Research shows that practicing mindfulness can reduce stress-related symptoms such as worry, depression and physical tension, and may help manage chronic conditions such as cardiac disease and diabetes. MSU Extension offers a variety of mental health and stress reduction programs that encourage the use mindfulness and other self-care skills to help you feel better and enjoy life more.

To learn more about any of these programs, contact MSU Extension educator Holly Tiret or check out our calendar of mindfulness events.

Mindfulness for Parents and Caregivers: Helping Kids Manage Stress

This workshop is designed to introduce basic mindfulness concepts, activities and publications to parents and caregivers of young children. Participants will learn the benefits of mindfulness for both children and adults as well as explore ways to teach children mindfulness.  

Mindful Educators 

Mindful Educators is a workshop that dives deeper into the fundamentals of mindfulness, builds a foundation to develop the educator’s own personal practice, discusses the benefits for children in the classroom and introduces techniques and literature to help integrate mindfulness activities into classroom for elementary, middle and teenage students.

Teaching Kids Mindful Eating

This workshop is for any parent, grandparent or other caregiver who would like to learn about how mindfulness can help children develop healthy eating habits for life. Topics covered in this workshop include learning the benefits of eating with mindfulness, increasing awareness of portion sizes for young children and practicing mindful eating. During the workshop, we will share activities and children’s books to teach the concepts of mindful eating.

Mindfully Feeding Infants and Toddlers

Food is so much more than just fuel. Mealtime routines not only build strong relationships with people, but also a healthy relationship to food. During this workshop, participants will explore research on parenting styles, mindfulness and temperament and learn how those factors can lead to responsive feeding of infants and toddlers.

Stress Less with Mindfulness: Begin with a Breath

Our stress cues can be signals for us to take a breath and engage in some mindful moments. This lesson is an introduction to mindfulness and the benefits of it. Topics include learning how stress affects our brain, exploring your personal resilience to stress and experiencing mindful breathing and mindful movement practices.

Stress Less with Mindfulness: Mindful Eating

Mindful eating can change our relationship with food and eating. This lesson will help participants learn benefits of eating with mindful awareness, create a personal hunger/fullness scale as a guide for sensing when and how much to eat and pay mindful attention to eating.

Stress Less: Mindful Walking and Thought Surfing

This lesson focuses on using mindfulness to bring you into the present moment of walking and thinking. Mindful walking is a way to practice moving without a goal or intention. It  simply means walking while being aware of each step and of our breath. Thought surfing helps us find the calm underneath the waves to help us return to our calm center and step back from negative thinking. During this lesson, participants will learn to identify how letting go of control can improve mental and physical happiness.

Stress Less: Be Kind to Your Mind

Mindfulness gives us the ability to observe our thoughts from an outside perspective. Develop your “detached observer” to put some distance between you and the drama in your mind.

This lesson will focus on using mindfulness to help you learn to pay mindful attention to your thoughts, learn the importance of self-compassion, how to "de-fuse" harsh thinking and harness the power of acceptance and gratitude to relieve stress.

Stress Less: Laughter is the Best Medicine

Humor has been clinically proven to be effective in combating stress. This lesson will focus on using mindful laughter to help improve your health physically, mentally and socially. Experience laughing for the health of it, and learn ways to include laughter in your life.

RELAX: Alternatives to Anger

Social and emotional health encompasses forming and maintaining satisfying and healthful relationships, taking another's perspective, resolving interpersonal conflict, feeling capable and whole, expressing emotions, navigating stress and having supportive relationships. RELAX: Alternatives to Anger has four lessons to help participants increase knowledge and skills in dealing with anger and stress. Lesson topics include learning anger triggers, finding ways to calm down, problem solving through conflict and forgiveness.  

RELAX for Parents and Caregivers: Understanding Development of Self-Control in Young Children

Early childhood is an ideal time to teach concepts of self-worth, self-control and seeing how our behaviors affect those around us. During this workshop, we will discuss anger and strong emotion in infants, toddlers and preschoolers. This workshop will give you tools that you can put into practice immediately in your daily interactions with the children you care for.