3 Ways How MBSR Can Take Us From Coping to Thriving

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By Ted Meissner, guest contributor

As I write this article, many of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teachers for Mindful Leader are reviewing applications to our upcoming courses, and having one-on-one conversations with those who are interested in mindfulness. What brings people to MBSR varies, but one aspect is fairly common: the usual coping mechanisms may not be helping as much as they used to.

For some it may be simple curiosity about the gold standard of mindfulness training, with forty years of research behind it.  But for many, several years of political and social unrest with a dash of pandemic and all its impacts has pushed us outside our window of tolerance.

So how does mindfulness as taught in MBSR help with that, not just in theory, but in real world practice?  Here are a few considerations and take-aways that have been helpful to those who have taken the course:

1. Structure

It can be very difficult in a busy day to make the time for formal meditation practice on your own, and without that, the potential benefits of mindfulness can be limited. Those benefits can include improved attention, better sleep, and increased emotional resilience. MBSR provides a structure for learning and practice that's absent from self-paced programs, which often become "non-paced."

2. Connection

Live Online MBSR programs like those offered by Mindful Leader have shown to be as potentially transformative as in-person courses.  A key aspect to that is each other; learning is nurtured by the personal connections created in class, and have continued through a pandemic from the safety and comfort of your home.  That felt sense of community supports beneficial moods, rather than the sense of disconnection many have experienced during the pandemic.

3. Transformation

As one participant of my most recent MBSR class said, "I had no idea to what depths this class would take me and how much transformation I would gain from it."This course is not just about developing raw awareness, but also *how* we meet what is noticed and experienced in every moment -- with more patience, kindness, and perhaps even playful curiosity, even with difficulties.

New Possibilities 

All of that and more can open a door to a new possibility: You can move from coping, to thriving.  It takes some intentional dedication and practice, and MBSR provides the tools for you to chart that course.

Ted Meissner created the UMass Medical School Center for Mindfulness MBSR live online program, is a Certified MBSR Teacher, and has been teaching mindfulness for over twenty years. He is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science, has been published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, Mindful, and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He mentors MBSR teachers, holds Masterclasses for Oxford Mindfulness Centre on live online mindfulness program delivery, and is the Executive Director of Mindfulness Practice Center.

Ted is an instructor for our MBSR course. Click here to learn more and view upcoming classes. 

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