How Does Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Work?

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How Does Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Work?

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

A refreshing source of mind and body

The MBSR meditation method developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the USA and based on Buddhist traditions helps us to get away from our automated processes of our everyday thinking and to take care of our lives mindfully. MBSR is a meditation method that has been proven to help alleviate and improve physical and mental health problems with regular exercise.

MBSR – present at any moment

Mindfulness is a special form of attention and a special quality of human consciousness. Mindfulness is a clear state of consciousness that allows you to perceive and allow both outer and inner experiences without prejudice. He who lives in mindfulness quickly realizes that his zest for life and his happiness are not dependent on external circumstances. The MBSR method gives you access to your own internal resources, allowing you to expand your existing boundaries. You will feel better in stressful situations, psychological and emotional stress and adverse living circumstances and be less anxious or depressed, if something is not really successful. In addition, you will learn to act more self-determined and self-confident as you develop more sovereignty, stability, joie de vivre and balance in everyday life. It should be noted, however, that your behaviors and patterns of thinking, which you have developed and built up over many years, can not be changed from one day to the next. Only a regular practice of the MBSR will show you corresponding successes!

The complex discipline of mindfulness

The MBSR practices a variety of meditation exercises that are very good at self-help, especially for people who suffer from high levels of stress, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, headaches, fatigue, or serious illness. In addition, like other meditation methods, MBSR can induce deep states of relaxation that will help lead a full, content and healthy life.

Mindfulness can be practiced in two ways with MBSR. One way is the formal practice, which uses specific methods to help you stay awake and alert for a long time. The second way is the informal practice, which is more about remembering to be mindful and present during everyday activities as well. Mindfulness is more a way of being than a technique.

The formal practice: exercises and techniques of MBSR

In the MBSR there are various informal methods, such as:

  • Body scan
  • sitting meditation
  • Walking meditation
  • Mindful Yoga (Hatha Yoga)
  • Essmeditation

The body scan

The purpose of body scanning is to guide mindfulness systematically and slowly through the different parts of the body, similar to the practice of Yoga Nidra. The body scan in the MBSR starts at the feet and ends at the apex, while the various sensations are perceived, for example, how the lower back or right foot feels. You can practice this exercise both lying down and sitting, with lying on your back more suitable for people with chronic pain or other physical conditions.

The sitting meditation

Sitting meditation is the most well-known form of mindfulness meditation, whose sedentary posture can be found in numerous Buddha figures. For this meditation, it is important to sit in an upright, dignified posture without stiffening yourself. But head and neck and back should be upright. One likes to sit cross-legged on a cushion on the floor and another likes to sit on a high-backed chair. It is always important that you, whether you are sitting on a chair or a pillow, radiate a dignified inner attitude.

During this meditation, focus on your breath, how it flows in and out, how the air touches your lower nasal tip, or how the gentle lowering and stretching while breathing moves your abdominal wall. Once you reach a certain level of concentration, you can go one step further and focus on sounds, objects, or sensations. It is important that you always try to achieve a constant and quiet attention that uses your breath as an anchor. Should you ever stray from your attention, just return to your breath as soon as you realize that you are inattentive. Avoid self-criticism and ambition, but enjoy the here and now!

The walking meditation

Walking meditation works in a similar way to sitting meditation. The only difference is that you are focusing your attention on the perception of walking and not on the breathing itself. In walking meditation, the pressure under the feet, the finest weight transfers and the raising and lowering of the legs and feet are accurately perceived. They just go! If your thoughts go by themselves, just concentrate on walking again.

Mindful yoga

Mindful yoga, such as hatha yoga, is essentially about a very gentle form of yoga, with an emphasis on conscious breathing and balance between mind and body through physical exercises called asanas. It is irrelevant at first how flexible you are and whether you can do all the yoga exercises exactly. After all, regular exercises also train your body in this area. And little by little you will develop a healthy body awareness without pressure or ambition.

The Essmeditation – The Taste of Mindfulness

The Essmeditation within the MBSR you can practice during a single bite, during any meal or as part of a particular meal. The intention of this meditation is that you eat with mindfulness and see this moment of eating in a whole new light. It does not matter what they eat right now. How does the bite just feel in the mouth? How does your entire body feel? Chew very slowly and pay attention to the structure of the food and its taste. You will find that you chew faster and faster, the longer you have the bite in your mouth. But do not hurry, but stay alert at this moment and continue chewing and becoming aware of the intent to swallow before you do it. Dedicate yourself in this way to eating carefully every bite. Above all, be aware of your feelings during the meal!

The informal practice: Integrating MBSR into everyday life

In addition to the formal exercises of the MBSR, you should also integrate mindfulness into everyday life. Any activity can become an opportunity to practice mindfulness. For this you do not have to make a certain point in time, but you can simply let mindfulness flow into your activities. All you need is a change in your consciousness and a rethinking or switching from a habitual way of being to a more vigilant presence in everyday life. Little by little, the more often you integrate the mindfulness in your everyday life and are aware of each moment. Possible mindfulness exercises in everyday life include, for example, mindful showering, attentive communication, mindful driving and mindful relaxation.

Research studies prove the efficacy of MBSR

For example, in a study called “Comparing brief stress management courses in a community sample: mindfulness skills and progressive muscle relaxation,” researchers compared the MBSR with the techniques of progressive muscle relaxation. They found that both methods are equally effective in minimizing stress and stress symptoms.

Protecting yourself and others through the practice of MBSR

The following saying: “He who protects himself protects others. Those who protect others protect themselves “, is found on the tombstone of the Buddhist monk Nyanaponika, who taught mind training during his lifetime mindfulness. In conjunction with the mindfulness exercises, this wisdom says that mindfulness can be much more than feeling life in the here and now, but it can make you feel more and more what can be wholesome or not beneficial to you and to others. You will see through the steady exercise of the techniques of MBSR, which promotes your health and those of your family or what makes them sick. Mindfulness can, for example, help you to refrain from a certain bad habit and to do more positive activities that support your family more often.

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