Emergency Room Wait Times
Home > Healthy Living > Health Library > Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
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," which is a focus only on things happening in the present moment. Mindfulness is not a time to "zone out" or "space out" but is rather a time to purposefully pay attention and be aware of your surroundings, your emotions, your thoughts, and how your body feels. For example, you may sit quietly and notice your emotions. 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.
Another important part of mindfulness is to not judge the present moment. This is because judgments may lead you to dwell on (or "get stuck" thinking about) unwanted situations, feelings, or thoughts. And dwelling on the past does not help you accept or solve problems. It just brings you down.
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. Mindfulness teaches you to be in control of your mind so that your mind doesn't control you.
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. footnote 1, footnote 2, footnote 3
Taking part in MBSR has been linked to positive changes in the areas of the brain that affect how you pay attention, how you feel, and how you think.footnote 4
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.
Keng SL, et al. (2011). Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: A review of empirical studies. Clinical Psychology Review, 31(6): 1041–1056.
Current as ofJune 28, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineChristine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health
Current as of:
June 28, 2018
Medical Review:Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.
Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.
Set Your Location
Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.