Is stress taking over your life? This science-backed approach may be just what you need

Is stress taking over your life? This science-backed approach may be just what you need

Stress and anxiety is inevitable

Your mind is racing, you can’t sleep, days seem to go by, and not an ounce of joy has been experienced. Or maybe you’re on a crowded train, a baby is crying, the man next to you will not stop whistling in your ear, and it’s beginning to feel like a sauna. You just want to scream, “GET ME OUT!”. It could even simply be your partner asking you to take the trash out that sets you off into a rage of fury. The list goes on...

While this may not be your exact reality, the feelings evoked from these scenarios may feel familiar. Stress and anxiety reach everyone. Look at your life – how could it not? The increasing responsibilities, inevitable conflicts, and constant stimuli are unfortunately impossible to escape. That is unless you move off-grid to a remote island with no internet connection. But then, hey how are you reading this right now? :) As much as we’d like to sit here and say, “life can be butterflies and rainbows all the time”, we’d both know this is one massive lie...

In today’s world, you’re made to believe stress relief is only made possible through stuffing your face until you’ve hit a food coma, turning your brain off for nonsensical TV shows, or partying so hard you wake up feeling awful. The reality is that these things are merely a temporary bandage for your daily anxieties and stressors. There are healthier alternatives to managing stress and anxiety. Some of which include, breathwork, yoga, or journaling. Today we’re going to talk about one strategy called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). 

What is MBSR?

MBSR is a therapeutic approach to dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic illness. 

More specifically, it is an 8-week course offered by certified instructors where they teach you intensive mindfulness strategies to help manage the stress your mind and body experience. These strategies range from body awareness exercises, breathwork, mindfulness meditation, walking meditation, and even yoga. An example of one such body awareness exercise is a body scan. This entails laying on a yoga mat or soft surface, closing your eyes, and focusing your attention on your toes all the way up to the top of your skull. 

MBSR is rooted in spiritual teachings stemming from Buddhism, but don’t be turned off if this makes you skeptical. MBSR today is deep-rooted in science and was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center where it was implemented into hospitals all over the world. Since it has been founded, several studies have been conducted that show MBSR can alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, and symptoms of chronic illness in adults and children. 

Details of the course

The course is 8 weeks long. Usually, you meet in a group setting, either virtual or in person. Some instructors also offer one on one, if that is your preference. Meetings are held once a week for 2.5 hours, so it is quite intense (but just imagine having the power over your own stress and anxieties!). Outside of the class, you are given some homework, such as practicing mindfulness while you are standing in line at the grocery store or trying walking mediation in a nearby park. All in all, the course requires effort and a solid chunk of your time, but the benefits are absolutely worth it. They will give your life new meaning and you will feel a sense of peace you have never experienced before.

MBSR Crash Course

Since we cannot jam pack an 8-week MBSR course into a single blog post, we put together 4 starting points we took from our own experience with MBSR. Use these to help regulate your own emotions and improve self-compassion, and simply watch as your stress and anxieties slowly fade away. 

1. Non-judgment

Judging happens naturally whether you want it to or not. The key here is to become aware of your judgment when it happens. Remind yourself that your judgments are not always the truth. Smile.

2. Mindfulness

When you wash your hands or when you are waiting to cross the street, watch your thoughts. Breathe into the moment and give it your full attention. What does the soap smell like? How does it feel? Or what sounds are you hearing on the street? How does the wind feel against your skin.

3. Self-compassion

Be kind to yourself. If you accept your faults, they will no longer be faults. They just are. You deserve to live in peace and love. 

4. Non-striving

Accept the present moment. Let go of the past and stop thinking about the future. When these thoughts do emerge, simply acknowledge them and come back to your breath. You are not striving for peace, peace will just come.

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Now, are you ready to enroll in an MBSR course? Our yoga mats made from cork and natural rubber are the perfect addition to ensuring each session is comfortable and cozy. Sit down, close your eyes and get ready to enter your inner oasis.


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