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WHAT IS M.B.S.R. (MINDFULNESS BASED STRESS REDUCTION?

An internationally recognized 8-week course originally created by Jon Kabat Zinn and colleagues M.B.S.R. designed to teach people practices that lead to deep insight, health, wellbeing and authentic joy.  

Mindfulness is way of being. It is a way of paying attention to life exactly as it is in every moment. Living in the present moment connects us to our deepest selves regardless of what’s happening all around us. Over time we develop a sense of calm and clarity that keeps us deeply rooted, no matter what. This quality of being is sometimes referred to as resilience.

The M.B.S.R. programme has been scientifically proven to positively and often profoundly affect people’s ability to reduce physical and psychological distress while learning to live with more acceptance, compassion, peace and joy. As you practice you will experience yourself, just as you are without judging, analysing or needing to fix anything. Embedding the practices and integrating them into your everyday life will allow you to draw on your inner resources to face whatever comes your way with a calm body, light heart, quiet mind and free spirit. 

The Benefits of Participating in an MBSR Programme: 

  • Noticeable improvement in physical and psychological symptoms.

  • Increased energy and enthusiasm for life and the ability to relax.

  • More self-awareness/compassion/confidence. 

  • The capacity to cope with uncomfortable or distressing situations including chronic pain. 

  • A greater ability to trust in yourself, to communicate more effectively and to enjoy the company of others without, in any way, needing to ‘change’ ‘improve’ or ‘mend’ their lives. 

  • Typically today with the noise and distractions all around us around us it’s easy to live in a state of ‘mindlessness’, a loss of awareness that leads to forgetfulness, a sense of living on automatic pilot, being constantly ‘busy’ or ‘on edge’ and of not knowing who we really are. 

  • Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a way of being with whatever there is to be with without needing to avoid, change or control it. It’s a way of putting yourself in the driver seat of your own life so that you can consciously recognise and work with your anxiety, stress, unease and the many challenges and demands of everyday life.

  • Mindfulness, sometimes referred to as ‘heartfulness’ or ‘soulfulness’, recognises that living in balance calls us to pay attention to all aspects of ourselves, body and mind, heart and soul. 

Inhabiting your Body – Transforming your Mind

Mindfulness is not just something for you to learn about. It is not a set of tools or helpful information to be acquired. It is a life-long transformational practice. It is about radical acceptance and recognising and changing habits that do not serve you well. Even if you have temporarily forgotten, everything you need is already within you.  You have the capacity to be fully present to your life as it is in any given moment and the internal resources to cope with whatever comes your way.  M.B.S.R. will awaken you to who you are beyond your limiting stories and to your deep coping skills.  It will give you new access to living your life to the full. 

Who is this programme for? 

The answer is ANYONE … anyone who wants to live more fully, freely and joyfully. However, M.B.S.R. is particularly suited to people who want to reduce stress and anxiety in their lives and to have reliable access to peace of mind.  While the practices have been adapted from classical Buddhist meditation and yoga traditions, MBSR is a deeply human approach that operates in harmony with any belief system or spiritual background. 

CORE SESSIONS OF AN 8-WEEK M.B.S.R. PROGRAMME

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ORIENTATION: Is this for me?
This is an opportunity to get connected and to ask questions or share any concerns that you may have. This is normally a 15 to 30 minute telephone conversation where you will learn about the benefits of MBSR and how it is distinct from other mindfulness courses. You will also discover how it can positively affect the quality of your health and wellbeing, reduce your stress and free you from distracting thoughts so that you can be calm, healthy and happy in your everyday life.

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WEEK 1: Being Awake

In this first session you will meet and get connected with the group and get an overview of the course.  In this session you will determine what you most want to get from the course and the practices that will give you that.  You will learn about the basic principles and practices of mindfulness and how to apply them in your life and be introduced to a few simple practices that will help you to come out of automatic pilot mode and become fully present to whatever is happening in the here and now. 

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WEEK 2: Ways of Seeing

Awareness and perception are the keys to mindfulness. How we see things determines, in a large part, how we respond.  In this week's session you will begin to discover the way you see the world and your normal reactions. Practicing the Body Scan and Sitting Meditations you will explore how to simply be curious about your experiences as they arise without any need to fix or change them and you will see that by simply changing the way you relate to things changes the effects of stress on your mind and body.

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WEEK 3: At Home In One’s Body

In this session, you'll practice the fundamental mindfulness practices    Mindful Movement, Sitting Meditation, and Walking Meditation. There  will also be time to share your insights and your experiences with integrating mindfulness practices into your daily life. You’ll discover what a challenge it is for everyone to be fully present and the pleasure and power there is when you can enter fully into the present moment. You will also explore the experience of pleasant events and  their impact on your body, mind and emotions. 

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WEEK 4: Stress and Mindfulness

The practice of Mindfulness cultivates curiosity, compassion and openness to the full range of our experiences. This week, your practice will focus on the development of your ability to concentrate and expand your field of awareness. You'll learn about the physiological and psychological bases of stress reactivity, and experience mindful strategies for responding in positive, proactive ways to stressful situations.

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WEEK 5: Thoughts and Stress

This week focuses on the places where you might be stuck and you’ll begin to recognise the unhealthy thought patterns that may be holding you back. You will also learn how to apply mindfulness at the critical moment when you experience a physical sensation, intense emotion or intrusive thought paying particular attention to how you react in certain situations and how that effects your stress levels. 

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WEEK 6: Being with Difficult Emotions

This week, focuses on the wide variety and range of human emotions and their purpose. Through mindfulness practices you will explore how to cultivate emotional intelligence and resilience and develop helpful coping strategies. 

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WEEK 7: Mindful Communication

This session will explore the fundamentals of relationship and looks at ways of applying mindful communication in challenging interpersonal situations when communication has become difficult or fraught with strong emotions. This will be a fun session where you will directly experience of a variety of styles for more effective and creative interpersonal communication.

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WEEK 8: Taking Care of Oneself

To work well mindfulness needs to be an on-going practice. In this session we will review everything that has been learned so far and discuss the many ways you can integrate mindfulness sustainably into your life. You'll learn how to maintain the discipline and flexibility of daily practice as circumstances change over the course of your life. You'll also learn about resources and supports available to you to help you continue to integrate, learn, and grow. 

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WEEK 7: Mindful Communication

This day-long guided retreat will be a way of completing the programme and getting to know other graduates of previous MBSR programmes. This retreat is normally led in a spirit of community and quiet, making the best of beautiful natural surroundings.  It is intended to assist you in firmly embedding all of the practices of the course so that you can draw on them far beyond the conclusion of the programme.

TEACHING METHODS

MBSR programme is participatory. The aim is that over time the group becomes a community of support and belonging. From the very beginning attention is paid to create a high level of trust and confidentiality. While there is some teaching, most of the work is done through experiential learning, mindful conversations and delicious ‘mindfulness cake’ at the end of every evening!