Erik Hulse is a core community teacher for the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness, a trained Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher (through and UMass and Brown University), and a PauseFirst: Mindfulness for First Responders teacher. He leads a number of classes for us including a community mindfulness practice meeting that is specifically tailored to the unique experiences and needs of first responders (active and retired law enforcement officers, firefighters, military personnel, EMT/paramedics and dispatchers). Here is what Erik told us about his mindfulness journey:

“When I retired from police work after 25 years of service, I realized that although retirement did relieve me of some of the corrosive effects of daily exposure to human suffering, it didn’t relieve me of the residual effects. I was still too prone to frustration, anger, harsh judgments of myself and others, and occasional bouts of anxiety and mild depression. I’d been somewhat aware of meditation for sometime and decided to try it.

Having been a musician for a long time, I was accustomed to practicing a skill daily for years and years and not necessarily measuring ‘progress’ in a predictable, linear way. Within a relatively short period of time after starting my practice, it occurred to me that had I learned about mindfulness as a young police officer, it would have had a profound impact on my career, my personal relationships, and my health.

First responders are exposed to critical incidents and chronic stressors that contribute to a higher prevalence of negative health outcomes compared to other occupations. I was no exception and I doubt that many other first responders are either. A personal interest in studying mindfulness to deepen my own practice quickly grew into a desire to teach mindfulness to others. I am now on the path to becoming a fully certified mindfulness teacher and am working with a number of law enforcement and civilian organizations to teach mindfulness practices to their employees.”

Erik also teaches Mindfulness and Stress Reduction for Men (MSRM), an 8-week course drawing from the latest research and best practices of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) and Emotional Intelligence to explore the causes of human distress, and offer pathways to relieving suffering through formal and informal mindfulness practices within the context of the contemporary male experience. Check out our calendar to register for one of his upcoming classes.

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