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Meet my friend and colleague, Amanda. She is a licensed mental health therapist at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. (Read her professional bio here.) She was an MBSR student of mine when the COVID-19 pandemic hit early 2020 when we were forced into online learning! To say the least, this has been a major stressor for all of us. Thank you for sharing your story, Amanda. Learn why she makes time for mindfulness meditation to reduce stress and care of her family, friends, and clients:

Amanda Wentworth-Puentes, LMHC

What brought you to take Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction?

“I started at the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center in August of 2019 and learned about the MBSR class. I had been interested in learning more about mindfulness and yoga. It was very timely, the class started in February 2020 and was moved to web-based once the Covid-19 pandemic took place.”

Why do you continue to practice mindfulness meditation?

“I continue to practice mindfulness meditation to make room and hold space for others professionally and personally. This is an unusual time for me as a therapist, to be experiencing the same events, similar stressors and emotions as all my clients all at the same time.

I am very thankful for the MBSR class and the Saturday graduate meditations/book club.  There have been many changes in my household since March 2020, as everyone has experienced. Having this as a part of my self-care routine has been very helpful and grounding.  I have been using guided meditations at the end of each work day. It has helped a lot with transitioning from being present at work to being present with family. Since working from home, I no longer have the commute to process and pack up my workday. I  open my office door at home and family life concerns are immediately waiting for me. It gives me the pause I need to transition from one mental space to another. Meditation also has been filling me back up when it’s been a rough day and helps me think about what I want to change for a better tomorrow.”

Has this practice changed the way you live or your outlook on life?

“Yes, it has helped me pause more often and notice pleasant and unpleasant moments. I notice how much I am on autopilot and try to be more present.  Mindfulness also has helped me to pause and respond instead of react. I have also been working on savoring the good things that occur instead of waiting for the next bad thing to happen, reducing my anxieties.”

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