Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

This course will:

  • Introduce you to mindfulness and meditation.
  • Help you establish a regular meditation practice.
  • Learn some tools to help you manage stress in your daily life.

If you are curious about mindfulness, and want to fully explore how it might benefit you, this is a definitive introduction.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a well-established course for those who wish to have a good understanding of mindfulness and learn how to apply it in their daily life. It was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massechusetts, and it has become the definitive course delivered widely – listen to his talk to google.

Do I need any skills, experience or qualifications before I join the course?

No. There will be a short interview with the tutor to ensure that the course is appropriate.

What activities will I take part in and how will my course be structured?

The MBSR course will be structured as below.

The course is experiential. The teacher leads practices and facilitates discussion.

Are there any reasons not to do the course?

If you have suffered a seriously stressful event (e.g. bereavement, divorce) in the previous 12 months, or are suffering from any form of mental health problem or a serious chronic physical illness, please discuss with the tutor before embarking on the course.

What does the course consist of?

Each week there will be home practice, which amounts to about 45 minutes of activity a day for six days a week for the duration of the course.

Week 1: Coming to our senses

The first week will introduce mindfulness and some exercises that are intended to make us much more aware of what is going on in our bodies. The intention is to start to move away from automatic pilot, where we are driven by our inner thoughts and feelings, and to become more in touch with the world around us.

Week 2: Learning to respond 

By being more in touch with our body and feelings, and noticing how we react, we can start to take a little more control of ourselves and our actions. Our natural response to challenges is “fight or flight”. That might have worked well in more primitive times, but today we have a tendency to contain our reactions, creating stress. Having learned to take the controls, we can begin to steer more skilfully around the obstacles we all face. This session will explore practices that give us a bit more space to respond.

Week 3: Being present

Staying in the present moment and not getting lost in thoughts or daydreams is an important skill to practice. This session looks at meditation practices that can be long or short. There will also be some mindful movement practices that help us to gently wake up to our bodies.

Week 4: What is stress? 

This session we looks at how we respond to stress. Stress is not just caused by the events in our lives, but also in the way we deal with them. Different people respond to the same events in different ways. By now we will have explored some useful tools, and now we will see how they can be applied.

Week 5: Responding more effectively to stress.

This session looks at how we can transfer the skills we develop in practices such as meditation into daily life and deal more effectively with difficult situations. By bringing greater awareness of our thoughts, feelings and sensations to bear, we can waste less energy and approach problems more effectively.

Week 6: Dealing with others.

Often it is our relationships that cause the most stress, and mindful communication can help us deal more effectively with others. This session looks carefully at some aspects of communication in stressful situations, and through some simple practices learn how to deal more skilfully with ourselves and others.

Week 7: Taking more care of ourselves.

Life is a game of snakes and ladders, but if there are too many snakes and not enough ladders it can be a tedious game. We often pile pressure on ourselves, and forget to relieve that pressure. We can do that until we come to breaking point. This session looks at how we can mindfully rebalance our lives.

Week 8: Keeping it up.

“Well that 8 week course really made me feel better. What next?” How often have we been on some course, felt wonderful after it, and then a week later been back to square one? Before we finish, we will look at how each of us can keep up the practices we have learned, and grow in awareness.

Practice Day.

A practice day allows participants to experience all of the practices taught in the course, and often it is the part of the course that people find most useful.

The MBSR workbook can be found HERE.

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