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MBSR is a program that helps you learn to calm your mind and body to help you cope with illness, pain, and stress.
MBSR teaches "mindfulness," a focus only on things happening in the present moment. For example, you may sit quietly and think only about how your body feels. You might focus only on the sounds around you or how your food tastes and smells. When you are mindful, you do just one thing and you pay close attention to that one thing.
By training your mind to focus only on the present, you learn not to get lost in regrets from the past or worries about the future. Letting go of such thoughts may help you worry less and accept things as they are.
To help you focus your mind on the present, a class in MBSR usually teaches you to:
Try MBSR on your own
Studies show that MBSR can reduce stress and help people relax. Studies of people who have type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, chronic pain, and other problems show that MBSR helped some people cope better with symptoms and improved their quality of life.
Research also shows that MBSR helped people sleep better and feel less anxious, and it helped ease depression symptoms. In some people, MBSR also helped improve blood sugar and blood pressure. 1, 2, 3
Merkes M (2010). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for people with chronic diseases. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 16(3): 200–210.
Ledesma D, Kumano H (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and cancer: A meta-analysis. Psycho-Oncology, 18(6): 571–579.
Chiesa A, Serretti A (2009). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 15(5): 593–600.
May 23, 2011
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Catherine D. Serio, PhD - Behavioral Health
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