BETHEL — To Your Health of Western Mountains Senior College (WMSC) will present a program, “Distressed about Stress,” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at the Bethel Congregational Church Chapel, 32 Church St.

Presenters will include Ellen Crocker, retired psychotherapist; Wendy Youmans, LCSW and 500-hour level Kripalu Yoga teacher; and Jewel Clark, professional musician. How to de-stress was rated high on evaluations by participants at last year’s programs. The speakers will discuss stress and offer ways to de-stress.

Crocker will discuss the causes and symptoms of stress and offer suggestions about coping with stress. She says, “Stress is self-generated, due largely to the expectations we place on ourselves.” She added, “Much of what bothers us is beyond our control. However, how we deal with it, and how we react is under our control.”

Crocker held a private practice in psychotherapy for many years. She headed the counseling service for a college and did training for a Boston corporation. For the last 12 years before she retired, she worked for Swift River Health Care in Rumford.

Youmans will give a general introduction to yoga and meditation, followed by breathing exercises and meditation with the audience. She will also demonstrate basic yoga and stretching that anyone can do.

Youmans has been teaching yoga for over 15 years, and incorporated yoga and meditation into clinical social work for the past 10 years. She says, ”My approach to yoga is to offer an opportunity for increased self-awareness, stress relief, fitness, community connection and, hopefully, a healthy dose of laughter.”


In discussing the role of music, Clark says, “When you listen to music, especially when you’re participating yourself by singing or playing an instrument, it occupies your mind in a way that distracts from stressful thinking. Also, physiologically, it can prompt your brain to produce ‘endorphins,’ a hormone that helps you to feel good.”

Clark came from a family of musical performers, including Yodeling Slim Clark, Blue Eyed Celia and Wilf Clark and feels her musical interests and abilities were  inherited. Having sung, played and written various types of music for most of her life, she has experienced how it can positively affect both the performer and the audience in those moments of connection. Clark especially loves encouraging listeners to participate during her performances, because when they join in, they really seem to enjoy the act of singing themselves. She’s convinced that when people experience that type of joy, it changes their physiology in a positive way.

The program is sponsored as a community service by To Your Health of WMSC with the collaboration of Bethel Family Health Center and SAD 44/Continuing Education.

The public is invited and admission is free. Light refreshments will be available. For more information, call Rosabelle Tifft at 207-824-2053.

To Your Health resenters on April 12 are, from left, Ellen Crocker, Jewel Clark, and Wendy Youmans.

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