What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and How Does It Work?
A free offering from the Loran Smith Center, Piedmont Athens Regional
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is awareness that arises by paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally (that is, suspending judgment). Another way to define mindfulness is to look at its components – Attention, Concentration, Awareness, and Compassion and its benefits.
Key Aspects – Mindfulness involves training in attention, awareness, concentration, and compassion: Attention – where you focus your mind; Concentration – the ability to stay focused on one object, one-pointedness. Awareness – another way of knowing that is non-cognitive, experiential, in the present moment that is, not being caught-up in thoughts of the future or thoughts of the past. To “be here, now.” Mindfulness brings a gentle, curious attention to whatever arises in mind and body, resting in awareness. Just observing, directly the sensations themselves, as the moment unfolds, with nothing added. You come to know and understand yourself in a deeper, experiential way. Compassion deepens as you come to understand the conditions of the present moment and as that understanding and compassion deepens for yourself, it is easier to extend compassion to others. Keep in mind, as with developing any art or skill, mindfulness requires practice and patience.
Mindfulness practice allows you to respond rather than react to stressful situations. Reactions are often automatic, unconscious, and habitual. Whereas responses are conscious choices arising from mindfulness – perception, appraisal, awareness of what is actually happening in the moment. This process results in not identifying as closely with your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, which in-turn loosens attachment to them, allowing space for conscious, often creative options or choices to surface.
Benefits of developing a mindfulness practice– paying attention, both through formal and informal mindfulness allows you to:
- See more clearly – with fewer perceptual filers
- Be less reactive and more responsive – allowing space/time for conscious and creative choices
- Change your relationship to stress, anxiety, anger, fear, sadness, grief, etc.
- Gain insights- identifying skillful and unskillful patterns of behavior, speech, etc.
- Know yourself more deeply, fully
- Open the door to inner wisdom
- Develop a calm peacefulness/ a reservoir of peace and energy
- Be more compassionate with self and others
- Realize greater health and happiness
The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) workshop provides guidelines and practices for bringing mindfulness to stress/suffering that we all experience in life. MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts in 1979. It is one of the most effective and researched stress reduction workshops available today. MBSR is taught and researched at US medical centers, universities, and elsewhere throughout the world, and is available in the spring and fall at the Loran Smith Center, Piedmont Athens Regional at 240 Talmadge Drive, Athens, GA 30606. The next MBSR workshop starts in Fall 2019.
Research on Mindfulness – MBSR is the “gold standard” for mindfulness studies. For peer reviewed journal articles on mindfulness research – visit http://www.goamra.org for the American Mindfulness Research Association.
Mindfulness Practice Evening is a Free Offering for the Community – that meets the second Friday of each month from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. We explore different aspects of mindfulness through discussions and practices. There is no charge and parking is free. All are welcome – whether you are just curious about mindfulness and its benefits or have a regular practice. Held at the Healing Lodge, see below for address and contact details.
The Dedicated Mindfulness Practitioners Group meets each Saturday from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. This is an opportunity to practice and discuss your mindfulness practice. These two free mindfulness practice opportunities and the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction workshop (details below) are held at the Healing Lodge, next to the Loran Smith Center, Piedmont Athens Regional, at 240 Talmadge Dr., Athens, GA 30606.