Sitting in a stranger-filled room, attempting to pay attention to sensations, thoughts, emotions, and breath… perhaps feeling hot, fidgety and frustrated thinking “and I’m supposed to endure this every day, for the next eight weeks…?!” To most, this may seem like a mild form of torture…
The truth is that whilst we have heard the above many times, what we also know is that our eight-week mindfulness program also offers the potential for something most of us in this crazy-busy world are craving right now; a little more ease, freedom, and a lot less stress.
And it has been proven.
Time and time again.
In fact, over the past forty years, it has been favored by almost all scientists who are interested in studying the effects of meditation on our health and happiness. The program was originally developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 for chronically ill people for whom conventional medicine had done all it could. In the last few years alone, hundreds of scientific studies showing its benefits have been published leading to the significant increase in awareness of Mindfulness that we have all probably been privy to.
Why me? Why now?
Though the program started for patients with chronic pain, the scope of who it can benefit has widened to almost anyone and everyone. We see people sign up for a number of reasons – they might be suffering from chronic stress, pain, insomnia, or simply wanting a little more presence and purpose in their lives. Whether it is executives, athletes, business owners, mums and dads, doctors, psychologists, yogis or students, One thing they all have in common, is that each commits to show up for 2.5 hours each week, to 45 minutes of formal meditation practice each day, and to a day-long retreat held in full silence. This is no small feat for anyone, but rarely does anyone drop out.
Whilst this may initially seem like a big commitment, the potential payout is also big. Participants of MBSR report everything from improvement in relationships, to greater stress resilience, relief from anxiety, depression, and chronic pain.
So what is the magic ingredient?
The magic ingredient? Well… it’s the sheer number of practices in the program that makes drilling down to find the key ingredient so difficult. Is it the meditation? Is it the everyday mindfulness? Is the mindful movement? Is it the content and gentle inquiry that is delivered by the teacher? The safe and supportive environment? Or is it simply the very fact that each week people feel more and more connected with one another as they realise just how similar the inner workings of their minds really are?
So really, it’s not just one thing. It’s a multitude of reasons that make this program so profound. Especially when it’s offered in a way that is so contextually relevant and with the potential over the eight weeks to really embed these practices into your life.
Got questions or would like to chat more about MBSR? We would love to hear from you.
For an extensive reading list of MBSR research see here.