression. But we also have to deal with the wide-ranging uncertainty around future physical and cognitive levels, with the associated impact that these will have on many aspects of our life – dealing with loss of function and the impact this has on our hobbies and careers, and how it affects our relationships – with our partners and family, and our friends.  

For this MS-UK MBSR course we have made some modifications to the course to make it even more relevant and helpful to those of us with MS, including a whole new session on lifestyle changes. The feedback from the first courses has been very positive, and I’d be delighted if you could join me on Monday 20 September 2021 at 11am for an introductory talk about mindfulness. 

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”.