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The happiness we are looking for
Everyone wants happiness – and no one wants anguish. Many behaviors and mental attitudes contribute to happiness or lack of happiness. With so much advice about what might make us happy, MBSR steps in with a clear and practical pathway, giving people training in the fundamentals of well-being and how to reduce their stress and pain.
Well-being includes happiness, health and more
Well-being is a positive state of physical and mental health plus a capacity to regulate emotional responses and behaviors in ways that enable overall health and, ultimately, happiness. Well-being rests upon coherence and consistency among an individual’s goals, intentions, attitudes, and behaviors. It also rests upon realistic control of behaviors that affect health and relationships.
The ability to make positive meaning
Well-being develops into a capacity for making positive meaning, which naturally will include contentment, acceptance, and gratitude. Well-being deepens into inner stability and joy, expressing itself as compassion for oneself and others. This is truly coming home as a mature adult, where values and actions are aligned. Everyday life—with its limitations and problems—is vivid and enlivening. One enjoys independence and inter-dependency.
Mindfulness is a reference point for well-being
Mindfulness is present moment non-judging attention, on purpose, moment by moment.”
–Jon Kabat Zinn, from Full Catastrophe Living
Mindfulness is the practice and establishment of moving beyond primary reliance on implicit memory (our ideas, beliefs, and other conditioned thinking) into moment-to-moment direct experiencing. Over time this practice leads one away from nearly exclusive focus on self-concern and opens the way to a more comprehensive point of reference: compassion.
Compassion and well-being
Compassion is expressed as coherence in the body and mind, as self-awareness and self-care, and as awareness of and care towards others – and is experienced as profound well-being.
MBSR provides building blocks for well-being
MBSR provides practical training in the building blocks for well-being. These include:
- Learning ways of soothing oneself when faced with pain and distress
- Modulating powerful emotions such as fear, anger and euphoria
- Regulating behaviors that either enhance or compromise well-being
- Acquiring the capacity to pause and choose desired actions
- Cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of sensations, emotions, impulses and thought
- Recognizing meaningful insights into patterns of thought, feeling and behavior
- Directing attention purposefully to what is important and valued
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A safe haven for the mind
Having mindfulness as a reference point is like a safe haven for the mind. Mindfulness interrupts the stress cycle by introducing conscious responding rather than automatic reacting. Recovery from chronic stress becomes possible and achievable for anyone willing to learn the art of mindfulness.
Happiness is within reach.