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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy (MBSR) is educational as well as therapeutic.  It offers intensive training to assist people with stress, anxiety, depression and pain.  It allows people to develop awareness, consequently enabling them to have more choices and to take wise action in their lives.  Mindfulness is interpreted as the nonjudgmental acceptance and “open hearted” exploration of the present experience, including bodily sensations, thoughts, emotions, internal mental states, impulses, and memories, in order to increase well-being and reduce suffering and discomfort.


Mindfulness skills are developed using meditation.  For two decades meditation has been the subject of many controlled clinical research experiments.  The evidence suggests that it may have beneficial effects, including stress reduction, relaxation and improving quality of life.  MBSR has roots in spiritual teachings, the program itself is not religious.  Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy (MBSR) was developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in the 1970’s by Professor Jon Kanat-Zinn.  MBSR uses a combination of body awareness, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and analysis of patterns of behavior, thinking, feeling, and action.


Jon Kabat-Zinn created a course that was featured in Bill Moyers’s “Healing from Within” in 1993 and can be found on Vimeo.  In 1994, a book written by Stanford University biologist Robert Sapolsky, titled “Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers” mindfulness-based techniques were promoted for a better lifestyle and healthy stress management. Sapolsky, described how social phenomena such as child abuse, and chronic stress of poverty affect biological stress, result to increased possibility of disease and disability.  Since 2015, MBSR has been practiced as a complementary medicine often used in the field of oncology.  Additionally, approximately 80% of medical schools are reported to offer some element of mindfulness training and research.  Education centers allocated to mindfulness have rapidly increased.  This therapy can be done individually or in a group.  The process was defined by Kabat-Zinn as “moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness”.


The practice taught to the individual focuses on the present in an effort to increase sensitivity to the environment and one’s reactions to it.  This foundation enhances self-management and coping, therefore MBSR provides an internal channel that can break maladaptive cognitive processes (ruminating on the past or worrying about the future).  Literature supports mindfulness-based therapies can be beneficial in treating symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Many populations including children, adolescents, parents, teachers, therapists, nurses, physicians, and other healthcare providers may find comfort from a range of health problems (mood disorder, substance abuse disorder, eating disorders, chronic pain, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, insomnia, and coping with medical conditions) through MBSR therapy.

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