Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor
Hi, I’m Allison and I am managing and overcoming anxiety with mindfulness. I was born and raised in Iowa. I moved away for a few years, then returned to Des Moines in 2008 to settle and raise a family. I have two amazingly smart and beautiful children and a supportive, driven, and loving husband.
In 2015, I decided to follow a passion of mine and started a small business devoted to teaching mindfulness through Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), private coaching and workshops.
In 2013, I hit a point in my life where I was very stressed and experienced huge amounts of anxiety. I was working full time at a very busy job that had many distractions where constant multi-tasking was required, which I quickly realized that multi-tasking is not something humans excel at; computers multi-task, we should not! Our kids were 3 and 6 at the time. My husband accepted a promotion at work where it required him to travel a good portion of the time. I had a lot on my plate and realized I wasn’t responding to stressors with any skill at all. I would be so quick to anger and yell reflexively when the kids would act up. I knew I was not making enough time for myself to decompress, or find activities that would replenish what I had lost in all the busyness. I was running on complete auto-pilot, and I knew it, but couldn’t figure out how to get off the proverbial treadmill. The tipping point was when I began to experience alarming physical symptoms from the never ending busyness of life.
I would lie down for bed at night, wanting desperately to relax and fall asleep, and would feel my heart racing, beating upwards of 85+ beats per minute. (My normal resting rate was about 55.) I also started having tightness and heaviness in my chest, increased sweating, trouble staying asleep, and acne flare ups to name a few. I ignored the anxiety symptoms for a few months, hoping they would just go away on their own, yet I intrinsically knew I needed to intervene myself and make significant life changes.
I have always been a very active, fit and healthy individual, and these symptoms I was having frightened and shook me to the core. Talking to my doctor, she hooked me up to an EKG to make sure I wasn’t actually having heart problems, which I wasn't, and told me I had anxiety. I decided to make some life changes, which lead me to MBSR: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. I also took anti-anxiety medication for about 6 months, saw a mental health therapist, and learned how to say "No." to things that didn't serve me well. The combination is what got me out of the hole. I’ve had a regular practice of mindfulness ever since.
After the first MBSR session that included an eating meditation of two tiny raisins, I was fascinated and intrigued at the fact of how “mindless” I had been in my life and how often I operated on auto-pilot. I learned that there is an entire untouched level of awareness that I had never discovered until that first week. The 8-week course was literally life changing for me. After about a month of disciplined training, carving out precious time to devote to awareness practice and self-care, my physical anxiety symptoms were significantly reduced, I was less emotionally reactive, and just felt better. This practice is uniquely special in that it’s not just another thing to add to my To Do list, it’s something that can be infused in daily life.
Through experiencing mindfulness directly,
we can change the way we live from the inside out.
Allison trained at UMass Center for Mindfulness, founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD and the Mindfulness Center at Brown University. She is trained through Mindful Schools and is also a certified Buteyko Breathing Method and registered yoga instructor (RYT200).
MBSR is the most scientifically researched mindfulness program available.
INCREASE MENTAL PERFORMANCE
MBSR may lead to structural changes in the brain that can increase mental performance.
Respond wisely rather than react habitually to stressors and difficulty.
Cultivate self-awareness, improve communication skills and improve self-analysis skills.
Quick Mindfulness Facts
MINDFULNESS MAY KEEP BRAINS YOUNG
A study by Dr. Eileen Luders at UCLA School of Medicine, published in Neurolmage, shows that long-term mindfulness practitioners have greater brain volume, stronger neural connections, and less atrophy than non-practitioners. This suggests mindfulness may keep brains young and even help prevent dementia. Vol 45, Issue 3, Apil 15, 2009: Pg 672-678
MINDFULNESS REDUCES IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
A 2010 Swedish study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry finds that 10 weeks of mindfulness training results in a 50% reduction of IBS symptoms, as well as other positive outcomes. Sep;41(3):185-90
MINDFULNESS REDUCES STRESS
A study conducted by Britta Holzel at Massachusetts General Hospital, and published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neroscience, finds that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction can lead to structural changes in the amygdala, a brain structure that plays a crucial role in stress responses. Vol. 5, Issue 1: Pg 11-17
MINDFULNESS MAY INCREASE IMMUNE FUNCTION
Regular mindfulness meditation produces demonstrable effects on brain and immune function. Meditation may change brain and immune function in positive ways and underscore the need for additional research. R. Davidson, J. Kabat-Zinn. Psychosomatic Medicine 65:564 –570 (2003)
Allison, your positive attitude and demeanor is so, so welcoming. Your passion is evident as is your compassion.
- Winter 2021
Allison has found her calling. She is so gifted as a gentle guide/teacher, and has such a beautiful, welcoming and inclusive presence. It is so obvious that she completely believes in what she is doing and teaching, and how excited she is about the possibilities for her students that she just wants everyone to have this gift. Thank you, Allison, for sharing your knowledge, your stories, your deep wisdom.
I feel more hopeful about my life, and life in our world in general.
- Summer 2021
Allison, through her engaging and joyful presence and her knowledge of mindfulness-based meditation, will lead you to a place of contentment, peace, and greater awareness. You will marvel at how much richer life can be if you practice the various forms of meditation she teaches.
Don’t wait to experience these benefits!
- Winter 2021