If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.
– Lao Tzu, (Chinese Philosopher 604-531 B.C)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
None of us like being depressed or anxious and would prefer living in peace. Unfortunately our mind and thoughts usually keep us in the past or future with unhappy or limiting, degrading thoughts. The key to breaking free, is to learn to be mindful, in the present moment, of what is happening in your mind, body, and spirit.
Mindfulness has become very popular lately. Magazines with tips and tricks are on the racks at the grocery store, and on line. We certainly need help in our stressful, over-scheduled, multi-tasking world.
But mindfulness is really much more and has a rich history dating back to 400-500 BC with Hindu and Buddhist meditation practices. The ancients knew that when one learns to control the mind, it stops controlling you. Fortunately it does not require sitting in lotus position on cold hard floors for hours to learn to take control of your thoughts.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is literally the pure awareness of your emotions, thoughts, and feelings in your inner-self, and your body. You feel totally present, centered, relaxed and focused. In this moment, you are non-reactive, nonjudgmental, and openhearted towards the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing.
This can be learned and done in stillness or in motion. The technique has been studied and used extensively in the healthcare field since 1979. We now have technology that can visualize the changes in brain function while a person is using this technique.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) technique will not only reduce your stress, and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and allow you to experience peace and calm, it will train you to control your thoughts so when limiting thoughts or mind tapes come up, you can let them pass, just like a leaf on a stream. It is not difficult to learn and you can see results quickly. Just a caution, this is not meant to treat mental illness, but is helpful for stress, anxiety, and depression.
Other evidence based benefits of MBSR:
- Reduces stress and stress related symptoms, and illness
- It is a non-pharmaceutical approach to pain treatment, especially chronic back pain
- Helps prevent your brain from shrinking as you age.
- Improves immune system function and decreases inflammation
- Relieves or improves anxiety, and reduces depression relapse by 50%
- Improves cognition – mood, working memory, executive processing
- Increases ability to sustain attention so you can focus longer
- Improves your responses to stress, emotions and other external factors