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Mindfulness for Helping Professionals: SIUE Cultivates Peace and Joy
Illinois Ag Connection - 02/25/2021

Why is it so challenging to find lasting happiness? How can we develop practices that help create greater peace and joy? The answers to those questions and more are being shared in a new Southern Illinois University Edwardsville online course entitled Mindfulness for Helping Professionals.

The course launched this spring and will be offered again in fall 2021. Any undergraduate or graduate students who experience stress or challenges can benefit from the course content and mindfulness practices, especially those helping professionals such as nurses, social workers, educators and pre-med students.

"Being human is stressful, and even more so during a pandemic, and amid social and political unrest," said Wendy Weber, PhD, professor and special education program director in the School of Education, Health and Human Behavior's Department of Teaching and Learning. "On top of that, students are trying to juggle feeling isolated and disconnected from classmates and the campus community with online/remote instruction. Inherently, many of the concepts and practices center around how to feel more connected to your own life and feel compassionate and connected to other people."

Weber has practiced mindfulness and meditation for more than 30 years. She has taught mindfulness to students and educators nationwide and internationally, as well as implemented and conducted research on mindfulness in schools. Additionally, Weber is a graduate of the two-year intensive Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program led by world-renowned meditation teachers Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield.

"This is a course for any students who want to cultivate more clarity, balance, kindness and joy in their lives," Weber explained. "Many find some relief, reduction in stress, a sense of ease or more space to handle the ups and downs of daily life. Participants can expect to turn toward their own experiences in a patient and kind manner. This may be new to individuals who, like many of us, have been conditioned to be hard on ourselves, beat ourselves up for shortcomings, feel inadequate or otherwise."

According to Weber, the Mindfulness for Helping Professionals course helps individuals experience clarity around issues that have challenged them for years.

"It is possible that with increased awareness and compassion, people choose to focus more on relationships that support their well-being, and move away from those relationships that do not serve them," she noted. "This course invites students to create room for noticing and shifting habitual responses to people and events in our lives, to a more understanding, open-hearted approach."

The course is structured around three books that cover foundational mindfulness concepts, basic meditation practices, self-reflection assignments and group discussion.

Registration for fall 2021 courses begins March 29. For more information, visit siue.edu/online/online-courses.


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