Stress reduction class


Registration is closed! Due to overwhelming response, the January MBSR class is now full. If you want to be added to the wait list, click the button to the left and we will let you know if a spot opens up.


In January 2019, MNPS will partner with Vanderbilt’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine to offer another mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) course. This highly participatory, practical course includes:


  • Guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices
  • Gentle stretching and mindful yoga
  • Group discussions aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life
  • Daily home assignments


What is mindfulness and MBSR?

Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge, a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you — consciously and systematically working with your own stress and the challenges and demands of everyday life.


MBSR is an evidence-based intervention used to increase awareness of your thoughts, body and emotions. MBSR uses meditation and gentle movement to encourage present-moment awareness and deep relaxation.


What are the benefits of mindfulness?

Mindfulness-practices can help you heal and cope with many conditions, including:


  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal (IBS)
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches
  • Some autoimmune conditions


When is the class?

Registered participants will meet at the Employee Wellness Center at Berry Hill (2694 Fessey Ct.) for nine Thursdays and one Saturday.


Orientation/first class: January 10

Eight Thursdays: January 17 – March 7 (5:30-8 p.m.)

Saturday retreat: February 23 (9 a.m.-4 p.m.)


Who can attend?

All MNPS employees are eligible to register. You’re encouraged to read and understand the time commitment required of the course (detailed below) before registering.


How do I register?

Register here. You will be required to provide your name, work location, email address and a well-thought-out statement about why you want to attend and why you think MBSR might benefit you (150-300 words). Because space is limited for this popular class, we encourage you to register early.


How much does it cost?

The typical cost at the Osher Center is $375; in some parts of the country, this highly popular course costs as much as $800! However, through this special collaboration with Vanderbilt, MNPS is offering the course at no cost to those who: (1) meet registration requirements (a written essay explaining why you wish to take the class is required) and (2) feel they are able to meet the significant time commitment required of the course.


Who teaches the course?

Michelle Pearce, DMIN, MSN, MA, LPC-MHSP, RN, director of mindfulness programs and outreach for the Osher Center, will facilitate the course. She is a licensed and nationally certified mental health service provider and advanced practice registered nurse. She is qualified to teach MBSR through the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, and has over 20 years’ experience developing and teaching mindfulness practices to patients, educators, students, health professionals and people in the community.


Dr. Martha Shepherd, medical director of the MNPS Employee & Family Health Care Centers, will co-teach the course. She is a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Vanderbilt. She received her MBSR teacher qualification through the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Mindfulness, and is delighted to share this evidence-based practice with the MNPS community.


What else do I need to know?
  • MNPS covers the cost of this course to make it possible for those who might otherwise not be able to attend. Only register if you feel you can meet the commitments of the class, which includes attending class approximately 2.5 hours a week, completing assigned homework and an all-day Saturday retreat.
  • Your registration information, including your statement, is confidential and will not be made public or shared with anyone outside Vanderbilt staff coordinating the course.




What do past participants say about the course?
  • I feel calmer in my daily life and am able to ride the waves of chaos that comes in a typical day at school.
  • The course far exceeded my expectations. It opened my mind at to how my body reacts to stresses.
  • This course has changed my personal and professional life for the better. I regularly teach my students mindfulness exercises.
  • I am able to step back when I am overwhelmed and reassess myself.
  • I honestly thought I was pretty good at dealing with the often-intense stresses of being an educator. But now I realize I only had one or two tools I was using to cope. Now my toolbox is full.
  • Before the course, I would bury the stress without realizing it – to the detriment of my body and mind. I can now handle the stress in a healthy way.
  • I have gained an overwhelming sense of “I can get through it” - whatever “it” is.
  • If you want to bring more awareness to your life and reduce stress, then take the course.
  • This is a wonderful introduction to mindfulness. Be prepared for a significant time commitment.
  • Take The Course!
  • If you are open to meditation and reducing stress in your life, take it.
  • I have already been saying, “Do it! You will be glad you did.” It has given me many tools to manage life.
  • The time commitment is certainly worth it and it will change your life.
  • You won’t believe how beneficial it will be to your personal and professional life.
  • Do it. Stick with it. Your life will thank you.

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