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ACE2468 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (online only)

Started 8 Feb 2024

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Full course description

Course Overview: 

In a world that is increasingly complex, one key skill becomes critical in order to maneuver in contemporary society and that is our ability to create self-awareness and self-management skills to reduce stress and increase our ability to adapt, respond skilfully to challenges and to flourish. What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is a way of being, it is a way of tapping into the full range of our humanity, fully experiencing life in the here and now. Mindfulness is described by Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994) ‘as paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non- judgmentally’. The attitudinal foundations of mindfulness practice include – non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting-go. Mindfulness is not a cure all solution to all of life’s challenges, but it can give us a gateway from which to engage more effectively to stressful situations. Mindfulness practice helps you to become more aware of thoughts, feelings and body sensations in the present moment. This observational non-reactive perspective enables participants to consciously respond with clarity and focus, rather than react out of a habitual pattern. It opens the possibility of working more wisely with difficulties in life and choosing what is nourishing to ourselves and others. These strategies help to avoid rumination, either in the past or the future and to respond skilfully to stress, rather than reacting to it. What is the MBSR programme? This short course comprises of the delivery of the 8 week MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) programme. The MBSR programme was first developed by Dr Jon Kabat Zinn in the late 1970’s, since then its effectiveness and popularity has spread all over the world. The MBSR course is an 8-week programme. Participants attend a 2.5-hour class once a week for eight weeks as well as a one-day retreat. The programme supports the participant to build wellbeing and personal resilience through mindfulness meditation practice and self inquiry. The course gives you the tools to create a new relationship to stress and to life's ups and downs. MBSR is seen as the ‘gold-standard’ in meditation courses and counts on over 30 years of scientific research that consistently shows how mindfulness practices can enhance our physical and mental well-being. Completing an MBSR programme can:

• Increase awareness of all our experiences so that participants can respond to situations with choice, rather than react automatically;

• Support participants to live life more fully by savouring positive experience;

• Help participants in taking care of themselves and to develop a kinder, more compassionate relationship towards themselves;

• Learn to turn towards difficulty and to stay steady in the midst of it;

• Allow participants to relate differently and more skilfully to life’s challenges;

• Explore different ways to meditate and to observe the workings of the mind.

The invitation throughout the course is to cultivate an attitude of curiosity and interest in your daily experiences. By allowing yourself to explore and experiment with various mindfulness practices, you will discover grounding practices and a way of engaging with life that can bring greater ease, awareness and skill to one’s experiences.


Course Practicalities :

Will run Thursday evenings from 6.30 pm-9pm for 8 weeks from 8th of February to 28th of March 2024.

Venue: Online over Microsoft Teams for 8 weeks and one in-person retreat day

Closing date for applications: Monday 29th of January 2024.


Course Content:

- Feburary 1st Week 1: As long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than wrong with you. This class will explore the meaning of mindfulness and how it might be applied in your everyday life. You will learn how to integrate mindfulness into your life through both formal and informal mindfulness practices.

- February 8th Week 2: Perception and Creative Responding. A core theme of this session is around perception and skilful responding. The principle being that “it is not the stressors per se, but how you handle them” that influences the short and long-term health impacts they have on our mind, body and overall sense of wellbeing and health.

- February 15th Week 3: There is pleasure and power in being present. For this class we partake in a few distinct yet interrelated formal practices. This is accompanied by inquiry and reflection on our experiences where we can share insights into challenges and how we might integrate mindfulness into everyday life.

- Feburary 22nd Week 4: Recognizing and reducing the negative effects of Automatic, Habitual Stress Reactivity. By bringing curiosity and openness to our experience we cultivate a more flexible attentional capacity thus developing new approaches in how we relate to stressful moments/events/experiences in our lives.

- February 29th Week 5: Automatic Habitual Stress Reaction. The emphasis this week is on responding (as opposed to reacting) to stressors. Mindfulness allows us to pause and step back from scenarios so we can bring more clarity and objectivity to the situation.

-March 7th Week 6: Stress Reaction/Response and Communication. This class examines the interpersonal dynamics of stress through the lens of interpersonal communications.

- March 14th Week 7: Life-Style/ Choices. In this class we reflect on those lifestyle choices we make; some of these can be adaptive and self-nourishing while others can be maladaptive and self-limiting.

- March 21st Week 8: The End is the Beginning. Reflection on ways in which we can grow and deepen our practice.


Retreat Day: The retreat day allows the group to reflect on the 8-week MBSR programme and to practice together. (Location details and date will be discussed during class time.)


Course Lecturer:

Elizabeth O’Leary is an experienced mindfulness practitioner and teacher. She has a Post Graduate Certificate in Mindfulness Based Practice and Research and an MSc in Mindfulness Based Wellbeing, both achieved through UCC. Elizabeth who has taken part in many mindfulness retreats and programme such as Mindfulness Self Compassion, Acceptance and Commitment Training, Mindfulness and Trauma and Mindfulness in Relationships. Elizabeth is a member of the Mindfulness Teachers Association of Ireland (MTAI). Elizabeth is most at home delivering training and sharing the benefits of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme with participants who take part in her programmes. For Elizabeth two points stand out as being of central importance when teaching a mindfulness programme; one is to support everyone to explore mindfulness at their own pace so that they can identify the practices and approaches that best suits them and that best align to their style and experience. The second is holding a respect for each person on the programme and to provide a safe, engaging learning environment that reaches out to all participants.


Entry Requirements:

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.

Contact Details for Further Information:


Please note our refund policy as follows:
100% refund  if student cancels before course commencement
100% refund if student's course is cancelled due to insufficient numbers. 
If the student cancels after the first week of the course - full refund minus €50 processing fee 
If the student cancels after the second week of the course - no refund