Elburn resident teaches stress-reduction techniques
Photo: Elburn resident Carl Klemaier, a licensed clinical professional counselor and the founder of Mindful Plus, will present an introduction to mindfulness meditation at Vital Chiropractic, 108 Valley Drive, Suite F, on Wednesday, April 30, at 6 p.m. Meditation is just one part of Klemaier’s four-part stress reduction program. Photo by Lynn Logan
ELBURN—Looking for a way to reduce the stress of everyday life?
Carl Klemaier, a licensed clinical professional counselor and the founder of Mindful Plus, will present an introduction to mindfulness meditation at Vital Chiropractic, 108 Valley Drive, Suite F, on Wednesday, April 30, at 6 p.m.
The meditation is part of Klemaier’s four-part stress reduction program, which also includes dealing with negative emotions or “shadows,” caring for the body through nutrition and wellness, and accessing positive emotions and gratitude.
“Mindfulness meditation is very popular now, and in order to make it work, we have to deal with all four parts of our minds,” Klemaier said. “The part that is hard is the negative emotions—regret, shame, anger—and you have to learn to work with those. On the positive emotion side, we have wonder, generosity, all the things that make life worthwhile, and we have to access it.”
The free presentation will introduce the basic concepts, and interested participants can sign up for Klemaier’s stress reduction program. Klemaier, an Elburn resident, has a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Illinois at Springfield and has worked as a mental health counselor for 20 years.
Though mindfulness meditation has its roots in Buddhist tradition—Buddha is believed to have become wise by meditating for 49 consecutive days—it is now a secular practice widely used in the Western world. The practice trains the mind to focus on the here and now, to focus on a task and to avoid distraction.
It’s become increasingly popular over the past decade, as nearly 100 clinical trials have been published in scientific journals since 2005.
The studies have demonstrated meditation’s ability to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, calm emotions, improve focus, improve the efficiency of the brain, and even improve students’ standardized test scores. Earlier this year, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation was as effective as anti-depressants at improving anxiety and depression symptoms.
Klemaier has been practicing meditation for over 35 years. He became interested while studying philosophy in college in the 1960s, during “the first flowerings of yoga,” and began meditating after studying Buddhist philosophy. He often incorporates yoga into his stress reduction program, he said, as part of the focus on taking care of the body.
While regular meditation has been shown to help relieve moderate anxiety, both in adults and children, it isn’t intended to treat clinical depression or more serious forms of anxiety.
“It’s not meant as a substitute for psychotherapy,” Klemaier said.
Despite its seeming simplicity, quality meditation can be difficult to achieve without guidance, he said.
“People are told to meditate, and it seems so mindlessly simple, but in five minutes you start to think about your need to pick up your child,” Klemaier said. “People need some kind of discipline. If you want to be a good jogger, or good at yoga, or good at anything, you need to practice and get good at it. So I thought (a course) would be a way to get people introduced to a disciplined approach, to make it a complete approach.”
That complete approach focuses on reducing several very different types of stress, from financial stress to emotional stress. Klemaier uses Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—a framework that suggests some needs, such as the need for hunger or safety, must be fulfilled before higher needs, such as love and self-actualization, can be addressed—to help clients better understand and manage their stress.
“If you are looking to learn how to have a more contented life, a life filled with a little more joy and connection to people, a more free-breathing life, this might be a way to learn a process to create that,” he said.
To learn more about Mindful Meditation Plus, visit www.mind-heart-body-plus.com.