What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is about paying attention. It's about living your life in the richness of right now, not being lost in memories of the past or overwhelmed by the worries or projections of the future. It's a simple practice that strengthens the mind's ability to stay focused on what is happening right now and to be open to experience — meeting the present moment with kindness and nonreactivity.
What Is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR, is a unique program developed to help people better understand and work with all the stresses in their lives — medical, psychological and social. It's an education-based class in which you learn to bring the practice of mindfulness into your life, in both formal and informal ways. Learning goes on both within class sessions and at home through daily practice.
The curriculum consists of a range of formal mindfulness meditation practices including body scan, sitting meditation, gentle and mindful yoga and eating meditation. With the variety of practices offered, you will find a mindfulness practice to make your own.
Interactive learning modules include:
- The attitudinal foundations of mindfulness
- How our perceptions of the world influence our experiences and attitudes
- How our bodies react to stress and ways to reduce the negative effects of stress
- How our interpersonal expectations and communications affect us
Another powerful dimension to the course is the shared experiences of class members along the eight-week journey. Participants and teachers learn from, help and support each other. Many find that the weekly class is an oasis where they feel welcomed and can feel refreshed and restored.
Who Can Benefit from MBSR?
Research studies conducted by Thomas Jefferson University have demonstrated that mindfulness is effective in reducing chronic pain, medical symptoms, anxiety and depression. Other studies have proven stress reduction to be helpful in treating sleep disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease and asthma.
We welcome anyone seeking greater well-being and enhanced health of mind and body. We also recommend our programs to those living with:
- Anxiety and panic
- Heart disease
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Other chronic conditions
How Did MBSR Programs Get Started at Jefferson?
The Stress Reduction Program was the first program offered through the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, founded in 1996. Co-founders were Steven Rosenzweig, MD, George Brainard, PhD, and Diane Reibel, PhD. The first course was Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for medical students, and we've continued to offer these courses ever since.
The learning from and success of this student program quickly led to a grant from Advanta Corporation to bring MBSR to patients and the community. We began by running three eight-week MBSR foundation courses in the first year, and today, we run more than a dozen foundation courses per year. From the first class, we have been engaged in research projects studying the impact of MBSR on medical students and patients and publishing early and influential studies.
In 2004, we began our Mindfulness at Work Programs, bringing workshops and training courses to organizations, corporations and professionals — from federal judges to clergy and attorneys to social service organizations.
In 2007, we began offering an academic course in MBSR through Jefferson's College of Health Professions for undergraduate and graduate credits. We also initiated a formal professional training program for clinicians, educators and other professionals who wish to integrate the teaching of mindfulness into their work. As demand has grown, we have expanded our Professional Training Program to include additional training courses, supervision and internship opportunities.
Our ongoing clinical, academic and research achievements have led to our 2009 "Institute" status at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health.