Eight week mindfulness course

What to expect to from the eight-week course introduction session

Monday 25 September at 10am

As part of our introductory series, we will be hosting an introductory workshop on mindfulness ahead of our new Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course starting in October 2023.

This introductory workshop will give you an overview of what mindfulness is, the benefits it can have (particularly for those with multiple sclerosis (MS), the evidence behind its use, and how mindfulness can be used to manage stress, anxiety and symptoms of MS.

Our mindfulness practitioner, Phil Startin, will provide information on our specially designed mindfulness course for those living with MS, along with guiding a short practice together. He will signpost you to useful resources guiding you where to go next, including letting you know more about our full MBSR eight-week course and our shorter four-week courses.

This session is free to attend, with an option to provide a donation amount.

The introductory session will last for around 40 minutes and allow for questions at the end.

Course structure

Weeks 1 – 3 Beginning to practice and developing awareness

  • Mindful awareness
  • Looking at things differently
  • Awareness of barriers and reactions

Weeks 4 – 6 Awareness of stress and our reactions

  • Awareness of thoughts and emotions
  • Responding vs reacting when living with MS
  • Working with difficult experiences

Weeks 7 – 8 Preparing for the future

  • MS Lifestyle modifications
  • Identity and taking care of yourself
  • Preparing your own meditation practice

Before starting this course, it is worth considering the following points

  • The course can be emotionally demanding – is this the right time for you to do it?
  • Doing the homework is important and makes a huge difference – few will manage every day but three-four days per week should be a minimum
  • Find a space where you will be alone and ideally won’t be interrupted for both the class and your practice
  • It’s OK to miss a session over the eight weeks, but if you know that you’ll miss more than two sessions then best to wait for the next course or to register for the shorter four-week course

For this MS-UK MBSR course, we have made some modifications to the standard MBSR course to make it even more relevant and helpful to those with MS, including an additional session on lifestyle changes.

eight week mindfulness course

About Phil

I’m excited to be leading the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses for MS-UK. Living myself with PPMS for over 15 years, I’ve been practicing mindfulness meditation for over a decade now and have gone from being really quite sceptical of it (“hippy tree-hugging” was my view of meditation before I started), to being an important part of my life and a really positive contribution to my health and well-being, which is why I started teaching mindfulness.

Mindfulness has also helped me deal with some of the symptoms of MS. I think regardless of when you were diagnosed and where you are on your MS journey, typically those of us with MS need to deal with the unpredictability of the course of the condition in terms of disease activity and relapses, as well as progression. But we also have to deal with the wide-ranging uncertainty around future physical and cognitive levels, with the associated impact that these will have on many aspects of our life – dealing with loss of function and the impact this has on our hobbies and careers, and how it affects our relationships – with our partners and family, and our friends.

For this MS-UK MBSR course we have made some modifications to the course to make it even more relevant and helpful to those of us with MS, including a new session on lifestyle changes. The feedback from the first courses has been very positive and I’d be delighted if you could join me in 2022 for one of our introductory talks or even join our mindfulness course.

Please see the feedback below from the participants of our previous courses

The theory and exercises now form part of my plans for the day and help me to spend time just for me. I can justify being kind to myself as a valuable way of dealing with my MS
Noticing tension in the body, learning to slow down in situations that normally cause me to rush and make mistakes
I feel have a way to take back control, to both focus and find peace