Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a mental training practice to assist people achieve and maintain both mental and physical health. It was developed in the 1970s by Jon Kabat-Zinn and has its roots in Buddhist tradition. Research has proven that it can be beneficial for adults, adolescents, and children.
MBSR combines a number of mindfulness and meditation techniques to teach individuals how to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, gain increased emotional regulation and calm both mind and body. It is a proven treatment for mental health struggles including anxiety, depression, stress, addiction, insomnia, ADHD, and eating disorders. (1)
Here’s how to begin a Mindfulness Meditation Practice:
1. Find a space that is calm. Sit in an upright position.
2. Breathe deeply – start by taking 10 breaths and counting to five during each exhale and inhale.
3. Gently close your eyes.
4. Check in with your body – start by focusing on your feet and move up to the top of your head. Notice if there is tension in any part of your body. Just notice – no judgment.
5. Be aware of any thoughts you are having. Just notice – no judgment.
6. Continue to focus on your breathing – your breathing helps you stay grounded, connected and focused in the moment. Your heart rate slows down, your mind begins to quiet and your body can relax.
7. Gently open your eyes when you are ready.Notice your thoughts and emotions. No judgment. Only kindness.
The practice of mindfulness can be defined as a mental state that involves being fully focused on the “now” so you can acknowledge and accept thoughts, feelings and sensations without judgment. It is a positive and empowering tool to support mental and physical health.
1. Davis, D. and Hayes, J. (2011). What are the Benefits of Mindfulness? A Practical Review of Psychotherapy-Related Research. Psychotherapy: Theory/Research/Practice/Training. Pub: American Psychological Association.