Are you thinking about taking the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course and still wondering if it’s the right course for you? Or perhaps you heard about this renowned mindfulness course from a friend or colleague and want to make a decision about whether to do it. In this blog post, I’ll be answering all your burning questions on the course to make it easier for you to decide. Let’s get started.
Who is the MBSR course for?
If you are looking for an accessible and sustainable way to deal with the stress that is part of your daily life, then the MBSR course might be the right option for you. That said, the course is a commitment of time and energy so it’s important to reflect on whether now is the right moment.
So what kind of people sign up to the course? Well, it attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. Perhaps you’re experiencing stress at work or at home, have bouts of insomnia or anxiety or are suffering from physical stress like back pain, arthritis or high blood pressure. Or it could be that you’re constantly ruminating and find it difficult to switch off.
No matter what brings you to the course, it’s been shown to have numerous benefits. The curriculum has been widely researched, showing significant health benefits for people, both physically and mentally. For example, people who have completed the MBSR course see an improvement in stress and emotion regulation and self-esteem.
What will I learn on the MBSR course?
First things first, you’ll learn what mindfulness is and isn’t. Aside from this, I’ll also teach you how to develop and keep up a regular mindfulness meditation practice, as well as informal ways to cultivate mindfulness in your daily life. We’ll explore reactive patterns and start to understand how to respond differently to common stressors in your life–anything from traffic jams to work deadlines and family conflicts. Through mindful movement, mindful breathing, and mindful communication you’ll learn how being fully present in your own life can empower you to make different choices and build resilience to stress.
How much time do I need to invest in the MBSR course?
This is an intense course that has been run in this format for over 40 years, with impressive results and testimonials from participants.
"The course gives you practical tools to live more in the moment and to release stress, not only for 8 weeks, but for a lifetime." - Maike Heesakkers, MBSR participant
The online MBSR course is spread over 8 weeks. Why 8 weeks? It has been found to be long enough to cause significant changes in the brain, which correlates to changes in your life. We’ll meet once a week online for a live course of approx. 2.5 hours and then there’s an additional half-day retreat on a weekend day, which is arguably the highlight of the programme for most participants. Each week you’ll receive a new set of home practices direct to your inbox so you can practice on your own. You’ll want to set aside around 45 minutes a day to do these practices, which are things like guided meditation or yoga as well as some written assignments and mindfulness practices.
I get it, you probably think you’re too busy for this course, right? Honestly, in some cases it might be true. But participants have also found that it helps them feel more present, focused and less stressed in their daily lives, which can help you make the most of the little time you do have.
Who created the MBSR course?
Way back in 1979, Mindfulness leader Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Stress Reduction Program. While he was working at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester (UMass Medical School), MA, he started the eight-week program as a way to help patients integrate self-care into their lives.
Since it started, over 25,000 people have completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) and learned how to build an internal toolkit to transform how they respond to stress, illness and pain.
Is MBSR a spiritual practice?
The MBSR course is accessible to anyone, no matter their religion or spiritual beliefs. If you do assign to a religion or have an existing spiritual practice, what you learn on the MBSR course may be a compliment to this. When you break it down, mindfulness practices are about being consciously aware of what’s happening in the here and now in your life and developing the skills to see our own processes and thoughts and reactions with more clarity. Mindfulness meditation originates from the Buddhist tradition but awareness is an innate human skill, so having a spiritual practice is not a requirement to do the MBSR course or practice mindfulness in general.
How can mindfulness benefit me in my daily life?
In so many ways! You’ll find out exactly how in the MBSR course but, to give you an idea, the most impactful benefit comes through changing your perception and reaction to stress or pain. When you’re in pain or under stress, do you ever find yourself thinking that you can’t stand it a minute longer? It’s so common to find yourself in these negative thought patterns but they might actually be making you feel worse. With meditation, you learn to relate to your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations in a different way, which can help you avoid adding unnecessary suffering.
Do I need to have experience with meditation to join the MBSR course?
Absolutely not. In fact, it could be even better if you come with little or no expectations of mindfulness. Some people, of course, do come to the course with experience of mindfulness or meditation and that’s totally okay too. But many people don’t. The point of the program is for you to explore and experience mindfulness in a safe space with my support as a facilitator. And if you do have a yoga or meditation practice already, the course could be a great way to strengthen and mix up your daily practice.
How do I sign up for your next online MBSR course?
The good news is that I have two courses starting soon, a morning one from September 16 2022 and an evening one from September 20, 2022. If you’re keen to find out more and register for the course, fill out the registration form directly on my website.