MBSR Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction 8 Week Course

Week 1

Theme: Setting the scene 

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Home Practice:

    • 10 minute or 30 minute body scan on 6 days this week on Insight Timer. There are now loads of great mindfulness app to try and see what works for you. You can find our recordings here for the;
  • Choose one daily routine activity and deliberately bring moment-to-moment awareness to that activity each time you do it, just as we did in the raisin exercise eg brushing your teeth or making a drinking a brew.

This weeks poem;

Sisyphus (Sissyfuss) Perhaps It Would Eventually Rode, But…

That rock that we have been pushing up the hill – that one

That keeps rolling back down and we keep pushing back up – what if we stopped

We are not Sisyphus.

This rock is not a punishment

It’s something we have choose to push.

Who knows why.

I look at all the names we once carved into its sedimentary sides.

How important I thought they were, those names.

How I’ve clung to those labels

Who’s right?

Who’s wrong?

How I’ve cared about who’s pushed harder and who’s been slack.

Now all I want is to let the rock roll back to where it belongs.

Which is wherever it lands,

And you and I could, imagine! Walk unencumbered all the way to the top.

And walk. And walk.

And never stop.

Except to discover what our hands might do if for once they were no longer pushing.

Week: 2

Theme: From Being in our Heads to Mindfulness of the Breath (Perception)

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      • Home Practice: Do Body Scan for at least 6 days of the week again this week
    • Choose a different activity to be mindful of each day, e.g. getting dressed, brushing teeth, first cup of tea or coffee.
    • Keep a record of one pleasant event each day.

This weeks poem;

She Let Go

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.  She let go of the judgments.  She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.  She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go.  She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go.  She let go of all of the memories that held her back.  She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.  She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyse whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

Safire Rose

Week 3:

Mindfulness of the Body in Motion and in Stillness (Gathering the Scattered Mind – anchoring with body and breath)

    • Practice the standing/sitting mindful movements daily for about 15 minutes, mindful of what you feel and without rushing or striving, on 6 days.
    • Practice the 3 stage breathing space 3 times daily, at times you have decided in advance (Use the audio recording the first couple of times then try doing without it).
    • Keep a record of one unpleasant event each day.
  • Continue paying attention deliberately during one routine activity, and begin to bring this deliberate mindfulness to other moments during the day, when you remember.

THE JOURNEY BY MARY OLIVER

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice –

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late enough,

and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do –

determined to save

the only life you could save.

Week 4

Theme: Noticing our Reactions to Stress

stop

    • Practice mindful walking either in everyday life or using this audio guidance 
  • Bring Mindful awareness to daily activities such as waking up, before lunch, going to bed.

    Fully Alive


    I will not live an unlived life

    I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire

    I choose to inhabit my days,

    To allow my living to open me.

    To make me less afraid,

    More accessible.

    Loosen my heart until it becomes

    A wing, a torch, a promise.

    I choose to risk my significance

    To live so

    That which comes to me as seed

    Goes to the next as blossom

    And that which comes to me as blossom

    Goes on as fruit

    – Dawna Markova –

Week 5 Theme:

Allowing things to be as they are – from Reacting to Responding Mindfully

Poem: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Recommended Home Practice

    • Practice 20-30 minutes sitting with breath and body meditation including sounds, then thoughts and feelings at least twice this week.
    • On the other days do a 20-minute practice or two 10-minute practices of your choice. Try doing this without the audio recording – you can use a timer or an app on your phone.
    • Practice the 3 Step Breathing Space at least 3 times each day, either when you think of it or connect it to daily activities, as last week.
    • Practice the 3 Step Breathing Space Coping/Responsive whenever you notice unpleasant feelings or feel unbalanced.
    • Practice deliberate moment-to-moment awareness from time to time during the day.
  • Treat yourself with kindness this week. 

This is the short animation about the head v’s the heart

Week 6:

Theme: Turning towards difficulty with kindness to ourselves

Home Practice for the next week:
    • Do the Mountain Meditation Practice a couple of times this week. Or if you think it may be helpful, practice the 20-minutes Sitting with Difficulty meditation a couple of times. Choose a minor difficulty until you have got some familiarity with this practice .
    • On the other days do a 20-minute sitting practice (breath, body, sound). Try doing this without the audio recording using a timer or an app to tell you when time’s up.
    • Practice the 3 stage breathing space 3 times each day, either when you think of it or connect it to daily activities, as last week. Practice the 3 stage breathing space with the extended instructions whenever you notice unpleasant feelings or feel stressed.
  • Practice deliberate moment-to-moment awareness from time to time during your day.

Poem: Guesthouse by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Week: 7

Theme: How can I take good care of myself? Weaving your Parachute

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Home Practice for the next week:

  • Loving kindness for Beginners practice at least once this week (sometimes this can arouse emotions and resistance, so see if it’s the right time for you – remember it’s fine to stop this practice if that feels necessary).
  • Choose one practice that you will continue daily as the basis of your practice for the next month. You can try using the audio guidance on alternate weeks, or even less.
  • Practice the 3 Stage Breathing Space 3 times each day. Practice the 3 Stage Breathing Space coping/responsive whenever you notice unpleasant feelings or feel stressed.
  • Practice deliberate moment-to-moment awareness from time to time during the day: you can focus on the breath to ground yourself in the here and now.
  • Look at the Self-Care Plan and complete as much as you can. Weave your parachute.
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