Exploring Mindfulness, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and The MBSR Online Course
To ensure that I don’t overwhelm the reader, I have divided the article into SECTIONS:
In SECTION 1, I’ll talk about the concept, origin, and practice called mindfulness.
In SECTION 2, I’ll cover Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), explaining what it is and why there are health and research merits.
In SECTION 3, I’ll outline what’s in an MBSR program/course, including the formal meditation practices.
In SECTION 4, I’ll share my thoughts about taking The MBSR Online Course by Sounds True.
SECTION 1: Mindfulness
What Is Mindfulness?
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are)
For the Mindfulness section, I have included extensive quotations of passages and/or writings from various authors to capture the beauty of their thoughts and writings about mindfulness.
“Simply put, mindfulness is moment-to-moment awareness. It is cultivated by purposefully paying attention to things we ordinarily never give a moment’s thought to. It is a systematic approach to developing new kinds of control and wisdom in our lives, based on our inner capacities for relaxation, paying attention, awareness, and insight.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn (Full Catastrophe Living)
“[M]indfulness does not involve trying to get anywhere or feel anything special. Rather it involves allowing yourself to be where you already are, to become more familiar with your own actual experience moment by moment.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn (Full Catastrophe Living)
“Mindfulness does not involve pushing thoughts away or walling yourself off from them to quiet your mind. We are not trying to stop our thoughts as they cascade through the mind. We are simply making room for them, observing them as thoughts, and letting them be, using the breath as our anchor or ‘home base’ for observing, for reminding us to stay focused and calm.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn (Full Catastrophe Living)
“In mindfulness, strange as it may sound, we are not trying to fix anything or to solve our problems. Curiously, holding them in awareness moment by moment without judging them sometimes leads over time to their dissolving on their own. You may come to see your situation in a new light that reveals new ways of relating to it creatively out of your own growing stability and clarity of mind, out of your own wisdom, and your caring for what is most important.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn (Guided Mindfulness Meditation Program – Series 1)
“We are not trying to actively achieve a state of deep relaxation (or any other state for that matter) while practicing mindfulness. But interestingly, by opening to an awareness of how things actually are in the present moment, we often taste very deep states of relaxation and well-being, both of body and mind, even in the face of extraordinary difficulties.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn (Guided Mindfulness Meditation Program – Series 1)
“Meditation is not about trying to get anywhere else. It is about allowing yourself to be exactly where you are and as you are, and for the world to be exactly as it is in this moment as well.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn (Coming to Our Senses)
“If you start paying attention to where your mind is from moment to moment throughout the day, chances are you will find that considerable amounts of your time and energy are expended in clinging to memories, being absorbed in reverie, and regretting things that have already happened and are over. And you will probably find that as much or more energy is expended in anticipating, planning, worrying, and fantasizing about the future and what you want to happen or don’t want to happen. Because of this inner busyness, which is going on almost all the time, we are liable either to miss a lot of the texture of our life experience or to discount its value and meaning.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn (Full Catastrophe Living)
“We tend to be particularly unaware that we are thinking virtually all the time. The incessant stream of thoughts flowing through our minds leaves us very little respite for inner quiet. And we leave precious little room for ourselves anyway just to be, without having to run around doing things all the time. Our actions are all too frequently driven rather than undertaken in awareness, driven by those perfectly ordinary thoughts and impulses that run through the mind like a coursing river, if not a waterfall. We get caught up in the torrent and it winds up submerging our lives as it carries us to places we may not wish to go and may not even realize we are headed for. Meditation means learning how to get out of this current, sit by its bank and listen to it, learn from it, and then use its energies to guide us rather than to tyrannize us.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are)
Mindfulness meditation is simple, but it is not always easy. It can be quite difficult to not let your mind wander, and to pay attention without judgment, or without hoping, striving, analyzing, reacting, or trying to change anything about whatever is arising at the moment. And each time a thought, feeling, or body sensation comes up, simply acknowledge and accept it without judgment, then gently escort the mind back to the breath. In mindfulness, when the mind starts wandering, just gently escort it back to the present moment by using the sensations of the breath as an anchor (Greeson & Brantley, 2009).
“Mindfulness is full conscious awareness. It is paying full conscious attention to whatever thoughts, feelings and emotions are flowing through your mind, body, and breath without judging or criticizing them in any way. It is being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment without being trapped in the past or worrying about the future. It is living in the moment not for the moment.” -Danny Penman (The Art of Breathing)
“Mindfulness is not a religion nor is it ‘opting out’ or detaching yourself from the world. It’s about connecting and embracing life in all of its chaotic beauty, with all of your faults and foibles. The aim of mindfulness is not to intentionally clear the mind of thoughts. It is to understand how the mind works. To see how it unwittingly ties itself in knots to create anxiety, stress, unhappiness, and exhaustion. It teaches you to observe how your thoughts, feelings, and emotions rise and fall like waves on the sea. And in the calm spaces in between lie moments of piercing insight.” -Danny Penman (The Art of Breathing)
“Mindfulness can help us see and accept things as they are. This means we can come to peace with the inevitability of change and the impossibility of always winning. The concerns about things going wrong that fill our minds each day begin to lose their grip. The traffic jam, rained-out picnic, misplaced keys, and lost sales are all easier to accept. We become more comfortable with the reality that sometimes we’ll get the date or the promotion and other times we won’t. By letting go of our struggle to control everything, we become less easily thrown by life’s daily ups and downs—and less likely to get caught in emotional problems like depression and anxiety or stress-related physical problems like chronic pain and insomnia.” -Ronald Siegel (The Mindfulness Solution)
Seven key attitudes of mindfulness (Kabat-Zinn, 2005b)
Non-judging. Be an impartial witness to your own experience. Become aware of the constant stream of judging and reacting to inner and outer experience
Patience. A form of wisdom, patience demonstrates that we accept the fact that things sometimes unfold in their own time. Allow for this
Beginner’s Mind. Remaining open and curious allows us to be receptive to new possibilities and prevents us from getting stuck in the rut of our own expertise
Trust. Develop a basic trust with yourself and your feelings. Know it’s OK to make mistakes
Non-Striving. The goal is to be with yourself right here, right now. Pay attention to what is unfolding without trying to change anything
Acceptance. See things as they are. This sets the stage for acting appropriately in your life no matter what is happening
Letting Go. When we pay attention to our inner experience, we discover there are certain thoughts, emotions, and situations the mind wants to hold onto. Let your experience be what it is right now
Origin of the Word ‘Mindfulness’
For the origin of the word mindfulness, I consulted an article by Rupert Gethin (2011). Gethin’s article cited Monier Williams’, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (1872). Thus, I have referenced both Gethin’s explanation as well as looked in Monier Williams’ A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (1872) regarding the origin of the word mindfulness.
T. W. Rhys Davids was (most likely) the ﬁrst person to, beginning in 1881 and finally settling in 1910 (Lomas, 2017), translate the Buddhist technical term sati (in its Pali form) or smrti (in its Sanskrit form) into the English word ‘mindfulness.’ We’re unsure as to why Rhys Davids chose this word since he never reveals the reason. According to Gethin (2011), the dictionaries available to Rhys Davids at the time – especially Monier Williams’ A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (1872) – would suggest such translations as ‘remembrance, memory, reminiscence, recollection, thinking of or upon, bearing in mind, calling to mind’ (from Monier Williams, 1872). Monier Williams (1872) offered the following as a range of meanings: ‘to recollect, call to mind, bear in mind, think of, think upon, be mindful of’, and this may have suggested the translation ‘mindfulness’ (Gethin, 2011). Interestingly, Gethin (2011) noted that “there is no reason to assume that ‘mindfulness’ is necessarily a particularly surprising translation of sati; the OED records the use of the English ‘mindfulness’ in the sense of ‘the state or quality of being mindful; attention; memory (obs.); intention, purpose (obs.)’ from 1530 (www.oed.com)” (pp. 263-264).
However, “it seem clear . . . that with Rhys Davids’ translation of the Mahāsatipatthāna Sutta [in 1910], ‘mindfulness’ soon became established as the only possible English translation of sati” (Gethin, 2011, p. 265).
Secular Application of Mindfulness Meditation
In the late 1970s, the molecular biologist Jon Kabat-Zinn, a longtime meditator in the Zen Buddhist tradition saw the chance to introduce meditation to the American public—without the Buddhist framework or terminology—by scrubbing meditation of its religious origins (Heffernan, 2015).
“Mindfulness is basically just a particular way of paying attention and the awareness that arises through paying attention in that way. It is a way of looking deeply into oneself in the spirit of self-inquiry and self-understanding. For this reason it can be learned and practiced, as is done in mindfulness-based programs throughout the world, without appealing to Asian culture or Buddhist authority to enrich it or authenticate it. Mindfulness stands on its own as a powerful vehicle for self-understanding and healing. In fact, one of the major strengths of MBSR and of all other specialized mindfulness-based programs such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is that they are not dependent on any belief system or ideology. Their potential benefits are therefore accessible for anyone to test for himself or herself” (Kabat-Zinn, 2013, p. lxii)
Kabat-Zinn’s key innovation was taking the traditional week-long meditation retreat (which were typical offerings at the time in the U.S.), but which were inaccessible to those with busy lives, and offer participants classes that took place once a week for eight weeks. Participants, who usually numbered between 35 and 40 per course, were assigned guided meditation recordings to use at home for 45 minutes each day for the duration of the course. They were also instructed on how to be mindful of their breath during their daily activities, expanding the meditative practices and awareness into every part of their lives (Nisbet, 2017).
Envisioning the Application of Mindfulness Meditation
Kabat-Zinn (2011, p. 287) shared about how he came to conceive, formulate, and share the essence of meditation and yoga practices with the world:
“On a two-week vipassanā retreat at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts, in the Spring of 1979, while sitting in my room one afternoon about Day 10 of the retreat, I had a ‘vision’ that lasted maybe 10 seconds. I don’t really know what to call it, so I call it a vision. It was rich in detail and more like an instantaneous seeing of vivid, almost inevitable connections and their implications. It did not come as a reverie or a thought stream, but rather something quite different, which to this day I cannot fully explain and don’t feel the need to.
“I saw in a ﬂash not only a model that could be put in place, but also the long-term implications of what might happen if the basic idea was sound and could be implemented in one test environment—namely that it would spark new ﬁelds of scientiﬁc and clinical investigation, and would spread to hospitals and medical centres and clinics across the country and around the world, and provide right livelihood for thousands of practitioners. Because it was so weird, I hardly ever mentioned this experience to others. But after that retreat, I did have a better sense of what my karmic assignment might be. It was so compelling that I decided to take it on wholeheartedly as best I could.
“It struck me in that fleeting moment that afternoon at the Insight Meditation Society that it would be a worthy work to simply share the essence of meditation and yoga practices as had been learning and practicing them at that point for 13 years, with those who would never come to a place like IMS [Insight Meditation Society] or a Zen Center, and who would never be able to hear it through the words and forms that were being used at meditation centres, or even, back in those days, at yoga centres, which were few and far-between, and very foreign as well.
“A flood of thoughts following the extended moment filled in the picture. Why not try to make meditation so commonsensical that anyone would be drawn to it? Why not develop an American vocabulary that spoke to the heart of the matter, and didn’t focus on the cultural aspects of the traditions out of which the dharma emerged, however beautiful they might be, or on centuries-old scholarly debates concerning fine distinctions in the Abhidharma. This was not because they weren’t ultimately important, but because they would likely cause unnecessary impediments for people who were basically dealing with suffering and seeking some kind of release from it. And, why not do it in the hospital of the medical centre where I happened to be working at the time? After all, hospitals do function as ‘dukkha magnets’ in our society, pulling for stress, pain of all kinds, disease and illness, especially when they have reached levels where it is impossible to ignore them. What better place than a hospital to make the dharma available to people in ways that they might possibly understand it and be inspired by a heartfelt and practical invitation to explore whether it might not be possible to do something for themselves as a complement to their more traditional medical treatments, since the entire raison d’être of the dharma is to elucidate the nature of suffering and its root causes, as well as provide a practical path to liberation from suffering? All this to be undertaken, of course, without ever mentioning the word ‘dharma'” (Kabat-Zinn, 2011, p. 287-288).
SECTION 2: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an 8-week mindfulness meditation training program that includes weekly classes, daily audio-guided home practice, and a day-long retreat (Creswell, 2017). MBSR combines mindfulness meditation and hatha yoga over an 8-week training program in which participants are taught techniques designed to hold their attention in the present moment over extended periods of time. Participants meet on a weekly basis for two-to-three-hour sessions plus one full-day session. They are also assigned homework where they’re required to practice the techniques on their own time using guided meditations and course materials for approximately 45 to 60 minutes per day, six days per week. The program is held in a group setting, but also includes time for individual feedback and support (Reb & Choi, 2014).
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an intensive eight-week training in meditation, hatha yoga, body awareness, behavioral awareness, and emotional awareness (Pai, Shuart, & Drake, 2021) developed in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the Center for Mindfulness, part of the Department of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (now UMass Memorial Health Care Center for Mindfulness). Originally developed as an outpatient stress reduction program for medical patients who were not responding to traditional treatments, its aim was to complement the more traditional medical treatments by challenging patients to train and participate in meditative practices (Kabat-Zinn, 2003). Three formal mindfulness practices of MBSR include: body scan meditation (awareness of the body, region by region), sitting meditation (breathing awareness and awareness of body, feeling tone, mental states, and mental contents), and mindful hatha yoga (gentle, slow stretching & strengthening exercises; emphasizing body awareness) (Cullen, 2011; Kabat-Zinn, 2005b; Salmon, Sephton, & Dreeben, 2011; Santorelli, Meleo-Meyer, Koerbel, Kabat-Zinn, Blacker, Herbette, & Fulwiler, 2017). These three practices are recorded on CDs and given to participants in the eight-week in-person MBSR program to provide home-based guidance. Each practice is designed to encourage exploration of specific experiences: somatosensory (body scan), cognitive (sitting meditation), and kinesthetic (hatha yoga) (Salmon et al., 2011). These core practices typically require a total home practice time of 45-60 minutes a day, six days a week (Salmon et al., 2011; Siegel, 2010).
Early History and Usage of MBSR
At the beginning, Kabat-Zinn referred to what he was doing with patients in the Stress Reduction Clinic (the clinic he founded in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center) as training in “mindfulness meditation” (the term had already been used in the psychological literature). According to Kabat-Zinn, it wasn’t until some point in the early 1990s, over a decade later, that he and his colleagues felt it made sense to formally begin calling what they were doing mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) (Kabat-Zinn, 2011).
Interestingly, it took a long while to move from formally calling what they were doing as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to formally using the word MBSR in his highly acclaimed book Full Catastrophe Living. Even as late as 2005, with the 15th Anniversary Edition of Full Catastrophe Living (2005), the word MBSR is used only in the “Introduction to the 15th Anniversary Edition” section and used just 10 times. It isn’t found anywhere else in the rest of that book. It isn’t until the Revised & Updated Edition of Full Catastrophe Living (2013) that the word MBSR is used freely and openly (can be found over 300 times) throughout the book.
According to Kabat-Zinn (2003, p. 149), “the Stress Reduction Clinic, embedded within a department of medicine and a division of preventive and behavioral medicine, was originally designed to serve as a referral service for physicians and other health providers, to which they could send medical patients with a wide range of diagnoses and conditions who were not responding completely to more traditional treatments, or who were ‘falling through the cracks’ in the health care system altogether and not feeling satisﬁed with their medical treatments and outcomes. MBSR was thus framed from the beginning as a generic challenge to each patient to train in ancient and potentially transformative meditative practices as a complement to his or her medical treatments. The clinic, in the form of an 8-week program for outpatients, was meant to serve as an educational (in the sense of inviting what is already present to come forth) vehicle through which people could assume a degree of responsibility for their own well-being and participate more fully in their own unique movement towards greater levels of health by cultivating and reﬁning our innate capacity for paying attention and for a deep, penetrative seeing/sensing of the interconnectedness of apparently separate aspects of experience, many of which tend to hover beneath our ordinary level of awareness regarding both inner and outer experience.”
Evidence-Based Support for MBSR
Randomized clinical trial or randomized controlled trial (RCT) is an experimental design in which patients are randomly assigned to a group that will receive an experimental treatment, such as a new drug, or to one that will receive a comparison treatment, a standard-of-care treatment, or a placebo. The random assignment occurs after recruitment and assessment of eligibility but before the intervention (VandenBos, 2015).
When properly designed, conducted, and reported, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) represent the gold standard in evaluating the effectiveness of healthcare interventions. RCTs are considered the gold-standard for studying causal relationships as randomization eliminates much of the bias inherent with other study designs (Hariton & Locascio, 2018). While certainly not without limitations, “RCTs have revolutionized medical research and improved the quality of health care by clarifying the benefits and drawbacks of countless interventions” (Bothwell, Greene, Podolsky, & Jones, 2016, p. 2179).
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) provide “promising evidence that mindfulness interventions can improve mental and physical health, cognitive and affective factors, and interpersonal outcomes. Some of the strongest and most reliable RCT evidence indicates that mindfulness interventions (and particularly 8-week mindfulness programs, such MBSR and MBCT) improve the management of chronic pain, reduce depression relapse rates in at-risk individuals, and improve substance abuse outcomes” (Creswell, 2017).
Likewise, in a meta-analysis systematically analyzing the effects of mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) on different outcomes in occupational settings (with 2689 program participants and 2472 employees in control groups), mindfulness in the workplace effectively reduced perceived stress and health complaints while improving well-being and work-related outcomes (work engagement, productivity, job satisfaction). The meta-analysis showed solid evidence that MBPs in the workplace had positive effects on perceived stress, subsyndromal symptoms, burnout, mindfulness, and well-being, across different occupational groups and organizational structures (Vonderlin, Biermann, Bohus, & Lyssenko, 2020).
SECTION 3: MBSR Program/Course
MBSR Course – Session Theme (Brandsma, 2017)
Session 1: Understanding that there is more right with you than wrong with you
Session 2: Exploring perception and creative responding
Session 3: Discovering the pleasure and power of being present
Session 4: Understanding the impact of stress
Session 5: Finding the space for making choices
Session 6: Working with difficult situations
All Day Silent Retreat: This daylong guided retreat takes place between weeks six and seven. The intensive nature of this daylong session is intended to assist participants in firmly and effectively establishing the use of mindfulness across multiple situations in their life, while simultaneously preparing them to utilize these methods far beyond the conclusion of the program.
Session 7: Cultivating kindness toward self and others
Session 8: Embarking on the rest of your life
MBSR Formal Meditation Practices (in the order they’re presented [Brandsma, 2017, pp. 8-9]):
Eating meditation: Mindful eating (typically using a raisin); being aware of all of the sensations and shifts of attention, including loss of attention
Body scan: Lying meditation; checking in with individual body parts and being aware of all sensations and attention shifts, including loss of attention
Mindfulness of breathing: Sitting meditation; learning to work with attention by focusing on an object (one’s breathing)
Sitting meditation: Sitting meditation; checking in with each object of attention (body, sound, thoughts, and feelings), then sitting with open (choiceless) awareness, as in vipassana meditation
Mindful yoga, lying postures: Yoga-based stretches; being aware of physical sensations, reactions to these sensations, boundaries, balance, and doing mode versus being mode of mind
Mindful yoga, standing postures: Similar to mindful yoga in lying poses, but utilizing standing postures
Walking meditation: Walking slowly while bringing awareness to the movement of the feet
Visualization meditation: Guided meditation involving visualization of an image (such as a mountain, lake, or tree); inviting a certain attitude, such as openness or firmness
Metta meditation: Sitting meditation; cultivating the qualities of the heart
SECTION 4: The MBSR Online Course by Sounds True
The MBSR Online Course – Thoughts & Impressions
Back when I was researching mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for my PhD dissertation, I dreamed of one day completing a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program taught by instructors at the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Recently, and very much to my surprise, I discovered that this highly regarded MBSR program is now available online! What a privilege and delight it was for me to be able to participate in and complete The MBSR Online Course by Sounds True. The program/course* is provided via video-on-demand (i.e., allows you to participate at your own pace and from anywhere). The MBSR Online Course is a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program that follows the same well-respected curriculum and methodology at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Perhaps most impressive of all, The MBSR Online Course is taught by Dr. Saki Santorelli (former director of the Center for Mindfulness) and Florence Meleo-Meyer (former senior instructor at the Center for Mindfulness).
*[NOTE] – The terms “program” and “course” are used interchangeably when describing an MBSR program. Kabat-Zinn refers to it as an MBSR program in his writings. However, the MBSR program I signed up for uses the word “course” instead of program – The MBSR Online Course.
I was able to complete The MBSR Online Course at my own pace and in the comfort of my own home. I also liked and appreciated the ability to download and save all course videos, to watch and/or listen to them on my computer. This really came in handy when there were Internet/Wi-Fi issues or problems with the Sounds True website which made watching the videos online spotty or sluggish.
The MBSR Online Course – Overview
The MBSR Online Course consists of eight weekly classes and one daylong class. This highly participatory, practical course includes:
More than 16 hours of video instruction on mindfulness meditation, stretching, mindful yoga, and guidance for enhancing awareness in everyday life
Four hours of guided mindfulness practice on audio
A series of questions and prompts available in PDF format
% Complete to track your progress through the course
“A Day of Mindfulness”—a daylong, self-led audio retreat to culminate your training
Daily home practice assignments for 45-60 minutes each day for eight weeks
The MBSR Online Course – Summary
The MBSR Online Course by Sounds True (taught by Dr. Saki Santorelli and Florence Meleo-Meyer [former director and former senior instructor, respectively, at the Center for Mindfulness]) is an excellent online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program. It is reputable, affordable, and aligned with the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Authorized Curriculum Guide, which Santorelli and his colleagues wrote and edited (Santorelli, Meleo-Meyer, Koerbel, Kabat-Zinn, Blacker, Herbette, & Fulwiler, 2017).
In his book, The Mindfulness Teaching Guide: Essential Skills and Competencies for Teaching Mindfulness-Based Interventions, Rob Brandsma (2017) wrote:
“A proficient mindfulness teacher . . . [makes] participants feel as if the teacher is walking by their side in the field of new experiences—a field that is unknown to them, where they can easily lose their bearings. The most important form of support and care you can offer participants is the sense that you recognize and appreciate their search process—that you know the field and can, if need be, take them by the hand part of the way” (p. 33).
The MBSR Online Course is extremely well-designed to be delivered in an on-demand video format and taught by two expert mindfulness teachers. Dr. Saki Santorelli and Florence Meleo-Meyer made me feel like they were there walking beside me, supporting me in the process, and encouraging me to keep trying. I cannot think of two more capable and qualified mindfulness teachers to teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). What a gift!
Mindfulness is intentionally paying attention to whatever thoughts, feelings, or body sensations that arise in the present moment, inside or outside of us. It’s being able to do this (i.e., paying attention on purpose) without judgment, without trying to get anywhere, without trying to feel anything special, and without trying to attain, achieve, fix, or solve anything. It’s being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment, and without being stuck in the past or being anxious about the future. It’s letting yourself be where you are and as you are, and for the world to be as it is.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is an 8-week mindfulness meditation training program that includes weekly classes, daily audio-guided home practice, and a day-long retreat. It combines mindfulness meditation and hatha yoga over an 8-week training program in which participants are taught techniques designed to focus their attention in the present moment over extended periods of time.
I was so delighted to complete The MBSR Online Course by Sounds True. It’s a complete online Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program that follows the curriculum and methodology taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Perhaps best of all, it’s taught by Dr. Saki Santorelli (former director of the Center for Mindfulness) and Florence Meleo-Meyer (former senior instructor at the Center for Mindfulness).
Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D. Organizational & Leadership Development Leader
Bothwell, L. E., Greene, J. A., Podolsky, S. H., & Jones, D. S. (2016). Assessing the Gold Standard — Lessons from the History of RCTs. The New England Journal of Medicine, 374(22), 2175-2181.
Brandsma, R. (2017). The Mindfulness Teaching Guide: Essential Skills and Competencies for Teaching Mindfulness-Based Interventions. New Harbinger Publications.
Brantley, J. (2011). Mindfulness FAQ. In B. Boyce (Ed.), The Mindfulness Revolution: Leading Psychologists, Scientists, Artists, and Meditation Teachers on the Power of Mindfulness in Daily Life (pp. 38-45). Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Creswell, J. D. (2017). Mindfulness Interventions. Annual review of psychology, 68, 491-516.
Cullen, M. (2011). Mindfulness-based interventions: An emerging phenomenon. Mindfulness, 2(3), 186-193.
Gethin, R. M. (2011). On some definitions of mindfulness. Contemporary Buddhism, 12(1), 263-279.
Greeson, J., & Brantley, J. (2009). Mindfulness and anxiety disorders: Developing a wise relationship with the inner experience of fear. In F. Didonna (Ed.), Clinical Handbook of Mindfulness (pp. 171-188). Springer.
Hariton, E., & Locascio, J. J. (2018). Randomised controlled trials – The gold standard for effectiveness research. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 125(13), 1716.
Heffernan, V. (2015, April 14). The Muddied Meaning of ‘Mindfulness’. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/magazine/the-muddied-meaning-of-mindfulness.html
Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. Delacorte Press.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2002). Guided Mindfulness Meditation Program: Series 1. Sounds True.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 144-156.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005a). Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness. Hyperion.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005b). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness (15th Anniversary ed.). Delta Trade.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2005c). Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life (10th ed.). Hachette Books.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2011). Some reflections on the origins of MBSR, skillful means, and the trouble with maps. Contemporary Buddhism, 12(1), 281-306.
Kabat-Zinn, J. (2013). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness (Revised and Updated ed). Bantam Books.
Lomas, T. (2017, March 17). Where Does the Word ‘Mindfulness’ Come From? https://www.huffpost.com/entry/where-does-the-word-mindfulness-come-from_b_9470546
Monier-Williams, M. (1872). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged. The Clarendon Press.
Nisbet, M. C. (2017). The Mindfulness Movement: How a Buddhist Practice Evolved Into a Scientific Approach to Life. Skeptical Inquirer, 41 (3). https://skepticalinquirer.org/2017/05/the-mindfulness-movement/
Pai, A. B., Shuart, L. V., & Drake, D. F. (2021). Integrative Medicine in Rehabilitation. In D. X. Cifu (Ed.), Braddom’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (6th ed.) (pp. 364-373). Elsevier Inc.
Penman, D. (2018). The Art of Breathing: The Secret to Living Mindfully. Conari Press.
Reb, J., & Choi, E. (2014). Mindfulness in Organizations. The psychology of meditation (pp. 1-31). Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School of Business. https://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/4199
Salmon, P. G., Sephton, S. E., Dreeben, S. J. (2011). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. In J. D. Herbert & E. M. Forman (Eds.), Acceptance and mindfulness in cognitive behavior therapy: Understanding and applying the new therapies (pp. 132-163). John Wiley & Sons.
Santorelli, S., Meleo-Meyer, F., Koerbel, L., Kabat-Zinn, J., Blacker, M., Herbette, G., & Fulwiler, C. (2017). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Authorized Curriculum Guide. Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society (CFM), University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Siegel, R. D. (2010). The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems. Guilford Press.
VandenBos, G. R. (Ed.). (2015). APA dictionary of psychology (2nd ed.). American Psychological Association.
Vonderlin, R., Biermann, M., Bohus, M., & Lyssenko, L. (2020). Mindfulness-Based Programs in the Workplace: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Mindfulness, 11, 1579-1598.
Disclosure: I purchased The MBSR Online Course by Sounds True on my own. Sounds True did NOT sponsor my review and I’m NOT affiliated with Sounds True in any manner. I did NOT receive anything for my review of The MBSR Online Course by Sounds True. I’m simply recommending The MBSR Online Course by Sounds True (as taught by Dr. Saki Santorelli and Florence Meleo-Meyer) because I thought it was phenomenal.