In-Person Event

John Stoddard Cancer Center - Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

WHATThis evidence based, non-clinical (i.e. not group therapy) course is designed to teach mind-body awareness, recognize and put to use our inner psy


This evidence based, non-clinical (i.e. not group therapy) course is designed to teach mind-body awareness, recognize and put to use our inner psychological resources to respond to toxic stress, increase stress hardiness, focus, creativity, regulate emotions, and allow a greater sense of self-care and well-being.


Cancer patients, survivors and caregivers


September 3 - October 29, 2024

Tuesdays 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Silent retreat: October 20 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

** All sessions are required.


Central Fellowship Hall, Des Moines


$100 deposit refunded after completion of course (scholarships may be available)

If you are a cancer patient, survivor or caregiver, register by calling 515-241-8505. Registration is required and space is limited. Please read through course material at Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction | From Within Wellness before registering.

About the Course

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction – MBSR

Although stress is at the cause of many physical illnesses and psychological disorders, it is not often diagnosed or treated at the root level. There are very few resources that effectively treat stress as a condition. MBSR is an 8-week intensive course, backed by 40 years of research, proven to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Utilizing curriculum developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD at UMASS Center for Mindfulness, this non-clinical (i.e. not group therapy) course is designed to teach mind-body awareness, recognize and put to use our inner psychological resources to respond to toxic stress, increase stress hardiness, focus, creativity, regulate emotions, and allow a greater sense of self-care and well-being. No prior mindfulness/meditation experience necessary. Open to adults, 18 and over, who are committed to self-exploration and self-care.

Why do adults take this course?

Some of the major reasons why people take the MBSR course are job, school or family stress, chronic pain, illness, sleeplessness, mild depression and anxiety, anger issues, or grief. The class is also very effective in helping to establish a personal mindfulness meditation practice to simply take a more proactive role in greater overall health and well-being.

Course Objectives

•How to stabilize and focus attention to use internal psychological resources for greater self-care.

•Identify Automatic Habitual Stress Reactivity and Mindfulness Mediated Stress Response, and respond more wisely to stressful events.

•How to work skillfully with difficult emotions, thoughts, and unpleasant physical sensations.

•Techniques to respond more wisely to stressful events and difficult communication.

•Recognize judgement, bias, negative thought patterns and reactivity in a more non-judgmental, engaged manner by cultivating self-compassion, embodied presence, empathy and acceptance.

•Create a personal, on-going mindfulness meditation practice.

Class Structure

Classes focus on the experiential cultivation of both “formal” and “informal” mindfulness practices such as gentle yoga, mindful movement, and meditation as a foundation for the cultivation of psychological and emotional resilience that can be effectively utilized across the adult life span. The group meets once per week for 8 weeks for 2.5 hours. Each participant is expected to complete assigned home practice on their own, such as meditation, body scan, yoga, the other 6 days per week for about 30-45 minutes per day. Attendance is taken each class meeting. One teacher lead, silent Day of Mindfulness retreat experience is included to deepen the practice of seamless, meditative awareness (approx. 4-6 hours). This is held on a weekend day following week 5 or 6 class.

About the Instructor


Allison Peet is a certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor 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 a certified Buteyko Breathing Method coach and registered yoga instructor (RYT200). She’s taught since 2015 and hundreds have graduated from her MBSR program. Based on a pre and post self-evaluation, 80% of grads lowered their perceived stress, and reduced stress levels an average of 34%. Allison completes multiple week-long silent meditation retreats and has a regular practice. The cultivation of mindfulness transformed her relationship with stress and anxiety which motivated her to start her own business in 2015, From Within Wellness, to benefit others. She is committed to creating a more mindful community by helping people develop pragmatic life skills in attentional strength, present moment awareness, self-compassion, and stress resiliency.


"I am a multiple myeloma patient. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects the bone marrow. Living with cancer is never easy. MBSR provides tools to cope with the new reality of life with cancer. MBSR helped me establish a personal practice of mindfulness, meditation and yoga to deal with the cancer and its treatment. The mindfulness and meditation helped reduce the anxiety and pain associated with cancer. The gentle yoga helped me restore my body from the side effects of treatment." – B.K. (Summer 2019 graduate)

"Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training was invaluable to me as I was finishing up my cancer treatment. I wish that I had taken the class earlier in my journey—it helped me to remain calm during the actual therapy, and it improved my well-being overall in handling the worry about potential future recurrences. Allison introduced different techniques so we were able to choose methods that were most comfortable and natural for us. Cancer is currently in my rearview mirror, but I continue to use MBSR, and when I do, the quality of my day improves and stress seems to decrease and become much more manageable." – L.H. (Summer 2018 MBSR graduate)

"I took the MBSR 8-week course with Allison and it really was a life changing experience. Since taking the course, I’ve been able to get off my anxiety medication as well as sleep medication. Allison is a wonderful teacher/guide and I would highly recommend her course to anyone struggling with coping with stress and anxiety.” – I.S. (Spring 2018 graduate)

"Especially during these challenging times of COVID-19, when we are separated by space and the unknown, Allison Peet’s MBSR course creates a place to come together in the spirit of mindfulness. Her creativity in providing the course content safely via zoom has been invaluable to our group. This course is for anyone who has even the slightest inclination to explore non medicinal ways to cope with the anxiety, stress, and even the physical pain of a cancer diagnosis and its treatment. It is for anyone who wants to feel better in their own skin. It is for those who seek a greater sense of calm and peace in their life. I did not expect it to be so impactful! Thank you Allison!" – A.R. (Winter 2020 MBSR graduate)

"As a fellow at the University of Arizona’s Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, I learned a bit about MBSR and the profound effect mindfulness can have on health and healing but never had the opportunity to experience the class itself. As 19 others and myself gathered for our first class there was a clear sense of anxiety in the air. “Is this right for me?”, “I feel so anxious.”, “How can I sit quietly for 20 minutes?”, “Will this really impact my life?” Fast-forward 8 weeks and the feelings are totally different. There is a palpable sense of collective calm and a completely different perspective on the true meaning of living. No longer are the people in the class constrained by their self-defeating thoughts and beliefs. They now exude a sense of calm, peace and control of their lives. They now understand how to turn stress from a threat to their lives into a challenge to be embraced. This course is a must for anyone who wishes to reframe how he or she thinks about themselves as well as the world around them. Truly life changing.” – Dr. Andrew Nish, Medical Director of the John Stoddard Cancer Center (Winter 2020 MBSR graduate)

Scientific Research on Mindfulness

Mindfulness Reduces Stress (2010)

"A study conducted by Britta Holzel at Massachusetts General Hospital, and published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 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 Keep Brains Young (2009)

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

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