Have you tried MBSR?

What? No, it's not a new pre-biotic or fitness program.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

It’s a technique based on meditation (for those of you who say you can’t meditate) that can help you better manage stress. Ah, mindfulness-based stress reduction.

This weekend I presented the first in my series: Thriving Women, and led the class through a “body scan” to learn about MBSR firsthand and get their reactions. It was interesting to note if we are in touch with our physical body or not, as we moved through this exercise.

I wanted to share this with everyone in the first session as it sets the groundwork for the next two sessions. We need to assess where we are, before we are able to identify what we truly desire and then act on it. And that is the takeaway of this series designed for women who are looking to thrive as they get older, instead of packing it in.

MBSR is a perfect tool for developing our sense of where we are, in the present moment, and how we feel and how we think. It is the practice of paying attention to your state, your thoughts, and observing without judgment. Judgment, that is such a part of our inner dialog, isn't it?

It was developed back in the 1970’s by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center to help patients ease chronic pain. It is based on yogic and meditative practice and strengthens the mind-body connection.

What I really like about it is how although it is often done in a group setting, the individual is alone within their own meditative space as they focus on observing their body.

I use MBSR with many of my clients to help them home in on where they might hold tension in their body or ruminate on certain thoughts. I consider it a very valuable assessment tool.

Having spent this past year in daily meditation practice, I have deep respect for this type of self-inquiry, and it has been invaluable to me on a personal level.

As we know, stress is part of our every day and anything that can help us lower our stress level is a good thing. And not only for the mind.

You’ve probably heard of the main stress hormone, called “cortisol.” It’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep.

Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity?

I will be delving into this (and more) next Saturday when I present part two of Thriving Women - food and fitness, especially focused on women who are determined to thrive, rather than just survive middle age. Hope to see you there!


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