smartUBC is a program that is educational, entertaining and enlightening.

The program explains mindfulness using modern research, brain science and time tested techniques. I was able to begin to understand how my mind works and how to use practices that could change my old habits. With Iwona’s guidance and support, I was able to integrate the techniques into my daily routine. I would highly recommend the smartUBC program as well as Iwona herself.

~ smartUBC Graduate

For most of my adult life, I lived a productive and life of perpetual busyness as a workaholic. The challenge with workaholism is that it is regarded as a virtue in our society! If you are not busy and working hard, you are somehow not measuring up and you don’t fit in with the perpetual chant, “I am so busy!” I valued my ability to multi-task, carefully manage the details, and make sure all of the work was done. Then came the day when my body and mind said, ‘no more’! I hit the wall, and was burned out!

Through my process of recovery, I was introduced to the smartUBC Mindfulness Program. smartUBC offers a unique combination of Mindfulness training, Emotion Theory and Forgiveness Theory during the 8-week course. It was in undertaking the practices of this course that I came to recognize that, within me, was a continual sense of anxiety that I had been endeavouring to soothe through the distraction of work. Like most addictions, I had to stay continually busy to soothe the feelings inside. Whether it be ‘getting to work’, or mindlessly filling my time with checking the media with my myriad devices, I was not living my life.

As I engaged in the smartUBC practices, I became attuned to my body’s sensations, my emotions and my thoughts, and the interplay between them all. I was amazed to find that I awakened each day with a pit in my gut and a sense of anxiety each and every morning. I understood that my ability to work hard, once considered a virtue, was really a vice used to soothe my inner discomfort. I realized that my habit of ‘getting busy’ was a habit that I had developed to ease that sensed of anxiety; I was like a hamster on a wheel, keeping busy to run from that discomfort within my being. And so, I paused and watched myself…gentle, patient, and kind, and rode the waves of anxiety.

Over time, that abiding sense of anxiety has diminished. I make conscious choices, no longer running on automatic pilot. I no longer buy into the perpetual messages from my mind to ‘get to work, stay busy’, fuelled by that sense of anxiety that was my constant companion. smartUBC Mindfulness has allowed me to experience life in ways I have never before. I now enjoy life more fully and when I work, I do so in a much more effective and balanced way. smartUBC Mindfulness has changed my life for the better?

Corinne Crockett, RN, MHSc(N)

smartUBC was an attempt to learn tools to deal with the stress I was experiencing in my life. I led a very stressful life underpinned by high expectations of myself, especially around mothering and my career. I experienced consistent lack of sleep and felt frustrated and unhappy on an almost daily basis. The chronic high levels of stress had become detrimental to my life – I regularly experienced emotional, mental and physical chaos. My mind was engaged in a constant negative narrative; my body was responding to chronic stress with the development of illness, and my heart ached for something to change. I was not caring or nurturing myself which resulted in not being present for those I loved. I knew I could no longer function in my life as I was. In fact, when I look back, I now realize that I really wasn’t functioning very well; I was enduring life. smartUBC was more than a program where I learned tools to respond to stress, it was the beginning of a self-discovery and life-changing journey. A journey leading to a shift in my way of being in the world and in relationship with others.

smartUBC lead me to develop a new perspective of my life with tools to respond to life’s challenges in a mindful, compassionate and patient way. Walking through the world mindfully, guided by the seven attitudes of mindfulness resulted in building and strengthening relationship with myself and those in my life. I now treat myself with gentleness, patience, and kindness which ripples out to all aspects of my life and the people I have the privilege of sharing my life with.

And, the journey continues. I engage in mindfulness practices daily and feel happy, peaceful and content. I have become a more mindful, patient and compassionate mother, family member, friend and colleague. Thank-you.

smartUBC participant, Kelowna, 2016

I became curious about mindfulness and wanted to explore the possibility that it could be beneficial for me.  I began a yoga practice a few years earlier and this felt like the next step in my personal growth, but I didn’t know where to begin.  I heard about the smartUBC program and then found out that Iwona Sienko was offering the program through HealthyTransitions.  I signed up not really knowing what to expect.

I can honestly say the smartUBC program has made an immediate difference in my life.  I am much 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).  I have made the mindfulness practices learned a part of my life and am receiving the benefits from looking at experiences from a more realistic lens and trying to not get emotionally caught up in things.

Iwona is a caring nurturing teacher and truly believes in the benefits of living a life with more kindness, compassion and forgiveness but remaining authentic to your true self.  I feel so strongly about the benefits of the smartUBC course that I asked Iwona to give a presentation to our staff to expose them to this life-changing program.  I recommend the smartUBC course to anyone who wants to find more peace and happiness in their personal and professional lives.

Andrew Murdoch, Bell Media

As a long time yoga teacher and advocate for mindfulness practice, I can share with you that the smartUBC program, brilliantly facilitated by Iwona Sienko, offers up simple, clear and accessible tools and practices for living a more stress-free and mindful life. All the modules for learning and practice are immediately usable and grounded in science-based research and proven effective towards having more focused attention, greater clarity and generally a less reactive and more relaxed presence in all the comings and goings of everyday life. Having completed the program last year, 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.

Bill Eager, Yoga Teacher/Educator

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