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MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction)

MBSR Vancouver - Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

Mindful Changes offers MBSR training in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland of BC.

Mindfulness is a way of being. Being with what is, at this moment. Experiencing each moment as if for the first time. It’s a simple practice, but not an easy one. MBSR is an 8-week intensive, group program which was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the late 1970’s. It is now an internationally acclaimed program with a growing body of evidence that supports its benefits for various clients.

The MBSR curriculum is rooted in knowledge from the wisdom traditions but the course in its current form is based on fields of mind/body medicine and psychology.

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Participants attend weekly sessions and are guided through training in mindfulness, emotional intelligence, self-regulation, and personal awareness. Participants learn attitudinal characteristics about themselves as the weeks progress, and enhance their understanding of their own insights around:

  • Patience
  • Trust
  • Beginner’s mind
  • Non-judgment
  • Acceptance
  • Non-striving
  • Letting go

Throughout the weeks, participants start seeing positive changes in their attitudes and behaviours in their daily lives, with themselves and their families.

At the beginning of each session, participants are guided through a breath meditation to help them transition from the busyness of their lives to the weekly class. All classes include a gently mindful movement component, a variety of guided meditation practices, discussion of challenges faced during the week, presentation of information and developing a home practice in daily mindful living. 

The 8-week course consists of the following sessions:

  • Week 1 is an introduction to the course, where participants discuss their concerns and what they hope to get out of the course. A variety of breath awareness techniques and meditation practices are introduced in the first week.
  • Week 2 is an opportunity for participants to become aware of how seeing things in certain predisposed, habitual ways affects our view of reality and our view of the present moment.
  • Week 3 of the program helps participants cultivate mindful awareness of the body through mindful movement and walking meditation. Participants start to recognize and notice their patterns of cognitive and emotional behaviour and their reactivity. The process of pausing when noticing reactivity is practiced and journaled. Choosing to be with, rather than reacting to, supports a shift in how we choose to live daily, and ultimately creates shifts in our relationships with each other, with ourselves, and with our stressors
  • Week 4 focuses on exploring how stress impacts our mind/body systems. Participants, through guidance, continue to practice presence, remaining curious of their moment-to-moment thoughts and interactions; they also continue to identify patterns of reactivity: fight, flight and freeze responses, the psychophysiological effect of stress on the body/mind/heart, and the role of daily mindfulness in noticing stress reactivity and maladaptive coping mechanisms. Week 4 also includes discussion of identifying stress -- internal as well as external – noticing acute and chronic stress that are current in our lives. 
  • Week 5 is a continuation of identifying and working with the stressors in our lives. Bringing mindful attention to the relationship we have with a stressor if it cannot be changed. How do we live with it, how do we stay present, how do we create space for the difficult thoughts, emotions, and body sensations that we experience during times of intense stress, and  noticing the positive or negative charge on all our experiences. During this week, we continue to strengthen the possibility that everything can be held in mindful awareness.

During the discussion of week 5, emphasis is placed on helping participants recognize both universal and personal markers of stress. Then, through mindful awareness, promoting the possibility of responding rather than engaging in old patterns of reactivity.

  • Week 6 focuses on the continuing practice of mindfulness and includes discussions about various common communication styles. Personal relationships can often be challenging, producing strong emotional reactions. In this session, participants are asked to recognize some of the different ways they react to relational situations.
  • Week 7 incorporates the learnings of the previous sessions. Experiences of the past weeks are discussed and individuals review their personal markers of stress, their coping styles, and what they have discovered is either adaptive or maladaptive. Discussion is then guided into considering areas of their life that can be shifted into healthier patterns of taking care of themselves. The discussion continues with the premise that the practice of mindfulness supports making wise choices.
  • Week 8 is the final session during which time, although the course is ending, participants have time during the session, and during daily practice, for self-reflection. During the final week, participants are reminded that mindfulness is ultimately an embodied practice, one of active mindful engagement where each moment is an opportunity to be alive.

A one-day silent retreat is held between weeks 6 and 7. In the introduction, participants receive a workbook for recording their observations and their home practice.

Please contact us to schedule dates and times.