Quick! Can you name an inexpensive and drug-free remedy for stress, anxiety, and mental overload? (No, chocolate does not count.)
Over the past four decades, studies have supported the surprising effectiveness of the simple practice of mindfulness to improve well-being, mental health, and even physical health, including chronic pain.
On Monday, October 28, at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, over 50 women participated in a powerful introduction to the practice of mindfulness in a fascinating workshop given by clinical psychologist Chaya Lieba Kobernick, PsyD.
Dr. Kobernick conducted her doctoral research on her mindfulness program, adapted for frum students and implemented in the Bnos Malka Academy. In her introductory workshop, she explained the workings of anxiety, demonstrating that it is not actual events that cause unwanted and unhelpful feelings of stress, but rather the thoughts about the event and attempts to avoid the uncomfortable associated emotions. She described how, through repeated practice, anyone can de-stress her life by becoming accustomed to noticing experiences in the present moment rather than getting caught in the interpretations about the events.
With her entertaining style and wit, Dr. Kobernick guided participants through several mindfulness exercises in which they got a taste of the experience of fully focusing, nonjudgmentally, on the present moment, without getting caught in the busy, distracted mind. With active participation from the audience, and satisfied smiles throughout, it was clear that the workshop was a smashing success. The participants are eagerly awaiting further workshops and stress-reduction from Dr. Kobernick over the coming weeks.
The event was sponsored by Bnos Malka Academy, where all students participate in a weekly mindfulness program under the direction of Dr. Kobernick.