Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 70s, MBSR brings togerther mindful meditation, body awareness, and yoga to ease stress, anxiety, and relieve pain.
The Center for Mindfulness explains the guiding principals as:
Making the experience a challenge rather than a chore and thus turning the observing of one’s life mindfully into an adventure in living rather than one more thing one “has” to do for oneself to be healthy
An emphasis on the importance of individual effort and motivation and regular disciplined practice of the meditation in its various forms, whether one “feels” like practicing on a particular day or not
The immediate lifestyle change that is required to undertake formal mindfulness practice, since it requires a significant time commitment (in the clinic 45 minutes a day, six days a week minimally)
EXERCISES AND TECHNIQUES:
Object Meditation- Great for beginners, who find it difficult to settle their mind. Pick an object and slowly and intentionally observe every aspect of it: shape, color, textures, smells, tastes, etc.
Awareness Exercise- Start by taking your mind inwards and focusing on your breath. Take a few gentle deep breaths before taking your mind outwards. See your thoughts, feelings, moods, and sensations as objects gently floating by you down a stream. Simply observe these objects without judgment or analysis. Now take an object from the stream and focus on it. Let everything else continue to float by. Slowly observe any thoughts or feelings around the object and sit with it for as long as you like before returning it to the stream to float on.
Body Scan- Lie with your back on the floor or a bed and close your eyes. Move your awareness through your body, focusing on one area at a time. Stop whenever you find an area that is unusually tight or sore and focus your breath on this area until it relaxes.
Mindful Walking- While you’re walking, focus on the different sensations of the body moving Soften the eyes and focus on the ground a few paces ahead of you. Bring focus to your body, aiming to walk with no tension; letting your hips and shoulders swing easily. Inhale and exhale with your step. As you walk, allow the movement to free any tensions you may feel as you, starting at your toes, scan your body. Then, as you walk, begin to add in a mantra to each step.
Worry Surfing- "Think of a recent event where you felt afraid, panicky, nervous, worried or upset. Visualize the scene and remember how you felt. Notice the worrying and disconcerting thoughts. Perhaps you’ll notice images of disaster, too. Keep focusing on the upsetting scene as well as on the judgments you make about it and what’s happening inside you.Let your anxiety rise until it’s at least a 4 or 5 on a scale of 10.Observe what your body might be doing. Notice the sensations and how your mind evaluates them. Simply label them all with “I am noticing…” Notice the sensations of warmth and tightness. If there’s a thought that it’s dangerous, that you’re losing control, just let your body and mind do their thing.
As you do this, notice the emotional wave in the room with you. At this point, the wave is tall and scary. You may feel that it’ll go on forever; that you may drown. Just allow the wave to run its course without controlling or blocking it. If you refuse to ride out the wave and try to fight it, you’ll never get over the top. You’ll stay stuck on the wave’s leading edge. Notice the emotional wave with you. Be aware of the point where it stops climbing. Feel it levelling off and starting to diminish. Experience the slow ride down the back of the wave. Accept wherever you are on the wave. Don’t hasten to get past it. It moves at its own speed—all you can do is let go and let it carry you. Keep watching this until it completely passes." -TheMindfulWord