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Deb Eckheart

Deb Eckheart

Deb Eckheart wants to offer folks a chance to hone their tools in their own wellness toolbox through a series of classes coming up at Sapphire Community Health in Hamilton.

“Sometimes you get stuck using the same tool for everything and it doesn’t always work,” said Eckheart, a licensed clinical social worker. “Sometime our tools get rusty or we forget that we have them. And then there are ones we don’t even know anything about.”

In a series of eight classes starting on April 5, Eckheart will offer participants a chance to explore ways to deal with stress, discover new techniques to release tension and learn new methods to face worry and anxiety.

“These won’t be therapy sessions,” Eckheart said. “It will be an opportunity to learn new skills that can help people become more resilient.”

While not all stress is bad, dealing with it over a long period of time can harm a person’s overall health.

Stress is the basic cause of 60 percent of all human illness and disease, with three out of four doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments, according to the American Institute of Stress. Stress related ailments cost the nation $300 billion every year in medical bills and lost productivity.

If people don’t find a way to manage their stress, it can lead to serious health problems by increasing risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke, as well as mental disorders like depression and anxiety.

The National Institute of Mental Health said about 18 percent of adults in this country is impacted by anxiety disorders and another 8 percent deal with depression.

Sapphire Community Health’s new series of wellness classes are designed to increase emotional resilience, rewire your brain for happiness, manage chronic pain and discover more self-acceptance, contentment and inner peace, Eckheart said.

“I see a need to provide a variety of mental health resources in our community and overcome the stigma around accessing mental health services,” Eckheart said.

Classes will be offered on Fridays from 10 to 11 a.m.

Eckheart said she would consider offering the classes during the evening if there is enough interest.

Each class costs $10 or $50 for all eight. Reservations can be made by calling 541-0032.

The following class schedule includes:

April 5 — Relaxation and Stress Management Overview: Identify how you react to stress, learn about the fight or flight response, and explore tactics for handling stress.

April 12 — Mindfulness and Body Awareness: Learn how the mind and body interact and how to recognize tension in your body. Practice techniques to release tension and reduce symptoms of stress and pain through breath work, mindfulness and relaxation exercises.

April 19 — Developing Alternative Emotional and Thought Responses: Recognize how your thoughts influence your feelings, physical sensations and behavior. Uncover some of the thoughts that contribute to unhappiness and learn ways to refute distressing thoughts.

April 26 — Facing Worry and Anxiety: Identify and change worry behaviors associated with anxiety by facing them so that they lose their power to frighten you. Engage in realistic risk assessment and solve problems effectively.

May 4 — Coping Skills for Training Fears: Feel calmer and more capable when anticipating stressful events by learning how to relax before and during stressful situations. Counteract anxious thoughts in stressful situations with coping thoughts.

May 11 — Increasing Emotional Resilience and Self-Acceptance: Increase memories of human goodness, learn how to practice self-compassion and improve self-care.

May 18 — Healing Unworthiness and Shame: Learn about the causes of unworthiness to undo self-blame. Understand the ways unworthiness and shame live in the body and mind and how to release the imprint of shame.

May 25 — Trauma-informed Mindfulness Stretching: Increase contentment and inner peace by enjoying the present moment and choosing gratitude and contentment for what is. Come in comfortable clothing. Poses can be performed in a chair or on a yoga mat; bring a mat if you prefer stretching on the floor.

Sapphire Community Health also offers primary care for infants to adults, immunizations and well-child services, preventative medicine, psychiatric services, addiction services, pain management, physicals, laboratory services and treats acute and chronic illness. They are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – noon and 1 – 5 p.m. The office is located at 316 N. 3rd St., in Hamilton.