Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a comprehensive introduction to the art of mindfulness.
Mindfulness helps to calm and steady our minds. That in turn allows us to see ourselves and our ways of thinking more clearly. So, for example, it means we see where we fall into distraction or auto-pilot, and instead try taking a more focused approach. Or we begin to question our self-critical, limited thinking — like “I’m not good enough” — and go forward despite it. Or we stop struggling against what life dishes up, and find a way to hold steady though it all.
- be present – for yourself and others
- strengthen focus, calm, and mental flexibility
- shift self-defeating habits and thoughts
- manage difficult emotions without getting overwhelmed
- work with pain or illness, even the kind that won’t go away
- build resilience for facing personal challenges
- cultivate patience and self-compassion
- develop empathy and effective communications with others
- relax and enjoy life once again
- 8 weekly in-person classes (2-1/4 hours each) and 1 all-day session on a weekend day
- instruction in mindfulness meditation, yoga, and body awareness
- group discussions to support making mindfulness a part of daily living
- homework exercises to build awareness throughout your day
The program is intensive and challenging. Homework assignments include meditating at home for 30-45 minutes every day, plus doing simple awareness exercises for at least an additional 5-10 minutes per day.
MBSR may not be for you if…
Meditation is considered safe for healthy people. However, this program may not be the best course of action for the following kinds of people:
- being so stressed or busy that it feels difficult to commit to the daily homework
- having physical or medical conditions that limit your ability to do the meditation or yoga practices
- living with active substance dependence, or in recovery less than one year
- dealing with psychological issues such as PTSD, clinical depression, or other major psychiatric diagnoses
- young adults age 21 and younger — The age range of participants is typically between 25-75 with a significant cluster at 40-55. Discussions tend to focus on issues like work, family/parenting, relationships, etc. that may not feel applicable to younger adults. For 12-18 year-olds, I recommend the Resilient Kids program at the Benson Henry Institute at Mass General Hospital.
Some exceptions are possible, so please contact me if you have any questions.
- quotes from Sunada’s past students
- videos of Jon Kabat-Zinn speaking about MBSR
- Full Catastrophe Living. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s now classic book, based on the MBSR program, explains how mindfulness helps us toward greater health and well-being
- research on the efficacy of the MBSR program