The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

August 25, 2013

Free class to teach stress management


— Stress becoming a gateway to emotional and physical problems is a near universal experience. For Raleigh County residents, West Virginia University Extension Service Families and Health has a new course designed to teach stress management techniques and improve mental well-being.

“Stress Less with Mindfulness” teaches the mindfulness technique to reduce stress, depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness is a psychological practice focused on teaching its students to pay attention to the present moment nonjudgmentally. The five-week program is modeled after research at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.  

In 2010, Jane Riffe, WVU Extension specialist for family and human development, reviewed West Virginia’s low scores in the mental health and life evaluation sections of the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index.

“The numbers inspired the project,” Riffe explained. “I am not going to be able to make the state richer, but I can help West Virginians experience a calmer state of mind through mindfulness.”  

WVU Extension Service Families and Health agents are being trained to provide public mindfulness courses across the state. The public classes are free, and West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) participants may qualify for a reduction in their insurance premium upon completion of the course.

The course is designed to be presented over five weeks, but can be presented in one daylong session. It’s available in Raleigh County through Terrill Peck, Families and Health Extension agent.

The program was created by Riffe and Rebecca Mowbray-Smith, WVU Extension Families and Health agent in Harrison County.

For more information contact Peck at 304-255-9321 or Terrill. peck@mail.wvu.edu.