(STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA / February 3, 2021) – The Stillwater Public Library’s “Be Mindful” course is now open for registration on the library’s webpage. The self-paced, four-week course is part of the library’s stress-reduction health literacy efforts made possible through a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The course takes place online via emails sent 2-3 times each week that include short instructional videos, activities to complete, and longer practice sessions on how to use mindfulness techniques for stress reduction.

“Mindfulness involves strategies for staying rooted in the present,” said DeLano. “The techniques can help us reduce the amount of time we spend ruminating on the past or worrying about the future, both of which can increase stress.”

The “Be Mindful” module was developed in response to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service search for options to provide self-paced methods that reduce issues such as stress. The course has been approved by the NHS and is actively promoted on its website. It has also been the subject of several peer-reviewed studies and was found to provide decreased levels of stress that sustained over time.

According to the Mayo Clinic and the American Psychological Association, long-term stress has been linked to heart disease, memory and concentration impairment, digestive problems, diabetes, immune disorders, inflammation, obesity, depression, and anxiety.

“Stress is a problem that has negatively affected the health of many American citizens for decades,” said Stacy DeLano, Library Director. “While the strategies participants learn in this course can be useful in managing pandemic-related stress, the techniques also will be applicable to the general stress we experience every day.”

DeLano cautions participants not to consider the course as medical treatment for these stress-related health conditions.

“The programs are not a replacement for professional assistance or medication,” DeLano said. 

The free program is limited to 100 participants. To sign-up, register on the library webpage at library.stillwater.org. Information needed to access the module will be sent to registrants on Tuesday, March 2. 

Participation requires an email address and use of a computer, tablet, or smartphone with internet access. Community members interested in the program, but lacking any of these components can contact the Help Desk for participation options at (405) 372-3633 x8106 or askalibrarian@stillwater.org.

The library has numerous books and eBooks on mindfulness and other stress-reduction techniques, several of which can be seen on display at the library. Librarians can also help locate books on specific wellbeing topics and provide information about local mental health resources.

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries’ health literacy grant project is a nationally recognized program started to help improve Oklahoma’s low health ranking by providing health information programming through public libraries. The opinions and content of activities and materials do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries or IMLS, and no official endorsement should be inferred.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.