Feel your breath as it flows into your body Then watch it flow out.
Feel your body as it lets go of each outbreath.
As you pay attention to your body in this way, you may feel it relax by itself as any tension in your body or mind flows out and dissolves along with the breath…
Whether you feel less tense or not, allowing yourself to be in touch with this very moment of your life as it comes into better focus along with your breathing…
Sensing that you may become more aware and more accepting of how things are right now, in this moment, no matter how they are, just by feeling your breath flowing in and out…
Perhaps noticing too that it is possible to relax some just by holding any discomfort and distress you may be feeling in awareness for a moment without struggling with them… after all, if they are already here anyway, like it or not maybe its how you see them and how you deal with them that will be most important in the long run, and in the short run…
You may also notice that you can flow from one moment to the next in awareness as your breath flows in and out of your body. Remind yourself that you are actually alive now, right here, in this moment…
Notice that as you stay in touch in this way from one moment to the next, this tiny shift in awareness in you may lead to your seeing things somewhat differently, perhaps to feeling less stuck, or to a sense of having more options, more strength and more confidence in your possibilities, more wisdom…
Welcome to the world of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction/MBSR at the Scottsdale Institute for Health and Medicine. The scenario on the previous page is a taste of how we might guide our participants to work with their own stress, pain, and illnesses more effectively, to help them in mobilizing their own inner resources of mind and body for coping, for growing, for healing, for moving to greater levels of health and well-being, for taking charge in new ways in their lives. We call the kind of moment-to-moment awareness invoked by tuning to your breath and to every other aspect of your life MINDFULNESS. It is the foundation of all the work we do in the stress reduction program.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is a behavioral change program in the form of an eight-week long course that you can take as a complement to whatever health approaches you may be using. It is a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you. Its aim is to assist you in taking better care of yourself, and in getting the most out of living by participating in it yourself in the most vital ways you know how to or can learn. But to get anything out of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction requires some work on your part. It requires a strong commitment to work on yourself through a gentle but rigorous daily discipline of mindfulness and relaxation over the eight weeks. The way we put it is that it can be stressful to take the stress reduction program, but it is also likely to be pleasurable and empowering as well.
People come to the stress reduction program for conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease fatigue
- Sleep disturbance
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Skin disorders
- Immune disorders
- Chronic pain
- HIV infection
- anxiety and panic
- type A behavior
- job or family stress
- boredom and restlessness
- eating disorders
- loss of memory
- low self-esteem
The majority of people report lasting decreases in both physical and psychological symptoms. Pain levels also improve and people learn to cope better with pain that may not go away. The majority also report an increased ability to relax, greater energy and enthusiasm for life, improved self-esteem, and an increased ability to cope more effectively with both short and long-term stressful situations.