What is MBSR, and is It For Me?
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction has been around for nearly 40 years, and is now taught worldwide in many languages. MBSR was created by Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD in 1979 for the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Originally called the “Stress Reduction Clinic”, it is still very much the same program that has helped so many since the beginning. Incorporating wisdom from Eastern traditions in a secular way, this eight-week program invites participants to live their lives differently. More than a “tool” or “coping mechanism”, MBSR can produce a lifestyle shift. Dedicating 45 minutes six days a week to meditation is part of the course, and participants have described the program “transformative” and “life-changing”.
FAQ's about MBSR
1) What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the intention to pay attention. Just being where you are in the moment without judgement. Let me explain. When was the last time you did an everyday task (brushing your teeth, chopping vegetables, driving or walking to work) and didn't think about something else while you were doing it? It sounds easy.
2) Is MBSR religious? Is it Buddhist? Christian? Scientology?
No, MBSR has roots from ancient wisdom traditions, but it is not religious. You can be any religion and take an MBSR course. It does not question the religion or beliefs of the students. In fact, an interview with Jon Kabat-Zinn in the Guardian in October 2017 said, "He [Kabat-Zinn] talks a lot about dharma, the term for the Buddha’s teaching, but he’s not a Buddhist and remarks that to insist mindfulness meditation is Buddhist is like saying gravity is English because it was identified by Sir Isaac Newton.
3) How are you qualified to teach MBSR?
I found mindfulness, meditation and MBSR in response to postpartum depression (the longer explanation can be found in the "About Us" section). Even before I was made redundant from my job as the Communications Manager at a Berlin tech firm in 2016, I was already trying to figure out how I could make this my career in some way. I found myself a mentor and began searching for programs that would help me to teach mindfulness and MBSR to others. After much research, I chose to attend the Mindful Academy in Spain for their 200 hour MBSR Teacher Training, and I am glad that I have. I find the instruction meaningful, practical and well presented. The program incorporates pragmatism with an open heart. I have attended two week-long mindful retreats at Plum Village in France and have attended workshops, summits and kept myself up to date on the latest research on mindfulness. I am still in the infancy of my journey, but I feel ready to help others find more meaningful lives through mindfulness.