The most well-known and researched training is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn when he worked at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The training was first offered in their Pain Clinic.
You can also start now. Start by closing your eyes (or moving your unfocused gaze to the floor a few feet in front of you) and paying attention to the physical sensations of your own breath. You need not change your breath, only notice where you physically feel it the most and keep your attention there. If a thought, memory, sensation, or emotion removes your attention from your breath, notice what the distraction is and replace your attention on your breath.
Do this for several minutes. See if you can maintain your attention to your breath, returning to your breath as many times as necessary (due to distractions), without judgement, that is, without the “I like…” or “I dislike” or “I should, would, or could” thoughts or statements.
If you tried focusing on your breath, you have just meditated. It is as easy, and as difficult, as that. I suggest trying this several times throughout your day. Over the next week, see if you begin to notice changes in stress, mood, communications, or other areas of your life. Perhaps you can even slowly increase the time from several minutes to five minutes, or even ten. While there is more to mindful meditation, this is a beginning.
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MBSR :: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
- MBSR 8-Week Course$ 400 .00
The 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course (MBSR) is modeled after the program developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and his associates at at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Stress Reduction Clinic.
- MBSR 5-Day Intensive$ 500 .00
Based on the 8-week course developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the 5-day intensive allows attendees to 'get away from it all' and immerse themselves in quiet, peace, and nature with others of like mind. (Cost does not include accommodations.)
What is Mindfulness?
We are all familiar with the term ‘mindful’ as being conscious or aware of something. However, this is very different from mindfulness — a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations without judgement, and our colloquial use of the term is dissimilar from mindfulness meditation.
Our increased awareness of mindfulness is, in part, due to articles and stories about the health benefits of mindfulness. These health benefits are not the product of merely being conscious of something, nor from being in the present moment now and again. Instead, health benefits occur after training in mindfulness meditation. During training, participants learn mindfulness techniques and incorporate them within their daily life. Mindfulness meditation can occur while sitting, walking, or doing any task or job.
Benefits of Mindfulness:
The benefits of mindfulness meditation, as shown in research studies, include -
Reduced Stress and Anxiety
Reduction of Pain
Greater Vigor and Acting with Awareness
Fewer Symptoms Associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Improved Mood and Mood Regulation
Decreased Blood Pressure
Strengthening of the Immune System
Increased Concentration and Focus
Reduced Symptoms of Depression
Reduction of Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms
Protection against Decreases in Working Memory
Sustained Attention Associated with High Stress