The Greater Good Science Center defines mindfulness as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”
Research is showing how practicing mindfulness, even for just a few weeks, can have wide ranging physical, psychological and social benefits. One of the best ways to develop is through meditation.
There are many types of meditation. A great place to start is with “mindful breathing,” which simply paying attention to your incoming and outgoing breath. Even just a few minutes a day of mindful breathing can have great way to reduce stress and anxiety while improving your concentration.
“Metta” or “Loving Kindness” meditation has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to increase your overall happiness and improve your relationships. The technique involves sending goodwill and kindness thoughts to others.
MBSR is an evidence-based course that incorporates a variety of meditation and yoga techniques. There is one course per week for 8-weeks, daily “practice” of up to one hour each day. MBSR may help you:
Cope with stress, pain, and the challenges of everyday life
Deal with disturbing events with grace and composure
Be fully present and alive in this moment
While MBSR is not a "cure" for serious medical conditions and should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, research indicates that mindfulness training can have a significant therapeutic effect for those experiencing stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, depression, chronic pain, migraines, heart conditions, diabetes and other ailments. In addition, participants typically report feeling more alive, more "in-tune" with themselves and others.
If possible, it’s best to attend a MBSR program in person. However, it’s also possible to take a free online MBSR course. Palouse Mindfulness has presented the entire 8-week MBSR program in an online format.