This program is designed to teach mind and body awareness techniques to help live with physical or psychological symptoms due to stress, pain or illness. It is based on the methods of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and was also featured on the Bill Moyers’ special, “Healing and the Mind.” (shown on the Free Informational Talk night)
Dan Siegel, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine states, “Studies of MBSR have consistently demonstrated its effectiveness as a health promotion activity. It can help to disentangle our minds from ruminative thoughts, repetitive destructive emotions and impulsive and addictive behaviors.”
The Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) is being taught in most Kaiser Permanente Medical Clinics, Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic, the American Red Cross, Medtronic, Google, Stanford University, the American Cancer Society. MBSR is located in over 250 medical centers across the U.S. The MBSR Stress Reduction program is considered the Gold Standard for programs of it’s kind.
The MBSR program has proven efficacy, documented by peer-reviewed research over the last 30 years.
Medical science has made amazing discoveries about how emotions, thoughts and behaviors can impact physical symptoms and effect our health. Understanding this “mind-body connection” can be the first step to managing your daily stress, pain or symptoms from a disease or treatment of a disease. In this series, you’ll learn to recognize the sources of stress in your life and how to manage stress-related symptoms and illnesses.
This program can help if you have: Medical Conditions: Arthritis, Anxiety & Panic, Asthma, Cancer, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Gastrointestinal disorders, Depression, Chronic pain, Headaches/Migraines, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Psoriasis, Injury. Signs of stress: Bereavement, Depression, Divorce, Fatigue, Caregiver Stress, Job & family stress, Over/Under eating, Worry, Money Stress, Caregiver Stress, Environmental Stress.
Graduates Report Lasting Benefits: Increased self-awareness, trust and acceptance * More effective coping strategies * More accepting attitude to life and challenges * Decrease in Chronic Pain *Lasting decreases in anxiety and depression * Improved concentration * Improved immune system functioning.
Becoming mindful, we can become aware of old dysfunctional patterns of behavior and then develop new ones to respond to stress, rather than react to stress. Most of us are using our default function, when we react to stress. We’re on automatic pilot instead of being in conscious control. There has been on-going research into the Mind/Body Connection. This research has deepened the understanding of the interrelationship between the mind and body. Neuroscientists are discovering and charting out various neuropathways that make connections between our thoughts and emotions to our physiology, the body. In other words, the very thoughts we think and the emotions we feel are interconnected, they affect our bodies.
By using brain imaging technology (fMRI) and EEG, readings of brain electrical activity, scientists have discovered that each person’s brain has a “natural” set point for good versus bad moods. People who are generally happier and calmer typically show greater activity on the left side of the brain as compared to the right side. In contrast, those with more brain activity on the right side are more prone to sadness, worry and anxiety.
After the mindfulness training, however, on average, the emotion ratio shifted leftward, toward the positive zone. This change is called Neuroplasticity …meaning the brain can change with repeated use, in a particular area.
For example, haven’t we all had the experience of getting stuck in a traffic jam. Often when that happens we may not be aware that we have begun to activate a full-blown stress reaction. We may have neglected to notice that we are holding so tightly that we are white knuckling the steering wheel and that all this increased muscle/skeletal tension has progressed into many joints of the body. We may have neglected to see that because we have gotten so worked up with agitation or anxiety, that we have begun to breathe more rapidly and irregularly which has increased the heart rate, blood pressure and temperature.
It’s not as if someone is forcing us to react in this way. We do this to ourselves when we are on automatic pilot, we have become our own worst adversary. Until we begin to recognize, being Mindful, of what we are doing to ourselves, we will continue to react with our habitual patterns of behavior that can harm ourselves and others.
The Good News is that through the cultivation of mindfulness, we can change the course of our destiny. As soon as we become aware that we are holding tightly, we can release the grip on the steering wheel.
As soon as we see we are breathing rapidly and irregularly, we can bring our awareness to the breath in the abdomen and practice normal breathing that will begin to regulate our breath and bring our heart rate and blood pressure back into balance.
There are so many instances in our everyday lives where our thoughts and emotions affect our bodies. We may be stressed in a line at the bank or the post office, or perhaps having an uncomfortable conversation with someone. We may not recognize how these stressful situations are affecting our bodies with increased tension, upset stomachs, not being able to sleep at night due to racing and negative thoughts. The sooner we can become aware of how stress effects us, the sooner we can become proactive and come back into balance.