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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Techniques Taught at Treatment Centers in Massachusetts

We all used to wish to grow up fast when we were kids; now that we are grown up, doesn’t that feel like a kick in the nuts? 

Well, adult life has its ups and downs, but we would like to argue that it is mostly filled with highs. How else would we learn the value of actually loving and caring for someone, go on trips and tours all over the world, or find the thrill in making big as well as small achievements?

However, it’s true that adult life comes with its overabundance of responsibilities. The pressure of being the breadwinner, becoming anxious about unexpected outcomes, and your perfectionist attitude that isn’t ever satisfied with anything short of perfection. 

We have all been there from time to time. 

Unsurprisingly, this builds up a lot of stress and makes us feel overwhelmed – 57%-66% of adults aged 18-44 worldwide report severe symptoms of stress. And if it isn’t managed, it has been found to develop additional health impacts in 7 out of 10 adults (“no pressure” *sarcasm*).

But since you read the title, you already know we’re about to talk about stress reduction techniques. Specifically mindfulness-based techniques, what they are, and how you can practice them to reduce your stress right away.

Additionally, we’ll also be discussing these techniques as they are utilized in Massachusetts mental health treatment centers. So, enough foreplay, let’s get into stress reduction techniques starting with why MBSR. 


Definition of MBSR

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based program that utilizes meditation and focused awareness training to help individuals manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. 

Developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s, it promotes present-moment awareness and mindful responses to challenging situations.

What Symptoms Does MBSR Treat?

As mentioned, MBSR is an evidence-based treatment, which means it is backed by studies that prove its effectiveness. According to this study, MBSR was found to significantly reduce generalized anxiety disorder in 58% of participants after an 8-week program, compared to 33% in the control group.

In addition to anxiety, MBSR has been found to treat the following symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Frequent colds or weak immune system
  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Rapid heartbeat and chest pains
  • Tense muscles, joint aches, and pains
  • Diminished sexual desire/ability

What Emotions And Mood MBSR Improve?

MBSR, as the name suggests, targets stress treatment and aims to heal it from the roots. So, if you’ve been encountering these indications in your general mood and emotions, you will definitely benefit from MBSR:

Feeling Over-The-Edge:

  • Overwhelmed and burdened
  • Racing thoughts
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Forgetfulness

Changes In Your Usual Persona

  • Indecisiveness and Difficulty in making decisions
  • Personal appearances don’t matter anymore
  • Failing punctuality
  • Fidgeting, nail-biting, foot-tapping, showing the signs of nervousness

Emotional Instability

  • Minor inconveniences make you highly irritable with occasional outbursts
  • Overreactions in situations in which you usually kept a calm demeanor
  • Difficulty learning and retaining new information, because of internal volatility
Mental Health Rehab Massachusetts

MBSR Techniques Taught At Treatment Centers

Looking at the above symptoms, it’s evident that stress is inevitable and can reach every nook and cranny in the personal lives of every single person. However, not to worry, these are the MBSR techniques taught at the mental health treatment centers in Massachusetts, which you can be a part of to say goodbye to your stress.

Categories Of Mindfulness Exercises

You might think mindfulness is a certain state of mind, but how exactly do you achieve that? Turns out, there are two categories of mindfulness exercises that focus on different key areas. These categories are:

Focus Mindfulness

This involves looking inwards, such as focusing on a particular stimulus like breathing, to notice what’s happening in your mind.

Awareness Mindfulness

In this category, you focus on what’s happening outside such as watching the birds or observing the gentle wind gracing the tea leaves. 

Examples of Mindfulness Exercises

  • Mindful Breathing – taking deep focused breaths and focusing on what it does to your body, how your chest and stomach move, what’s its smell, its temperature, etc.
  • Body Scan – you focus on feeling different areas of your body, starting from your head and all the way to your body. This will help in identifying sore or unusually tight areas in your body, and then focus on relaxing it.
  • Object Meditation – in this exercise you turn your attention towards a particular object or food. Utilize all five senses and make some inferences about it involving its color, taste, smell, weight, size, texture, sound, etc.
  • Mindful Walking – this involves simply taking a stroll at a leisurely pace and noticing how your body is responding. How are your feet hitting the floor, how does your breathing respond, can you match your breathing to your footsteps and achieve a graceful cadence?
  • Mindful Movements – similar to mindful walking, this time you’ll be involved in some exercises or stretching, and notice your body’s response to a particular pose you’re holding.
  • Simply Observing – this is as simple as just sitting and observing the environment around you. But you will have to prevent your mind from wandering in your thoughts and just look at what’s happening around you.
  • Urge Surfing – in this exercise, you’ll be riding the wave of emotions that you’re feeling. If you’re experiencing joy or negative feelings, just surf through them. This will allow you to truly enjoy happy experiences; for negative feelings, your mind would automatically be thinking of the solutions and prevent the thoughts from building up.

Techniques Taught At Massachusetts’ Mental Health Treatment Centers

The exercises mentioned above, you can practice on your own, but that’s only possible once you know the right methods. For example, how long to practice each exercise, what’s the right way to practice, etc. Massachusetts’ mental health treatment centers can teach them to you, so you can practice on your own once you get good at them. Here are the techniques taught at these centers:

  • Sitting Meditation: This foundational practice involves sitting comfortably, closing eyes (optional), and focusing on the breath. This simple act of observing the breath without judgment trains the mind to be present in the moment and let go of distracting thoughts.
  • Body Scan: By systematically directing attention to different parts of the body, participants learn to identify and release physical tension, promoting relaxation and grounding. This practice can be especially helpful for individuals experiencing chronic pain or somatic symptoms.
  • Walking Meditation: This technique involves bringing mindful awareness to the act of walking. Participants focus on the sensations of each step, the movement of the body, and the surrounding environment. This can be a helpful way to cultivate presence and mindfulness in everyday activities.
  • Yoga: Adapted for MBSR, yoga postures are used to connect breath with movement, increasing body awareness and promoting relaxation. Gentle stretches and mindful movements can help reduce stress and improve flexibility.
  • Informal Mindfulness: MBSR emphasizes integrating mindfulness into daily life beyond formal meditation sessions. Participants learn to incorporate mindful awareness into various activities, such as eating, washing dishes, or spending time in nature. This helps cultivate a sustained sense of presence and calmness throughout the day.
  • Equine (Pets) Therapy: Equine Therapy is a complementary exercise offered along with other evidence-based techniques, which involves taking care of a horse. This doesn’t necessarily mean learning to ride them (which might still be practiced) but rather grooming, feeding, and taking care of your horse in the presence of a supervisor. 


Summing It Up

Once you learn the above-mentioned techniques, you can practice them in your own time and make sure you stay in the best mental health even beyond treatment for every single day. 

There are numerous benefits of practicing mindfulness-based stress reduction such as treating anxiety, panic attacks, depression, fatigue, eating disorders, and much more. 

We live in a fast-paced environment; either we are working all the time, thanks to online work technology, or we are observing new information the rest of the time, thanks to social media.

It’s easy to get lost in information overload; MBSR helps to ground ourselves and calm even the most stressful thoughts. 

If you’d like to practice and learn MBSR, contact Resilience Behavioral Health to be a part of a stress-free experience. Click here to go to the contact page or call 888.401.1179 to talk to your best health representative right now.