Anybody who’s heard me espouse the virtues of mindfulness-based stress reduction – or has read the decades of documented research supporting MBSR – knows there are many benefits of mindfulness.

During my annual retreat to Thailand recently, I had the opportunity to absorb feedback and input from some of our MBSR alumnae, and I was struck how their collective experiences echoed what the research has told us. In particular, these themes resonated with those who took time to relay their results include such lasting benefits as:

  • Increased activity in areas of the brain associated with positive mood states and memory. 

With mindfulness ingrained, I now experience more in five minutes than I would previously in an entire day. Lisa’s MBSR program opens up an alternative universe, where life slows to one rich experience after another. It’s not always happy moments, but truly a deeper and more meaningful journey. Liz B.  Kansas City, Mo.

  • Increased ability to cope with illness and pain.

My stones were removed and they put in a kidney stent which is causing me daily pain. The stent will be removed (in a couple of months) so I’m nursing the pain and counting the days. Breathing through the pain; acknowledging it rather than pushing it away has helped so much. I meditated before the procedure, did deep breathing and my anxiety was greatly decreased. It works! Julie A. Northland

  • Reductions in pain levels and an enhanced ability to cope with chronic pain and physical distress.

I have been plagued with migraine headaches for more than 25 years. Although I knew and tried to avoid my “triggers,” ultimately I had little control over the frequency of onset, severity, or duration of the headaches. Over recent years, their frequency had increased from every 4-6 weeks to every 1-2 weeks. I was frustrated. Something had to change!

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is the path I chose. I suspected it was helping early on. Now, 18 months later, I say without doubt that the continuing practice of MBSR has reduced my sensitivity to triggers, allowed me to reduce frequency of onsets and deal more effectively with migraines when they do occur – now about every 2 – 3 months and improving. Frank D.  Overland Park, Ks.

  • Decreased physical and psychological symptoms.

I came to MBSR out of curiosity and to see how it might integrate into my life as well as my medical practice. What I came away with was more than I had hoped for. I had no prior meditation experience. Through meditation techniques such as the “body scan” and “sitting meditation,” I have been able to improve my ability to let go and fall asleep and sleep more soundly at night. I have also nearly completely stopped experiencing vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes) from menopause. The mindfulness activities have made me more aware of the stresses in my life and how they impact daily. I feel that through meditation, I am able to focus my mind better and control the background distractions in my head allowing me to be more present for patients, family, and friends. I continue to share information on MBSR with patients seeking help with stress and menopausal related symptoms as well as chronic pain patients.  Margaret E.  Overland Park, Ks.

While it’s satisfying to be able to share these testimonials, it’s more gratifying to hear of each participant’s results, results that can vary from student to student. But this much is certain, MBSR is changing the way we cope and adapt to modern living, and as such, is improving the quality of life for millions.