Breckenridge Texan

‘Stress Less’ program to continue on Tuesday, Oct. 10

‘Stress Less’ program to continue on Tuesday, Oct. 10
October 09
21:19 2023

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

From practicing mindfulness — the paying attention to the moment that you are in — to assessing your stress level and using techniques such as “mindful awareness breathing” to lower your stress level, at the first session of “Stress Less with Mindfulness,” Yuri Huntington discussed ways to bring more peace and calmness into your day.

The program is being presented by the Stephens County AgriLife Extension office. The first session was last week, and the program will continue for four more sessions, including tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 10, at First Methodist Church’s Christian Life Center. The sessions, which start at 12:15 p.m., are free and open to the public. Anyone who is interested may attend any or all of the sessions, said Extension Agent Sumer Russell.

Huntington is a certified life coach with a master’s degree in human service counseling with a concentration in life coaching. She also is the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce’s executive director. She will be leading all five sessions of the “Stress Less” program.

The first session went over the basics of mindfulness, giving attendees some ideas for dealing with the stress in their lives.

“Mindfulness is paying attention. So, being present here in the moment,” Huntington said. “And being purposeful. So, thinking about our purpose, right here, right now.”

One of the ways that mindfulness can be used to reduce stress is that it helps the person to focus on what is currently happening, rather than worrying about the past or about the future. By focusing on the present, one can be more attuned to their own feelings and figure out why they are feeling that way, Huntington said.

Another way to encourage mindful thinking and bring down your stress level is to take a few seconds to practice mindful awareness breathing, which simply means to focus on your breathing as you breathe in for a count of 3 or 4 and then breathe out, slowly, for a count of 4 or 5. If you can, close your eyes while focusing on your breathing, Huntington suggested. Mindful breathing can often lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress and let you control something, even if the situation you are in is out of your control.

Many of our reactions to certain situations can be traced back to experiences we’ve had earlier in life, she explained. And, although some reactions may seem automatic, the brain is capable of being “rewired,” and by assessing your reasons for stressing, you can interrupt those reactions that seem automatic and develop new, healthier reactions.

Huntington will continue the “Stress Less with Mindfulness” program at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10. Next week will be skipped, and the final three sessions will be on Oct. 24, Oct. 31 and Nov. 7.


Cutline, top photo: Yuri Huntington presents the first of five sessions on dealing with stress to a small group of attendees on Oct. 3. The next portion of the program will be Oct. 10. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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