I am honored to be a part of the events listed below. In the case of multi-day events, I have indicated the days of my presentation. Visit the event link to view dates, location and registration information.
The 2018 Fire Hero Family Wellness conference is open to spouses, life partners, parents, adult children and siblings of fallen firefighters honored at the National Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland. This conference will focus on finding peace and hope after loss through kindness and connections as well as provide insight into physical and mental self-care and self-compassion. Heather Stang will be leading two workshops:
MEDITATION FOR GRIEF, Tuesday, April 10 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Meditation can be one of your greatest allies when you are grieving, and learning how is easier than you think! During this workshop you will sample a variety of meditation techniques designed to relax your body, calm your mind, and cope with difficult emotions. You will also learn how to weave moments of mindfulness into your busy schedule, and cultivate a daily practice that will have life-long health and wellness benefits. Tuesday, April 10 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
SELF-COMPASSION AS SELF-CARE FOR GRIEF, Monday, April 9 from 10:15 am – 12:15 pm
Tending to our own suffering with kindness is often placed on the back burner. Some of us can’t even imagine what it would be like to have the time, energy, and wherewithal to take care of ourselves – especially when we are faced with grief. During this workshop we will explore the three principles of self-compassion, and discover how to apply them to your daily life so you can become your own best friend.
There is space for 100 attendees, on a first-come, first-served basis or until March 16, 2018. For more information about this event, please contact Beverly Donlon at (301) 447-1603.
National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, Management and Leadership Conference Preconference Seminar. On any given day, hospice and palliative care professionals face challenges in the workplace that range from emotionally draining to incredibly enriching—often simultaneously. As the landscape of healthcare changes, the challenges of leadership are unlikely to let up. Faced with the choice to wither or flourish under mounting pressure, there is no time like the present to learn how subtle adjustments to your mind, body, and actions can help you thrive.
During this participatory workshop, leaders, executives and managers will learn how to harness the power of mindfulness in just minutes a day—building resilience, leadership excellence, and equanimity in the face of adversity. No incense or special clothes are required; these simple techniques can be applied in-the-moment and on the job, increasing your ability to savor the little things while reigniting your passion for your very important work.
Preconference Dates: April 21-22, 2018. Main Conference: April 23-25, 2018.
Concurrent session offered Thursday, April 26 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm in room Butler E & W
In this session, I will use case studies to illustrate how the practice of mindfulness-based techniques, such as meditation, yoga and guided journaling prompts help bereaved people steady their mind, relax their body, and reengage with life after loss – a daunting task for many. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment with an attitude of equanimity. It cultivates the ability to stay calm even in the midst of pain.
Rather than running away from the pain of grief or obsessing over it, the mindfulness practitioner is taught to take refuge in the experience of the present moment using the six senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and awareness. This steadies the mind, and clears the way for insights that contribute to meaning making, posttraumatic growth and transformation. It has been proven to reverse the harmful effects of stress and even reduce physical pain.
I will offer case studies from the online and in person Meditation for Grief Groups that I facilitate, and illustrate how formal and informal mindfulness-based practices may help bereaved people change self-defeating physical and mental habits, cultivate compassion and forgiveness for the self and others, offer skillful means to cope with the dual process of grief, receive insight into their natural wisdom and resilience, continue the legacy of their loved one, improve physical health and increase self-efficacy. Workshop attendees will be exposed to research detailing mindfulness-based interventions for physical and emotional symptoms related to bereavement, and learn to concept of skillful means – using the right mindfulness-based tools at the right time.
- Explain how mindfulness practices, including present moment awareness and compassion, can be used to relieve physical and emotional suffering.
- Outline specific meditation, yoga, and guided journaling techniques that enhance the ability to connect with the body’s wisdom.
- Review case studies that illustrate how the practice of mindfulness meditation and yoga contributes to meaning making and posttraumatic growth.
In a world where multi-tasking, digital distractions and continuous partial attention are the norm, it is challenging for 21st century leaders to find the time, energy and creativity to innovate. Fortunately, the practice of mindfulness – paying attention to the present moment with an attitude of open awareness – can wire your brain for leadership excellence even when you work in the trenches as a hospital physician, nurse or administrator.
During this workshop, you will learn simple yet powerful mindfulness-based exercises that will cultivate the four fundamentals of leadership excellence: focus, clarity, creativity and compassion. Learn to lead from a place of choice, based on your values and expertise, rather than reactivity. You may also experience better health, a deeper connection with others, and a greater satisfaction with life – at work and at home.
Heather will be a featured guest on Gerontologist Holley Kelley’s radio show, Aging GreatFULLy. Heather and Holley will discuss mindfulness, aging, and more. You can tune in LIVE on Friday, September 2nd, 2016. The air times are 11 a.m. PT / noon MT / 1 p.m. CT / 2 p.m. ET.
Mindfulness & Yoga Based Interventions for Grief. This fall the Chesapeake Life Center is introducing a day-long event entitled “Grief in the 21st Century”. Dr. Katherine Shear will be the keynote speaker, speaking on the topic of complicated grief. The Chesapeake Life Center is a service of Hospice of the Chesapeake in Anne Arundel and Prince Georges Counties, Maryland, and provides grief and trauma support and education to children, adults, families and members of the community.
Heather will review evidence based literature and offer case examples to illustrate how mindfulness and yoga can be applied as a grief intervention for acute symptoms including anxiety, depression, insomnia and somatic disturbances. Best practices for developing partnerships with yoga and mindfulness teachers in your community will also be explored.
. . . a free, bilingual, and confidential program that connects caregivers and family members to information and support through the telephone or “tele-learning”. The Caregiver Teleconnection provides learning sessions on a variety of useful topics, hosted over the phone by professional facilitators and experts. Family caregivers have the opportunity to connect and share with others in their situation during the sessions.
Heather will lead a Self-Compassion workshop for participants in the Advances and Innovations in Bereavement Care group. She will also offer three early morning self-care meditation practices, which are open to all NHPCO Intensive participants, including:
Self-Compassion: Managing Personal Loss in a Professional World: As bereavement professionals, we choose to provide whole-hearted care to those who are in need of compassion. However, tending to our own suffering is often placed on the back burner. Even when faced with our own personal loss and hardships, we often turn away from our grief and “push through” the pain. This can overwhelm our stress response system and in turn contribute to depression, anxiety, stress-related illnesses, and even lead to professional burnout. This workshop will explore how self-compassion—in other words, simply treating ourselves as we would a beloved friend—can help us manage our difficult emotions, reduce our suffering, and exemplify self-care for both clients and colleagues alike. Not only will you experience a guided self-compassion meditation and review current research on this crucial topic, but you’ll leave with simple strategies to make self-compassion part of your daily life.
Early Morning Self-Care Meditation Classes:
- Monday: Relaxation Response Meditation for Anxiety, Grief & Stress: Focus-based meditation that reverses the negative effects of stress.
- Tuesday: Compassion & Lovingkindness Meditation: Heart-based meditation that cultivates self-compassion and acknowledges that all beings want to be happy, safe and free from suffering.
- Wednesday: Intensives Integration Meditation: Contemplative meditation during which participants will reflect on their experience at the Intensives, explore how the experience relates to their life and commit to an action step based on their experience.
The holiday are considered the most joyous time of year for most! But for some, they are a challenging time following the loss of a loved one; or for those in a state of grief or bereavement.
“I am excited to host this show near and dear to my heart and have invited field expert and one of my favorite professional colleagues, Heather Stang to join me in bringing this all-important topic to listeners!” said Holley Kelley of the Aging GreatFULLy Podcast.
Keynote: Transform Suffering to Hope: Coping With Grief In The Wake of Personal & Public Tragedy
We don’t need to look at the FBI statistics to know that mass shootings and domestic terrorism are on the rise. Repetitive exposure to these traumatic events via television and social media can trigger psychological distress, especially when we feel there is nothing we can do to help. If left unexamined, the difficult emotions that arise in the wake of tragedy can negatively impact our health, our relationships, and our ability to serve and support our clients and colleagues. This is the bad news.
The good news is that if we skillfully turn toward our suffering, rather than suppress it, we can transform any difficult emotion into compassion. In turn, that compassion becomes inspired action that motivates us serve our clients, our community, and ourselves in a more whole-hearted and helpful way. We can even improve our health and feel more connected to our loved ones, those we serve, and the world at large.
During this inspiring keynote, author Heather Stang will illustrate how mindfulness-based compassion practices can transform empathic distress into hope, connectivity, and action that is rooted in our shared human desire to be happy, safe, and free from suffering. Through motivational stories, a look at evidence-based best practices, and a brief period of guided meditation, attendees will learn how to be the spark and tend to global suffering with transformational loving-kindness and compassion.
Mindfulness & Grief: Self-Compassion as Self-Care
If you can not attend this conference in person, this session will be available as a live web-cast.
As bereavement professionals, we choose to provide whole-hearted care to those who are in need of compassion. However, tending to our own suffering is often placed on the back burner. Even when faced with our own personal loss and hardships, we often turn away from our grief and “push through” the pain. This can overwhelm our stress response system and in turn contribute to depression, anxiety, stress-related illnesses, and even lead to professional burnout.
As hard as it may seem, we can tend to our own suffering using self-compassion techniques that are rooted in ancient spiritual practices and proven effective by contemporary research. Once we apply the “oxygen mask” to ourselves as professionals, we can then use the same techniques to support our bereaved clients who might be struggling with feelings of guilt, loneliness and low self-efficacy.
This session will explore how self-compassion—in other words, simply treating ourselves as we would a beloved friend—can help us manage our difficult emotions, reduce our suffering, and exemplify self-care for both clients and colleagues alike. The presenter will review current self-compassion literature as it pertains to grief and professional burnout, discuss mindfulness-based interventions, and review a handful of case studies that will illustrate how self-compassion can support the bereaved client and grief professional alike.
Concurrent Session 3: In a world where multi-tasking, digital distractions and continuous partial attention are the norm, it is challenging for 21st century leaders to find the time, energy and creativity to innovate. Fortunately, the practice of mindfulness – paying attention to the present moment with an attitude of open awareness – can wire your brain for leadership excellence despite the chaos – and even help with self-care. During this session, you will be introduced to mindfulness-based exercises that will help cultivate focus and insight, so you can lead from a place of choice, rather than reactivity. Learning Objectives:
- Define mindfulness and give examples of formal and informal practices
- Discuss the history and benefits of practicing mindfulness for leadership excellence
- Experience mindfulness-based techniques at work to cultivate focus, clarity, creativity and compassion
“Each Memorial Day, our country remembers those who have served and died. As our country reflects on the costs of freedom, we come together to tell the stories of patriots. We name our heroes, celebrate their lives and decide again to live bigger and better on their behalf.” – TAPS.org
The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) Annual National Military Survivor Seminar takes place each Memorial Day weekend in Arlington. People who are grieving the death of a loved one in the military, whether a family member, friend or fellow service member, are invited and encouraged to attend the National Military Survivor Seminar. No matter where you are in your grief journey, support and connection await you.
Heather will be offering three workshops during the event: Drawing your Griefscape, Relaxation and Compassion Meditation for Grief, and The Power Of Being Kind: Self-Compassion As Self-Care for Grief.
Heather will be offering the closing keynote, Mindfulness In the Trenches: Self-Care for the Palliative Caregiver. This event is open to medical professionals, therapists, and other people seeking training and CEUs.
Palliative care professionals choose to provide whole-hearted care to those with life-limiting illnesses. However, tending to our own suffering is often placed on the back burner. Even when faced with our own personal loss and hardships, we often turn away from our suffering and attempt to “push through” the pain. This can overwhelm our stress response system and in turn contribute to depression, anxiety, stress-related illnesses, and even lead to professional burnout.
As hard as it may seem, we can tend to our own suffering using self-compassion techniques that are rooted in ancient spiritual practices, and proven effective by contemporary research. Once we apply the “oxygen mask” to ourselves, we can model and even share these techniques with our patients and their families, empowering them to remove some of the suffering from their pain.
This session will explore how self-compassion—in other words, simply treating ourselves as we would a beloved friend—can help us manage our difficult emotions, reduce our suffering, and exemplify self-care for both patients and colleagues alike. The presenter will review current self-compassion literature as it pertains professional burnout, discuss mindfulness-based interventions, and share a case study that will illustrate how self-compassion can support palliative care professionals and patients alike.