Using awareness of breath and body to develop a calm and peaceful mind
What is it?
While short bursts of pressure can help us to rise to meet a challenge, long-term stress can have a major impact on our physical and mental health. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) aims to address prolonged periods of stress, which can lead to poor mental and physical health.
MBSR incorporates techniques such as meditation, gentle movement, mind-body exercises and visualisation to help people learn how to cope with stress. It gives people greater clarity on what is happening in their lives.
What conditions is it helpful for?
MBSR has been shown to be effective for a wide range of conditions, including:
- Anxiety, stress, depression
- Pain management
- Sleep disorders
- Irritability/anger management
- Confidence building
- Emotional upset/distress
- Reducing suffering associated with chronic disorders
MBSR is also used positively to improve self-awareness, develop greater focus and clarity and enhance brain function.
Does it work?
MBSR has been developed and studied since the 1970s for its impact on mental health, pain management and wellbeing.
It has been shown to reduce anxiety levels by 58% and stress by 40%. In a research study by Oxford University into individuals with problematic levels of stress, a significant improvement in perceived levels of stress over the course of the mindfulness intervention was found.
The findings of this research were consistent with other studies, which showed that changes in mindfulness precede changes in perceived stress.