What is mindfulness-based stress reduction?

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is often referred to as the gold standard in mindfulness training.  Developed by Dr. Jon Kabat Zinn in 1979 it is one of the oldest and most thoroughly researched secular mindfulness programmes available.  MBSR is the basis of many of today’s specialist courses such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based compassionate living.  

MBSR was initially designed to teach patients with chronic pain how to cope with their pain using mindfulness meditation and Hatha yoga techniques and has since been expanded to use in participants with chronic stress, emotional or physical pain, and other illnesses and concerns.

Participants learn how to cultivate an attitude of non-judgmental awareness and detached self-observation via various directed attention techniques.

MBSR targets emotional and cognitive components of the pain experienced by teaching participants to observe intense feelings in the body and mind as impermanent events and not necessarily accurate or of more importance than any subsequent thought or experience. Participants learn and practice these techniques in both stationary and movement-based activities.

By observing the thinking process itself and redirecting attention back to awareness of the present moment, participants learn to uncouple from the affective and cognitive components of stress and pain, which may result in a reduction of stress reactivity.

What to expect on the MBSR course

Throughout the programme you will be consciously and systematically working with the challenges and demands of your everyday life. Your instructor will create a safe and supportive environment for this work and learning through:

  • Guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices
  • Gentle stretching and mindful yoga
  • Group dialogue and discussions aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life
  • Systematic instruction in formal MBSR meditation practices, with the opportunity to check in with your teacher
  • Resource materials

How does the Online MBSR Course work?

This programme is delivered live online via Zoom software. Rather than meeting in-person, participants engage with the teacher and interact with one another through their computer during class time, and for home assignments and practice.

A computer and high-speed internet connection are required.  Mobile devices such as phones and tablets are not recommended.

What is the course structure and commitment?
The Online MBSR programme consists of:

  • Orientation (required for enrolment)
  • Eight weekly classes, 2.5 hours each
  • A silent retreat on a Saturday or Sunday, between week 6 and 7
  • Daily home practice assignments for 45-60 minutes each day

Like all worthwhile endeavours you must be willing to make a strong commitment to attend all classes and to practice daily home assignments for eight weeks. This is the only way to benefit fully from the MBSR programme.