“The truth behind Mindfulness Based Stressed Reduction”
Dr. Jose L. Rivera
A few years ago, I was going through a particularly difficult and sad time. I was spending a lot of time inside my own head, and even when I wanted to switch off, I couldn’t. At the end of the day, my body would be exhausted but my brain kept running 100 miles per hour. Sometimes I felt like I was going crazy. I was desperate to find a way, and I started reading a lot about meditation. Then I took a course called “Mindfulness: A Simpler Form of Meditation” as part of my psychology training, where I was introduced to a new way of living mindfully — an easier way, a way that actually worked for me. And will work for you, too. To be able to use this new method well, we need to first understand what mindfulness actually is.
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) bad 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.
If you want to know more about the truth of MBSR, I invite you to participate in our workshop “Introduction to MBSR”. In this workshop you will learn the basic to Mindfulness practice ideal for cultivating greater awareness of the unity of mind and body, as well as of the ways the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can undermine emotional and physical health.