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Patient Stories

Greg’s Story:

“Now I have the tools to cope…”

Before he retired from his hectic 40-year career as a restaurant chef and private chef, Greg Williamson had pursued meditation classes and yoga throughout the past decade to calm his anxiety and to help him cope with the stresses of caring for his elderly mother.

In 2021, the 10-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class at the Mindfulness Center “really hit home and tied together all of the concepts and modalities I had already learned and still needed to learn,” he says. “Some people can go through life and not worry about anything. I worry about the world and the planet and the people in it. Learning to cope with those things is the most important thing for me now, and now I have the tools.”

The most beneficial concepts he’s embraced from MBSR? Kindness. Awareness. Being nonjudgmental.

“Before I learned mindfulness, my tendency was always to react in a negative way. Now I can deal with my anxiety in the day-to-day world,” he says. “When I start to feel those feelings again, I know I need to get back my practice of mindfulness. The biggest lesson that was reinforced during Sheila Griffin’s class was the practice of learning to pause before reacting, especially with my mom.

“There’s so much modern science now that supports the benefits of mindfulness,” he adds. “I would have driven anywhere in Palm Beach County to take this class. I feel fortunate that Jupiter Medical Center offers it and embraces it as an important resource.”

-Greg, Jupiter FL

Heather’s Story

“Slow myself down…”

If she begins to feel stressed at work, Heather relies on all the self-help resources she’s learned at Jupiter Medical Center’s Mindfulness Center to calm down, refocus, re-energize and get back to work with a positive outlook.

Several years ago, she began attending classes in mindfulness, yoga, painting and body movement after hearing rave reviews and positive results from her coworkers at Jupiter, where she is a lead financial analyst. “Just hearing about their experiences made me want to go check it out for myself,” Heather says. “Now I take advantage of almost everything I can.”

In addition to in-person classes and training, she takes advantage of a virtual 15-minute body movement/relaxation class held daily for employees, and a yoga class via Zoom on Tuesday evenings.

“When I start to get really upset or excited about something, I’ve learned to stop myself and do some of the breathing exercises and mindfulness practices to calm me down so I can function again,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll take a walk in the hospital garden to slow myself down and appreciate everything around me.”

-Heather, Palm Beach Gardens

Liz’s Story:

“A real eye-opening experience”

Until she signed up for the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Class at Jupiter Medical Center, Liz Thomas had never paid close attention to how stressed and distracted she could become.

“From the get-go, I loved it,” says Liz, an acute-care nurse at the medical center. “Nursing can get so task-oriented, and we’re often doing several things at once. Mindfulness taught me to be more aware of doing one thing well and then moving on. I was amazed at what some of the mindfulness exercises taught me about awareness of my own body and what’s going on internally.”

At work, the mindfulness philosophy helps her understand and relate to her coworkers, patients, and their families because of the deeper understanding she has gained of herself.

“Even though I took the class three years ago, I have incorporated what I learned into a lot of things in my daily life,” Liz says. “I still practice mindfulness. I still pay attention to my body. If I start to get stressed, I can pull myself together and focus on ny breath as a safe place.”

-Liz, Jupiter, FL

Sue’s Story:

“I’m OK now”

“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer a second time in 2009, I endured 13 months of intense treatment and lingering side effects. I was in pain most of the time.

“My oncologist predicted an 80% chance of recovery, but I’m at 100% now. I attribute my well-being today to mindfulness and yoga.

“The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course changed me by being with other people and sharing their energy. It reduced my pain dramatically and it made my life much better.

“I now do yoga every day, and if I feel stressed, I can do 10-15 minutes of a mindfulness practice and it’s like I’m a different person. It’s like … ahhhhh, I’m OK now.”

-Sue, Jupiter FL