Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: What to Expect from MBSR

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: What to Expect from MBSR

A good portion of Silent Mind’s customer base includes clinicians, counselors, and therapists of all kinds. Does this surprise you?

We all know that meditation, mindfulness, and yoga can help optimize an average life, where there are normal pockets of stress. But these practices are also used to help those managing larger amounts of stress, including mental health disorders and physical pain.

What is MBSR?

Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in the 1970s. It was originally known as the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program. Patients suffering from medication-resistant levels of pain were allegedly the first to give the program a shot.

MBSR is a more structured, regimented way of introducing – and deriving timely benefits from – mindfulness. Often, MBSR takes the form of an eight-week program featuring a variety of exercises. These exercises are meant to increase awareness and encourage acceptance of the condition.

The Evidence

Does targeted mindfulness really work? There may be some very good reasons to make the initial foray into mindfulness through an intensive program, rather than just practicing here and there. Here are just a few results from studies examining the effects of MBSR.

Social Anxiety: This study finds that practicing MBSR can help regulate emotions and improve self-esteem.

Chronic Pain: Elderly people suffering from chronic pain enjoyed an increase in mobility and greater ⦁ pain acceptance with MBSR.

Immune Function: Women with an early-stage breast cancer diagnosis used MBSR to gain better-coping skills and quality of life, as well as stronger ⦁ immune function.

Employee Health: People with job-related stress endure less ⦁ emotional exhaustion with MBSR.

MBSR Exercises – Examples

What exercises are used often depends on the condition requiring treatment? The MBSR professional treating it may have additional preferences as well. Still, here are a few kinds of exercises that people of all diagnoses will probably encounter.

Focus Exercises: During focus exercises, all of our attention is placed on a single point. For instance, a mindfulness session can elapse without our concentration wandering anywhere except the breath.

Awareness Exercises: Awareness exercises are much more of visualization than focus exercises. In meditation, we sometimes imagine our thoughts as clouds in a beautiful blue sky. We consider the clouds, assign no emotion to them, and let them pass, as clouds do.

Body Scan: Body scans are another familiar concept to meditators who experiment with progressive relaxation. Lying down, we begin with the tips of our toes. We focus our intention and send our breath there to clear and release tension, working all the way up to the crown of the head.

Mindful Movement: Stretching, yoga, and walking all enjoy their place in MBSR. Hatha yoga, in particular, is frequently used, as it helps to increase awareness and condition the body in one practice. Mindful movement is also a treatment proven effective in relieving pain.

Mindful Eating: The external focus mindful eating involves makes it a great pick for beginners. To read more about mindful eating, check out our post from a little while back.

While mindfulness is often described as a healing modality, MBSR is one of the best-known and scientifically backed ways it is practically applied to medical issues. Have you ever practiced or administered MBSR in a clinical setting? Share your thoughts below – we’d love some additional insights.

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    Jamie Mendler on
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    Ayesha on

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