Stress is a natural part of our lives and healthy levels help us with creativity, reaching our goals, and maintaining overall drive. Increased stress levels erode our health, productivity, and overall happiness. Chronic stress is becoming an epidemic of the twenty-first century.
In today’s contemporary society, people experience elevated levels of stress on a daily basis. When asked, most people will state that they feel stressed. Studies show that people have chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. As a result, many suffer from insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and various other symptoms preventing them from living happy, fulfilling lives.
To combat this state of affairs, many began exploring the benefits of mindfulness as an antidote to chronic stress. Thirty years of research offers compelling evidence to support the use of mindfulness practices.
Some benefits of mindfulness include stronger focus, better memory, staying calmer under stress, enhanced concentration and executive functioning, and improved overall mental health. Some of the physical benefits of mindfulness include reduction of blood pressure, reduction and prevention of pain, weight loss, as well as increased energy, strength, and vigour.
The smartUBC (stress management and resiliency techniques) Mindfulness Training has its foundation in MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) with added components of emotional theory, forgiveness, and compassion training. SmartUBC draws upon a body of research on the neuroscience and the physiological effects of mindfulness. It was created in 2007 by the Impact Foundation and in 2013, the Canadian Rights of SMART were transferred to the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus (UBCO).
In 2015, the School of Nursing at UBCO began offering smartUBC to all first-year students in a mandatory Relational Practice course. The rationale was two-fold: to provide undergraduate students with mindfulness skills and capacities to help them navigate and succeed in their first year of university, as well as stress management and resiliency techniques for their nursing practice.
SmartUBC Mindfulness Training is also offered in the community by licensed smartUBC facilitators as an 8-week program, with weekly 2-hour sessions and one 4-hour workshop. Weekly meetings include presentations and group discussions.
The program involves experiential activities in mindfulness including secular meditation, emotional awareness, self-regulation, and movement. These activities promote concentration, attention, awareness, understanding of emotions, empathy, compassion, and positive interpersonal communication. Participants also benefit from daily home exercises to further support the program.
What graduates of this program say about smartUBC:
“I can wholeheartedly recommend smartUBC to anyone who feels challenged by the pressures of modern life and is keen to learn sustainable and supportive practices that will enhance their overall sense of well-being and bring new perspective to all areas of life.”
“I can honestly say the smartUBC program has made an immediate difference in my life. I am now more aware of my emotions and how I express them, I also now understand the science behind stress and have tools that allow me to be more at peace as I navigate challenges in my life (personal and professional).”
“smartUBC lead me to develop a new perspective on my life with tools to respond to life’s challenges in a mindful, compassionate and patient way.”
For more information, contact Iwona at Healthy Transitions Consulting.