HOLMDEL, NJ – Hoping to reduce and manage stress, but don’t know where to start? Bell Works-based Josh Wright is hosting a user-friendly Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for residents of all experience levels.

Sponsored by Holmdel Township’s Recreation Department, the 8-week class runs from Sept. 15 to Nov. 3 on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The class meets virtually once a week on Tuesday evenings.

The MBSR helps to manage stress through a combination of informal mindfulness exercises, formal sitting meditation, light yoga and group discussion, according to Wright’s website. The program is taught in hospitals and community centers globally to treat everything from chronic pain to anxiety and depression, but it’s definitely not just for individuals with medical conditions.

In fact, Wright says that if pandemic-related stress is getting you down, you’re certainly not alone:

“In more stable times, people get in ruts. They don’t even know how much stress they’re under. Part of the process of the course is ‘oh wow, this thing really bothers me,” Wright tells Patch. “Uncertainty and stress, it’s here. People are more aware of it now, people are aware that they’re in need. There’s definitely a higher receptivity level to the material.”

The 20-year industry veteran and Harvard-educated teacher has been partnering with the recreation department since March 2020 when he launched his inaugural meditation class amid the start of the coronavirus pandemic. While class swiftly transitioned virtually (the course was initially taught at Bell Works), Wright says that virtual meditation has proved to be beneficial for many residents:

“Initially, there was a lot of concern over ‘is it worth doing classes online, a lot of wondering,” Wright told Patch. “But what we realized is that this is the only way to help people who actually need this, right now. The universal response has been amazing. Everyone is amazed by how well this program translates online. It also increases access: people don’t have to commute, which is great.”

The MBSR course is eligible for reimbursement by some health insurance plans and health savings accounts. Wright is even offering a free introductory course for those wanting to try their hand at meditation.

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This article originally appeared on the Holmdel-Hazlet Patch