St. Stephen's Community House participants

Michael Thompson

Michael ThompsonMichael Thompson

Relaxing the body, calming the mind

Today, Michael Thompson is not dwelling on poor choices and past mistakes. He is looking to the future. And the path between the two is mindfulness.

Mindfulness meditation focuses awareness in a calm and relaxing environment while using feelings, thoughts and body sensations as a therapeutic technique. In short, it helps people focus on the present. St. Stephen’s started offering a mindfulness group for participants in our Housing and Homeless program in October 2013 as part of a series of services that improve wellness and reduce stress.

The results have been excellent. Participants are calmer, especially during times of stress, and feel more compassion for those around them. The benefits are more far-reaching than that: Some participants with schizophrenia and other mental health issues have reported a reduction in their symptoms since joining the group.

For Michael, the difference is clear. “The anxiety and tension I used to feel isn’t as overpowering. I can concentrate more and remember what I’m reading. I’m not focusing on disappointments anymore. Now I’m starting to see the future.”

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