Being aware of what stress does to you is the first step to a healthier lifestyle
The Benefits of Mindfulness for Stress Reduction
Mindfulness has been in the news of late. We may have even heard of Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or MBSR that has been sweeping across the nation.
But what is this strange new program and has it any genuine benefits?
Anything out of the acceptable norm of doing things is always suspect often branded as quackery by those who don`t understand it and remain entrenched in traditional ways to treat stress and disease.
Hardly unusual as anything that proposes a better method of doing things is often looked on with skepticism and even outright animosity. After all Galileo claimed the Earth revolved around the sun and the powers of his day condemned his ridiculous theory.
MBSR, in a nutshell, claims to benefit the masses by changing their mental approach to life. It proposes to ease the pain and suffering we all go through on a daily basis. by focusing only on the present moment instead of an unfounded fear of what the future might hold for us. This appears to be esoteric as mindfulness is equated with meditation and the latter sounds too close to Buddhism to be of comfort.
Jon Kabat-Zinn downplays this association to Buddhism. MBSR, he claims, is for everyone and can benefit all people of every faith, culture or language. No one needs to sit cross-legged and meditate in a cave in the Himalayas. But all can benefit by being mindful of their daily activity. That is basically what MBSR is. It just asks us to be aware of our actions, our surroundings and stop worrying about an unknown future. This ist`t any different as Dale Carnegie in his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, extols the virtue of living in `day-tight compartments.
Throughout the years JKZ has proved that the system works, even among the hard core criminals in Rikers Island, Leavenworth and San Quentin. MBSR has several benefits over traditional treatments of antidepressant prescriptions. Here`s just a list of those benefits.
Since it emphasizes the need to live in the now, people are less inclined to feel the effects of stress, anger and many negative emotions.
Easy Skill to Develop
MBSR does not require anyone to go through year long psychological programs through a credited university. We learn much the same way as Buddhist meditators do, by focusing on the moment through meditation. It`s much the same as the method we`vu learned to `"count to ten"` before we react to a stressful situation. There are no tools, no special diets or forced concentration.
An Inner Sense of Peace and Calm
We learn to quiet the mind that is always active and searching for problem to solve through negative emotions. By just sitting, we learn to subdue the racing mind. By quieting the mind we learn to release fear, doubt and worry. An added benefit of clearing the mind brings more clarity. We begin to see solutions rather than problems.
Helps Build Healthier Associations
We tend to see enemies where there are none. Our associations with our employers, our relatives and anyone we meet helps us connect positively. We see fewer threats as we build bridges of friendships.
Better Confidence and Self-Esteem
It`s a human trait to see ourselves as superior to others or look down upon ourselves. The world is not filled with animosity. It presents opportunity and meditation practice helps us see those opportunities. It increases our confidence that we can achieve our desires. It brings a "can do" attitude.
Better Energy and Productivity
We all want to live productive lives at home and at work. But we don`t always have the energy to go what needs doing. By calming the mind, we focus energy on what matters. The act of "taking time out"helps us preserve energy for the moments when we really need it.
Compassion for Ourselves and Those Around Us
Compassion may be what the Dalai Lama preaches, but it helps us realize that our neighbors and the world face the same problem. They want to live in peaces without fear of reprisals. They wish for tranquility in a world rife with war and injustice. Most of all, we need to be compassionate for ourselves. Like everyone we meet, we have the same potential to be a success.
Mindfulness is not reserved for the rich or the powerful. If there is anything that appeals to everyone, MBSR offers it. We only need to real its benefits.