Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Chronic Pain

Having practiced mindfulness meditation throughout different stages of my life. I was aware of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program and clinic located at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester MA .

Well known, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., is the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. He is also the founding member of the Cambridge Zen Center.

He is well versed on the subject of mindfulness meditation. He has authored many books on the subject of meditation including, his book "Full Catastrophe Living" which is based on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction clinic and practices.

Although, I had never had any reason to look any further into MBSR in the past. After a summer of physical therapy and still experiencing chronic pain. I decided to set my wheels in motion. I started reading up on it and have been practicing the mindfulness mediation techniques daily ever since.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program

IN MBSR you learn to be friend your pain, with gentle loving kindness. You learn the importance of positive thoughts and non-judgmental thinking and how to draw from your deeper inner resources to cope with your pain.

If thoughts enter your mind during the meditation process you acknowledge this from a non-judgmental state of mind and let it go by bringing your focus back to your breath and releasing the thought.

The same method is used for pain. If you are experiencing pain in the middle of your meditation, notice it and bring your focus back to your breathing. You learn to become mindful of your pain and different sensations in your body throughout the day. You listen to your body and what it is telling you.

One of the first and foremost techniques in mindfulness meditation is learning how to breath properly and paying attention to the sensations that accompany each breath.

Visualization for Breathing

Learning to visualize the breath helped me out immensely with this practice. On the inhalation breath you feel the air coming in through your nostrils, visualize inflating your stomach like a balloon. On the exhalation breath you feel the air leaving your nostrils as the balloon in your belly begins to deflate. This style of breathing can take awhile to get used to.

Mindfulness Bases Stress Reduction Workbok

The Body Scan

One of the first formal meditation practices learned at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center is, "the body scan". Patients learn to get in touch with their bodies by doing a body scan. Starting off, they get as comfortable as possible by sitting, lying down, sitting up against a wall, using pillows as props or whatever position allows them to sit comfortably.

This practice is an intensive 4 week introduction. Patients are instructed to do the body scan 6 days a week for 45 minutes each day. Patients scan their bodies from head to toe, going in and out of various regions.

As we all know, when sitting for any length of time, whether you are dealing with chronic pain or not your body will eventually experience some form of discomfort. Patients are taught to acknowledge the discomfort by accepting it without reacting to it by bringing their attention back to their bellies and focus on their breathing.

What the body teaches us...

Our bodies become our teachers, bodily sensations are no longer seen as distractions or felt as annoyances. Our bodies are our friends. Sitting and listening to our bodies, as we would sit and listen to our best friend with a non-judgmental attitude and supportive open heart.

Learning to see your body as a friend allows us to shift our perceptions and change our attitudes. We learn to treat our selves with gentle, loving kindness and acceptance.

We begin to acquire adversity and learn how to deal with pain and discomfort. We develop new positive attitudes and ways of coping. Such as; a deeper sense of concentration, patience with our pain, stress tolerance, flexibility and an inner sense calm and well being, to name a few. This is just the beginning of what MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) is all about.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, (MBSR) is used as an alternative or complimentary medicine in a wide range of illnesses and disease.

From treating every day stress, to Medical Conditions such as; asthma, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, heart disease to Psychological Disorders like, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, (aka, PTSD), depression, anorexia, etc. etc.

It has become more popular and wide spread as people, have found success in managing and learning how to deal with stressors and pain. I highly recommend MBSR to anyone.

If you are interested in reading more on the subject of mindfulness meditation.  Please be sure to check out;  Mindfulness Meditation Techniques and Creative Writing.  Along with, "Discovering Wisdom through Creative Writing and Meditation".

Article(C)2010 Sage Williams. All rights reserved.

The copyright to this article is owned by Sage Williams. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

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Comments 19 comments

Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

I have heard good this about this. I don't always practice what I know is good for me.

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Meditation is one of the most if not the most powerful tool we can use to alter our lives and direct our path in any directions we so desire. I very much enjoyed reading your work on mindfulness based stress reduction msrb, great stuff, I look forward to reading more of your articles on this topic. Peace and Wellness, :)

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago Author

sandy-Hi Sandy, - So nice to see you. Well if you ever get to a point where you are in a lot of pain and nothing else is working try to remember MBSR.

katiem - Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. I agree so much with all that you said. It's great to see you. I have a lot of catching up to do. I need to revisit some of your hubs. Talk to you again soon.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

I haven't heard of this before but will have to check out the videos - bookmarking for later. I do believe that meditation or even positive thinking can certainly make our lives better and increase our peace of mind and well-being.

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago Author

akirchner - Great to see you. I really do hope that you look into this further. It really is amazing for anyone who has to learn ways to manage their stress, illnesses, chronic pain or whatever ails you..


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago

100% mark to this ! Awesome !

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago Author

Ingeria - thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad that you liked it.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada

Intersting hub sage...will have to read on ansd saee what else you have to say about this subject...had never heard of MBSR...thanks...

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago Author

ulrike Grace - So nice to see you thanks for taking the time to read and comment.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Sage, I think I am reading your hubs backwards (newest to oldest) but I have heard about some of what you have written in this hub from my sister. Your hubs have inspired me this morning. Thanks! Rated up!

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago Author

Pamela - Once again, thanks so much. I am delighted to hear that you are inspired by what you have read. I'm not sure if you are reading them backwards or if I wrote them backwards. (LOL) what started out as one hub turned into three and by the time I was finished I really wasn't exactly sure which order to publish them in.

Many thanks,


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

Quite interesting. Voted up, marked useful, awesome, beautiful and shared.

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago Author

pmccray - Thanks once again for your vote and comments. It is greatly appreciated.


BlissfulWriter profile image

BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

That is a great video of Jon Kabat-Zinn talking at Google. I read his book. I just recently read another book "Fully Present" on mindfulness too (which I wrote about).

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 5 years ago Author


Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. Jon Kabit Zinn is my guru. Nice to hear from someone else who likes him as well.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 4 years ago from Philippines

You offered me a good try deep breathing and visualized the process as I read. I like to befriend my body and I'll consider practicing this body scan to befriend my diabetic pain. I learned about this in one of our recollections in church but I totally forgot how to do it. I believe I need more quiet time to welcome this mindfulness technique. Useful and vote up!

Zalia 23 months ago

Luck is fantasy like bad karma is just psehuimnnt for sin! Why do you fault the lord for your short comings?Be honest with yourself,have you read and LIVED by mattews 5? Have you fasted? If you apply for a job and don't get it do you fault the company(non-discriminating)? but its not totally your fault you've been misguided like the rest of the world but the worst thing to do is give up your search for whats real because you will die one day..but will you be able to say you've tried everything?

Retta 23 months ago

I am totally wowed and prareped to take the next step now.

Allan 23 months ago

You should build your own pepoerticn of what god is, for example I believe that god is everything and everything is god, we are all one. Nature is equal to god and nature is a living thing ALL IN THEIR OWN WAY, planet earth, sun, flowers, animals or everything else you see are a living thing in their own way. God doesn't have to be the god we hear about from many religious people. I used to be allergic to the word GOD but with time I have changed my views and built my own view of what god means

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