Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Image: John Haine – Pixabay

Duke Integrative Medicine’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) is a method of using meditation and yoga to simply notice what is appearing and reduce stress. It is based on the ancient practice of mindfulness, which is about simply noticing the sensory aliveness of what is appearing and enjoying the richness of living. I enrolled and completed this class in 2005 and believe this to be an excellent program.

The program was originally introduced in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center to merge mindfulness meditation and yoga in a form of complementary medicine to promote healing and reduce pre- and post-operative pain and stress as well as a treat all forms of anxiety, panic, PTSD, and stress-related illnesses.  To highlight the basics of the program:

  • 8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course:  In a safe supportive atmosphere, participants meet in a closed group every week with their instructor to:
    • Investigate the nature of stress – how habitual reactions increase it, and how it affects daily life
    • Learn mindfulness approaches to manage physical, emotional, or psychological stress and difficulty in a new and effective way
    • Connect with your body’s own wisdom and learn to relax mental and physical tension
    • Develop tools to work with and transform stressful situations and reactions
    • Discover how to address depression and anxiety more holistically and skillfully
    • Overcome old habits of reaction-based thinking and create new pathways of responding mindfully
    • Establish balance in your life
    • Restore a sense of well-being and ease to your life
    • Have more control over your own health and fitness, and feel empowered to live with more joy and equanimity.
  • Mindfulness is ideal for noticing the unity of mind and body, and of the ways unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can undermine emotional, physical, and spiritual health
  • The mind is known to be a factor in stress and stress-related disorders, and meditation has been shown to positively effect a range of autonomic physiological processes, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing overall arousal and emotional reactivity
  • MBSR has been featured in PBS in Bill Moyers’ documentary, Healing and the Mind, which was seen by more than 40 million people; on NBC’s Dateline; on ABC’s Evening News and Chronicle programs.