Stress Reduction Program

An invitation to move toward greater balance, control and participation in your life...

World wide, tens of thousands of people have accepted this invitation. They are a lot like you, and they’ve learned to integrate the methods we’ve developed here at UMass into their everyday lives. Three decades of published research indicates that the majority of people who complete the course report:

  • Lasting decreases in physical and psychological symptoms
  • An increased ability to relax
  • Reductions in pain levels and an enhanced ability to cope with pain that may not go away
  • Greater energy and enthusiasm for life
  • Improved self-esteem
  • An ability to cope more effectively with both short and long-term stressful situations.

We call our approach mindfulness-based stress reduction or MBSR...

Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for yourself that no one else can do for you — consciously and systematically working with your own stress, pain, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life.

In contrast, you’ve probably encountered moments of “mindlessness” — a loss of awareness resulting in forgetfulness, separation from self, and a sense of living mechanically. Restoring within yourself a balanced sense of health and well being requires increased awareness of all aspects of self, including body and mind, heart and soul. Mindfulness-based stress reduction is intended to ignite this inner capacity and infuse your life with awareness.

Reawakening to what you already are...

Fortunately, mindfulness is not something that you have to “get” or acquire. It is already within you — a deep internal resource available and patiently waiting to be released and used in the service of learning, growing, and healing.

People participate for reasons as diverse as... 

  • Stress — job, family or financial
  • Chronic pain and illness
  • Anxiety and panic
  • GI distress
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches

They are sent by their doctors or they are self-referred.  Many enroll because, although they are feeling well physically, they say the pace of their lives is “out of control” or they’re “just not feeling quite right.”

A life-affirming course in conscious living...

The course schedule consists of eight weekly classes and one day-long class on a Saturday or Sunday. Morning or evening courses are available. This highly participatory, practical course includes:

  • Guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices
  • Gentle stretching and mindful yoga
  • Group dialogue and discussions aimed at enhancing awareness in everyday life
  • Individually tailored instruction
  • Daily home assignments
  • Four home practice CDs and a home practice manual 

The course is challenging and life-affirming. The instructors are accomplished and skilled at creating a safe, supportive, and deeply engaging learning environment.

Background

The Stress Reduction Program, founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979, has been featured in the Bill Moyers’ PBS documentary Healing and The Mind, on NBC Dateline, on ABC’s Chronicle and in various national print media and is the subject of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s best selling book, Full Catastrophe Living and Saki Santorelli’s book, Heal Thy Self.

Since its inception, more than 20,000 people have completed our eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program and learned how to use their innate resources and abilities to respond more effectively to stress, pain, and illness. The central focus of the Clinic is intensive training in mindfulness meditation and its integration into the challenges/adventures of everyday life.

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