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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a structured program that teaches the practice of mindfulness in an effort to alleviate pain and improve physical and emotional well-being. The program was established by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Mindfulness is sustained moment-to-moment awareness of physical sensations, perceptions, affective states, imagery and thoughts. It is the process of focusing attention to direct experience without judgment, comparison, or evaluation. In MBSR, mindfulness is directly practiced in sitting and walking meditation, movement, and eating. Participants are taught techniques for bringing mindfulness and the associated benefits to all parts of their lives. Two decades of published research indicate that people who complete a MBSR program report greater ability to cope more effectively with both short- and long-term stressful situations. By learning to actively participate in the management of health and well being, many participants report they are better able to manage stress, fear, anger, anxiety and depression both at home and in the workplace. Participants have stated that they feel less judgmental and critical of themselves, and subsequently of others. Many also report a decrease of the frequency and length of medical visits to hospitals and other professional health-care providers. There has also been a noticeable decrease in the use of prescription and non-prescription medications among students of MBSR.

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