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Meditation Practice May Help Reduce Holiday Stress; Beginners Class Available

Monday, November 28, 2016

Beginning on December 8, 2016 (ending January 26, 2017), Fort HealthCare is offering an eight-week Meditation and Breathing Techniques class. The class will focus on meditation and breathing techniques to calm the mind and unwind tension in the body. It will include instruction and guidance, but there will be plenty of time to practice the techniques and allow for open quiet time. The class is scheduled for 60 minutes each week, from 6:15 p.m.-7:15 p.m. in Classroom D at Fort Memorial Hospital. The hospital is located at 611 Sherman Avenue East in Fort Atkinson.

It is always a good time to think about ways to reduce the level of negative stress in your life, as too much stress can lead to poor health, or worsen an existing health condition. The holiday season in particular, while joyous in a lot of ways, can be stressful for many people. Extra shopping, social events, debt, and other pressures can lead to anxiety. Missing loved ones can also contribute to seasonal sadness. These changes from your everyday routine can cause you to neglect good nutrition, may affect your ability to sleep well, and you may even be more likely to skip exercise. Together, these factors can lead to holiday blues.

Even if you’re not prone to depression, you may have other symptoms such as headaches, tension, and fatigue. It’s also easy to eat and drink too much during the holidays. It’s also common to feel a holiday letdown after the celebrations are over. Hectic holidays can leave you feeling physically and emotionally drained. A regular meditation practice might be a benefit to help you navigate through stressful times and teach yourself to manage stress on a daily basis.

meditation-classThe Power of Meditation

Worry, anxiety, and stress can be more than distractions. Constantly replaying in your mind daily problems and fears can affect your mental and physical health. By controlling your attention as you meditate, you begin to feel more relaxed and at peace. And this peacefulness usually lasts far beyond the meditation itself. So, when stress appears hours later, you have the means to redirect it.

Meditation allows you to become more awake and more purposeful about your actions. It teaches you how to respond, rather than react, to situations in your life.

Among some of the benefits of meditation are:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decreased pain
  • Improved function of the immune system
  • Improved mood and brain function
  • Improved sleep
  • Can help you focus on healthier activities

 Carrie Garity, the class instructor, notes, “Although meditation sounds simple, it takes discipline to remain still in body and mind, and it takes practice to make it a healthy habit. I have seen people in my classes change in various ways for the better, and for many, these new skills open the door to other positive lifestyle changes simply through greater awareness. People are amazed that something so easy to do actually works very well for them. They also really experience the benefit of a supportive group setting to help them practice these techniques.”

To register for the class or to learn more, visit and select “view by date” and then “December 2016.” The name of the class is Meditation and Breathing Techniques, and the course fee is $40. Certain discounts may apply. There is a meditation primer video available for viewing online as well.

Fort HealthCare is committed to improving the health and well-being of our communities, with a vision to be the healthiest community in Wisconsin. As the leading healthcare provider in the region, it is our goal to reach as many members of the community as possible with health and wellness messages, providing tools and resources to help individuals improve their health and quality of life, while collaborating with several partners to positively improve the population’s health overall on a long term basis. For more information, visit