what is MBSR?

What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?

“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD.

Originally used with patients experiencing chronic pain, MBSR has been of enormous benefit to people in addressing everything from routine daily stress to stress experienced as overwhelming. The majority of people who complete the 8-week program have reported a range of positive results from increased coping ability and decreased pain levels to greater energy and more joy.

There is now a solid body of research on the benefits of mindfulness, based primarily on studies of the evidence-based MBSR curriculum as taught at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness where I trained and received my qualification to teach the 8-week program. (My training has also been recognized at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center.)

Everyone experiences stress. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is an 8-week program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 to address the stress we all face by supporting the development of tools that provide a more effective response to stress– shifting our relationship to our stressors through mindfulness. The MBSR program was one of the first to usher the form of meditation known as mindfulness into the medical mainstream.

The MBSR program is both experiential and educational and requires practice between classes. This course is suitable for both beginning meditators (no meditation experience required) and for experienced meditators looking to deepen their practice and understanding of mindfulness.

The course schedule consists of eight weekly classes and one day-long workshop. This highly participatory, practical course includes:

  • Guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices
  • Gentle stretching and mindful yoga
  • Group dialogue and discussions aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life
  • Daily home practice, including guided meditations

More on MBSR:
Highly respected in the medical community, MBSR has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC’s Dateline, ABC’s Evening News, and in hundreds of newspapers and magazine articles. In February 2014 it was featured on the cover of Time Magazine.

Bill Moyer’s Healing and the Mind aired in 1993 and features MBSR classes at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

Anderson Cooper tried MBSR in a 2015 airing of CBS News “60 Minutes,” he shares his story on learning to meditate, and the follow-up neuroscientific analysis conducted at the Center for Mindfulness.

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