ABC Catalyst filmed an MBSR class in Sydney in late 2018 and this screened in early Feb. I was impressed to see how many personal stories and how much of the research they were able to cpature and present in just 1 hour. The courage and determination of the participants was humbling, and I found myself cheering them on throughout the program.
It's still on Iview and worth watching if you've done an MBSR course before or if you are contemplating one. I won’t give away too many spoilers but will share 2 things that stood out for me.
The meditations in an MBSR course can be challenging, and in the first couple of weeks we might feel that our mind is wilder and darker than ever - a not-unusual feeling when we begin to be more mindful in how we pay attention to it.
Life is a rollercoaster of both wanted experiences and unwanted ones, joys and sadnesses. Mindfulness won’t stop the more difficult parts of life from happening to us. However, it can help us to manage our response to them, without unintentionally making things worse for ourselves by overthinking, ruminating, self-criticising and catastrophising. Being more mindful will also allow us to notice the small pleasures in life that we so often overlook when we feel overwhelmed, sad or stressed.
2. The proof is in the research.
It’s a big ask to commit to a mindfulness course, especially a course like MBSR that asks you to practice for about 45 minutes a day. We are all so busy and squeezing in a block of daily practice takes real commitment. Infact, it is the hardest part of the course and can mean letting other things go. The very positive MBSR research is one of the things that can motivate practice.
It is heartening to find that the research conducted in the Catalyst program aligns with the extensive research already published about MBSR in numerous medical, educational and scientific journals.
The research shows that regular practice can:
- reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression;
- help to regulate emotions;
- promote a better quality of life;
- change the structure of the brain, assisting in an improved ability to manage pain; and
- increase your attention and concentration skills.
What’s not to like! These measurable benefits can be available to all of us.
If you haven't watched the program yet and would like to, hop on to ABC IView and watch The Mindfulness Experiment. To watch a short excerpt with just one participant click here! Enjoy! And if you'd like to come along to a HeadRest MBSR course the early bird bookings are now open. Book www.headrest.com.au