I promised to share with you some of the health benefits associated with the MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) program I recently attended.
I recently completed an eight-week MBSR program where those who attended were provided with tools and training in order to enhance our own health and well-being through developing an awareness of the connection between the mind and body to reduce reactions to stressful situations and respond with a greater sense of awareness and presence. The program involved 8 x 2 1/2 – 3 hour weekly workshops as well as daily home practice – mindful meditation and hatha yoga.
The MBSR has been around since 1979. Pioneered by Jon Kabat-Zinn (Ph.D.) in 1979 at the School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts, scientific research has shown that:
“Since its inception in 1979, MBSR has shown benefit in alleviating symptoms of a broad array of conditions from anxiety disorders to diabetes (Gregg et al., 2007, Ma and Teasdale, 2004, Grossman et al., 2007, Pradhan et al., 2007, Speca et al., 2000 and Kabat-Zinn et al., 1998).”
It’s been quite amazing, aside from getting me through an incredibly CRAZZZZY period (read about that here)!
Anxiety management – day to day
My anxiety is so much more manageable these days. I’ve given a few short speeches, and afterwards realised that I hadn’t suffered from anxiety at all! Previously, I would be a sweaty, shaky, nauseous mess with the constant urge to pee, followed by a couple of days of wipe out afterwards…
Learning useful techniques
I have learnt some very useful techniques to handle those times when my anxiety does peek or I feel a panic attack coming on. Everything from mindfulness meditation, eating and walking, through to hath a yoga stretching, breathing (because breathing is always good!) and centring myself.
The MBSR has helped me come to some very big conclusions in my life, and thus I have made some very big decisions, the biggest being to quit my job and leave my project management career of 12 years. I should really be freaking out right about now, yes? But I’m not. I’m working hard to take it all in my stride by focussing on the present moment, rather than what has happened, or what might happen. So I can definitely attest to the MBSR helping me through the high-levels of stress I have experienced before I quit, and after.
I’m so much clearer, generally. I am having less of a problem with what I call ‘brain fog’, and generally, I am having so many more ideas and feel so much more creative! Now that’s what I call a win!
Sensing inner peace
I feel so much more at peace – more than I have felt for a long time, or forever…
I have had a series of revelations or epiphanies…some of the main ones revolving around a series of bad things that happened to me when I as a kid. This has been huge, and it was difficult to work through at the time, so I also saw my psychologist, but now that I have, the anxiety that my body was hanging onto has been released. The whole fight or flight response has eased. It’s still there, but 36 years of stuff doesn’t vanish overnight.
There are probably many other benefits I’ve experienced, but these are the main ones that immediately jump to mind. All in all, they can be wrapped up into an overall improvement in my wellbeing.
The point now is to keep moving forward and to continue building on the foundation that has been laid. That means practice – a daily practice, and a focus on what is good for me FIRST rather than last.
It also means living more in the present moment, rather than the past or future – something that is a challenge with so many plans to be made!
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