Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, to help people with a wide range of physical and mental health problems and to deal with stress from a variety of causes. Since then, thousands of people have completed the eight week MBSR programme. The central focus of the MBSR programme is an intensive experiential training in mindfulness to enable participants to access their own resources for responding more effectively to stress, pain and illness.
The teaching of MBSR has been extensively developed in hospitals and clinics for staff, medical students and patients alike, and also in inner-city areas, prisons, corporations, legal practices, universities, schools, government agencies and more recently in parliament. Evidence-based research shows MBSR to be effective in helping chronic pain and fatigue, depression, anxiety, life stress, psoriasis, cancer and in supporting self-care. The Mental Health Foundation has launched a campaign to increase awareness of, and access to mindfulness-based courses nationally (www.bemindful.co.uk).