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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Updated on January 31, 2013
Yoga Prayer by the Sea
Yoga Prayer by the Sea | Source

This is my own interpretation based on readings I’ve done and application to my own life. But it’s something that I’ve found helps me to maintain perspective and consider others’ points of view. It’s so easy for misunderstandings to occur, especially in the day of email and texting. So don’t let the lack of communication or the presence of miscommunication ruin your day or your relationship. When someone says or does something that upsets you, stop and think.

Do you use mindfulness in your own life to help reduce stress and maintain equilibrium?

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What did they really say?

The first thing you want to do when you feel stress or you think that someone has insulted you is to actually consider the words the person said. What did the actually say? What were the words that they used?

For example, what if you cooked a new dinner. Your partner ate it and said, “I didn’t like that.” What did they really say? Just that they didn’t like the dinner. You might have asked for clarification to find out what they didn’t like about it, but maybe they couldn’t articulate their feelings and just said, “I don’t know. I just didn’t like it.”

What beliefs and feelings did I put into their words?

Now you need to think about what words or feelings you put into the words you heard.

Using the previous example, did you assume that because your partner didn’t like dinner, they didn’t like you? Did you think that, perhaps, they were trying to complain about another part of your life together? Were you already having a bad day and took it as a personal criticism instead of simply listening to the word that were being used?

Always consider how you apply your own beliefs and feelings. You may be surprised at how much you assume into what other people say or do and how much stress these assumptions cause.

Image of Mindfulness and Wisdom
Image of Mindfulness and Wisdom | Source

What are other interpretations of the words/situation?

Just because you have an initial assumption based on the words someone has said does not mean that you have to follow that assumption. Consider what else could have been meant.

Again, thinking back to your partner telling you that he or she didn’t like the meal you prepared, what else can be meant by those words? Could he or she just be saying that it was too spicy? Not spicy enough? Included an ingredient that he or she didn’t like? Maybe it was even simpler than that – he or she just wasn’t in the mood for that food at that point.

Don’t trap yourself into the first thing you think. Allow yourself to think about it critically and mindfully. Allow yourself to change your interpretation, and in doing so, allow yourself to lose that stressful feeling that came from a potentially incorrect assumption.

A relief depicting seven  postures of meditation near Dhamekh Stupa.
A relief depicting seven postures of meditation near Dhamekh Stupa. | Source

What can I do to maintain peace/equilibrium in my life?

When you’ve decided that you believe you have true understanding of what that person has said, it become times to think about ways to use those words to keep yourself in a state of peace and equilibrium. Avoid stressful thoughts.

Knowing that your partner didn’t like that meal, what can you do to keep yourself from being upset about it? There are a multitude of options, but some of the easiest ones to keep yourself from being stressed are to avoid making the meal again, finishing the leftovers yourself (if you have any and if you liked it), or offering other recipe choices to your partner to choose from. You may be able to determine that it was too spicy just from the choices he or she makes. This will put your mind at ease, and it will let you deal with what could have been a stressful or frustration situation without letting it escalate and drown you in negative feelings.

Meditation as Medicine: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction with Bob Stahl

Closing Mindful Thoughts

People may say purposefully hurtful things or things that are accidentally hurtful, but you don’t have to let yourself be hurt. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” She’s right. Our beliefs influence how we perceive and understand what others say. If we’re able to know our own beliefs and consider them thoughtfully and mindfully, we can move past our upsets and remain calm, peaceful, and serene.


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