Mind Body Program for Improved Health and Resiliency

Stress management supports good health for everyone, but it’s especially important for people dealing with chronic illness, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders or autoimmune disease. Stress can be both a catalyst and a byproduct of illness: The body’s stress response system suppresses the immune system, raises blood pressure, slows digestion and causes inflammation. Research shows that mind-body techniques including meditation, mindful awareness and yoga along with sound sleep and good nutrition can alleviate medical symptoms and promote wellbeing.

A new research study seeks volunteers with chronic conditions to help determine the effectiveness of teaching people with chronic conditions to self-manage stress. Starting January 16, the study -- Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) for People with Chronic Conditions -- provides eight weekly, two-hour group sessions teaching relaxation meditation and techniques for improving sleep, physical activity and nutrition.

Volunteers will meet Tuesday evenings at UVM Medical Center and will learn how to recognize personal patterns of response to stress and how to change thought patterns from stress-based to reliance-based thinking. The UVM Medical Center Fund will cover the cost of the sessions, valued at $550, for all participants, and the sessions are confidential.

Study leader Jane Nathan, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the UVM Larner College of Medicine, conducted an earlier study pointing to the SMART training as a valuable model to reduce stress and job burnout among healthcare professionals. Nathan works with Evelyn Sikorski, manager of Employee Wellness at the UVM Medical Center, and Cara Feldman Hunt, program manager of UVM Integrative Health, to build a sustainable unified program of stress management and resiliency for the UVM community.


Dr. Nathan will describe the SMART model and share results from the pilot study at a free event on January 3, 6:00-7:30 p.m. at UVM Medical Center’s Davis Auditorium.

For more information about SMART or to participate in the study, call (820) 847-1089 or email stressmanagement@uvmhealth.org.



Janet Lynn Essman Franz
Participants will learn self-care interventions that can change patterns of response to stress.