Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an 8 week programme which was founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979, to help people with a wide range of physical and mental health problems and to deal with stress from a wide variety of causes.

The central focus of the 8 week MBSR programme is an experiential training in mindfulness. It supports the development of a strong foundation of personal mindfulness practice in everyday life, to help gain skills and access inner resources to cope more effectively with stress and life challenges.

The aim of the course is to develop new ways of handling challenging physical sensations, thoughts, feelings, moods or experiences, and to deepen understanding of the way we think, feel and react to stress, and to learn and practice mindful responses to stress.

The course is completely secular in nature. You do not need to have any previous experience of mindfulness or meditation to come on this course.

Mindfulness is learned through “formal” mindfulness meditation practices, including body awareness exercises, gentle movement and stretching and sitting meditation, and also though “informal” practices to integrate your mindfulness practice in daily life.

Home practice of up to an hour a day is an essential part of the course to help establish the skills that are being learned.

I teach the MBSR course through two options:

What is available to us is the full spectrum of who and what we are. What is required is nothing special, simply that we start paying attention and wake up to things as they are. All else will follow.

~Jon Kabat-Zinn

Who is MBSR for?

Everyone can benefit from mindfulness. The MBSR programme is known to benefit people with a wide range of physical and psychological health problems, but it is not necessary to have a specific health problem to find it helpful.

We all have times when we experience stress and difficulty. Illness or difficulty may not change, but the way in which we deal with them can shift, making it all feel easier. Being more aware and accepting of our thoughts and feelings means we are in a better place to make wise choices and deal with difficulties more effectively. With mindful awareness, we can learn how our habitual reactions increase our difficulties, and how it is possible to respond more skilfully.

What Does MBSR Help With?

  • Stress in relationships, family, work, finances, and in times of uncertainty and change.
  • Stress related disorders: anxiety, depression, panic, fatigue, sleep disturbances.
  • Illness and chronic pain, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, skin disorders.
  • Learning self-care, enhancing well-being and dealing more effectively with life’s ups and downs.
  • Learning to deal with thoughts, feelings and life situations more effectively.
  • Deepening understanding of the way we think, feel and react to stress and exploration of mindful responses to stress.
  • Learning how to relate to ourselves and our experience with kindness, curiosity and greater acceptance.

What are the Benefits?

Mindfulness enables us to be more present in our lives, and bring awareness to the very moment we are in, wherever we are, however we are and whatever we are doing.  It strengthens our ability to turn towards difficulties with greater clarity, kindness, curiosity and balance.

It enables us to be connected to what is most important and meaningful to us.  It increases self-understanding and brings insight and perspective.

It offers us a more compassionate way of dealing with our problems. Living mindfully helps us to develop kindness to ourselves and others, and to find more pleasure and fulfilment in our lives and relationships.

Reported Benefits

  • More energy, appreciation and enthusiasm for life
  • A greater capacity for relaxation
  • Increased self- confidence and self-understanding
  • An increased ability to handle long and short-term stress.
  • More kindness and self-care
  • Less judgement and self-criticism

Gwennie’s caring and supportive attitude created a wonderful atmosphere in the group. She was firm and boundaried, yet still very open to everyone. And she always kept a sense of humour. As a result, everyone keyed into the same attitudes and the group was incredibly caring and sensitive to one another. It had just the right balance of sharing, but not over sharing. 

“This course has been a key life change for me, and in many ways, a release. I know that the thoughts that have sparked unhappy reactions from me, are not who I am. And this has allowed me to begin the journey of getting back to the essence of who I am. It was an extremely well presented and taught 8 weeks, and I would recommend it to anyone.”