What is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?

What is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?First things first: What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a skill available to all of us. It can be defined as paying attention to whatever is happening in the present moment in a nonjudgmental way. This involves noticing a thought, emotion or sensation and holding it gently in awareness without clinging to it, trying to push it away, or trying to change it. The practice of mindfulness can help you cultivate clarity and understanding by accessing your own deep wisdom and intelligence. It can help you understand and experience the link between mind and body. And perhaps most importantly, mindfulness can help you be more alive in the present. After all, the present moment is the only moment in which we are actually alive.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) is an in-depth eight week curriculum of mindfulness practices developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Classes are led by Susan Taplin Curtis in Missoula and meet weekly for two and half hours with an all day retreat between week six and week seven.

The course curriculum includes:

  • showing up in the present moment
  • awareness of the body and its sensations
  • awareness of the breath
  • stress physiology and reactive patterns
  • choosing a different path, applying what you are learning
  • mindfulness in communications
  • mindfulness of thoughts and emotions
  • practice, practice, practice!
  • self compassion and kindness practice
  • mindfulness in everyday life

“Dr. Curtis’ demeanor is perfect for this program. She creates a safe, calm and healing environment to let go and learn to co-exist with my stressors while learning to decrease the negative impact they have on my body and mind. I now feel better equipped to stay present in the moments of flash back or intrusive thoughts which will have a significant impact in my relationships, daily routine, attitude, anger level and emotional health. I loved this class!”

—Female Veteran