Stress reduction resources
The term mindfulness refers to a quality of mind. It is an awareness that includes the ability to pay attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. Mindfulness meditation trains the mind to stay focused. By practicing you begin to notice when your attention has wandered and learn how to gently bring it back. With practice this ability strengthens and instead of functioning on auto pilot we begin to live more fully in the present.
Practicing Mindfulness also improves the capacity for lowering one's negative reactivity to challenging experiences. It reduces stress and anxiety and increases positive emotions, cognitive ability, creativity, and productivity.
The practice of Mindfulness – present moment awareness - has been scientifically proven to reduce the effects of chronic stress. Over thirty years ago, Jon Kabat-Zinn, at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, created the 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) that is used worldwide to counter the negative effects of stress. MBSR is a combination of meditation, yoga, and body awareness that has been effective in helping patients to better manage the pain of chronic conditions and improve overall health and well-being.
Learn more with the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center.
Helpful mindfulness practices
STOP is a simple one minute practice that provides a way to step out of “automatic pilot” into the present moment:
- S –stop
- T – take a breath
- 0 – observe what’s going on with you – physically, emotionally, and mentally
- P - proceed
RAIN is another simple practice that is helpful when working with cravings:
- R – recognize/relax into what’s arising
- A – accept/allow it to be there
- I – investigate bodily sensations and thoughts
- N – note what is happening from moment to moment
Regular meditation practice can help you to feel calm and grounded even when there is chaos around you. Studies have shown that just 25 minutes of meditation, three times per week can make a difference in our mental and physical health.
Meditation trains the mind to focus on the present moment instead of worrying about the past or the future. Anyone can do it. It just takes consistency and practice.
Tips on How to Meditate
- Take a stable and comfortable seated position.
- Not leaning back in a chair may help you be more alert.
- Having both feet flat on the floor feel may help you feel more grounded.
- If you are comfortable, close your eyes (or focus on a spot on the floor in front of you).
- Use an effortless breath and observe your bodily sensations.
- Pay attention to the in breath, the out breath and the pauses between.
- You may notice how your breath changes spontaneously from breath to breath.
- You may notice a brief still point at the end of an out breath and the beginning of an in breath.
- Each time you are breathing in, notice you are breathing in.
- Each time you are breathing out, notice you are breathing out.
- When you notice your mind wandering, gently bring your full attention back to your breathing.
- Repeat for several minutes- Increase as tolerated.
The ancient practice of yoga has powerful health and mood benefits. To find yoga studios and classes in your community, visit meetup.org.
Losing yourself in any kind of exercise can reduce stress.
You can search and request books online through the MaineHealth Learning Resource Center Libraries
Books are free to borrow for up to 3 weeks and can be mailed to you directly with a postage-paid envelope to make it even easier for you.
You can also call or email a Health Educator at (866) 509-5183 – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- 10% Happier by Dan Harris
- Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson
- Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Includes CD) by Jan Chozen Bays
- Eat What You Love. Love What You Eat
- Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food
Online Newsletters, Articles, and Websites
Access mediation wherever and whenever you want with these easy to use apps:
- Portrait of a Killer: Robert Sapolsky is a neuroscientist at Stanford University and a leading authority on the effects of stress. In this award winning National Geographic documentary, he explains how the effects of modern day chronic stress is affecting our health.
- What is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction? by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Peel Back the Onion by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Coming to Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Palouse Mindfulness: A free online program
- Mindful Yoga 1
- Mindful Yoga 2
- Stress and Mindfulness: UC San Diego Health
10% Happier with Dan Harris: ABC Radio
What is mindfulness?
Practicing mindfulness is one way to change your relationship to stress, and improve your overall health and well-being.Watch video