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Updated on:

April 9, 2015
mindfulness based stress reduction, What Is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction?

Since 1979, thousands of people have flocked to an eight-week course called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (also known as MBSR). What is MBSR? Simply put, it is a course of study where people learn to become more mindful of themselves and their emotions. By becoming self-aware, people can heal the problems in both their physical and mental bodies.

MBSR, introduced as a way for people to handle pain and other physical discomforts. With time it became increasingly clear that MBSR can help with any number of ailments, both physical and mental. In the 1990’s it became a world-wide phenomenon, helping people all over the globe.

How it all began

Founded in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a Professor of Medicine Emeritus and creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, MBSR is a holistic, yet scientific, answer to the question, “How can we be happier?”

Kabat-Zinn created his stress reduction program around Buddhist teachings. He eventually removed that line of thought from the program and focused it more on scientific teachings about how mindfulness can decrease pain and increase life happiness.

Featured on the 1993 Billy Moyer’s PBS special Healing and the Mind, MBSR was suddenly in the limelight. Being on the program increased its popularity in a huge way. Today, over 20,000 people have experienced the teachings of MBSR.

What is mindfulness?

Being mindful is not necessarily about being happy all of the time. Becoming more mindful will not bring you instant peace and satisfaction. It will, however, make you more aware of what causes you distress and how you can move towards creating the life you want.

Mindfulness is about being in touch with your emotions, your physicality and yourself. It is about seeing clearly what makes you feel poorly (both physically and emotionally) in a compassionate way. While becoming more mindful won’t fix your issues, it will help you find a way to ease your suffering.

How MBSR works

MBSR is a mixture of different ideologies. From science, medicine and psychology to meditative traditions such as Buddhism and yoga. At its core, MBSR is truly Universal. Any belief system can learn and be elevated by MBSR.

A typical MBSR course includes:

MBSR teaches students to pay close attention to every moment of their lives in a non-judgmental fashion. The term mindfulness can mean different things but primarily it is about having focused attention, staying grounded in the now while also invoking purposeful action and curiosity. Students of MBSR will learn how to get in touch with themselves in a way that many people are not these days.

Mindfulness Is Happiness

While becoming more mindful is often a challenging journey, it is ultimately worthwhile. Becoming more aware of who you are and why you feel pain or depression can go a long way to healing your issues and making you a happier, healthier person.

To learn more about mindfulness, please click here.

Useful Links

Become a Certified Mindfulness Teacher

About the author 

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]