Mindful Based Stress Reduction


Sometimes Howard and I go to the Hudson River to work. This is what we looked out on yesterday as Howard worked and I mostly goofed off. Very pretty, right? This is Manhattan. Life isn’t bad here and there.

I recently completed a course in Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). I did it because I read a study that found that it helped for “women’s troubles” (nod, nod, wink, wink). But it turned out to be this incredible thing that can be applied to everything you do. It’s essentially meditating and learning how to be “mindful” about your life. That’s it. Just a slight shift really in how you go about your day-to-day life. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d stick with meditating. I tried it in my twenties and it gave me unbearable, excruciating back aches. Never again, I said. I’m just not a meditating type.

Sure enough, I got back aches this time too, but they teach you how to deal with that and now it’s not a problem. Also, if you’re uncomfortable you can do it laying down or even walking, which I love. I’m a big walker.

Everywhere I go I read about MBSR now. It really does seem to be all the rage. That’s got to be because of two things: it’s not hard to learn and you get almost immediate results. The class is only 8 weeks long.

If you’re in New York City, I learned from Dr. Myra Weiss, and her name is on the University of Massachusett’s website, along with listings for teachers around the country. It was originally developed there by Jon Kabat-Zinn as a method for pain management, but there have been a ton of studies that show it’s great for other things, anxiety, etc. But if you’re in NYC, I can’t recommend Dr. Weiss enough. I’m not just saying that. She is warm, direct, and well, I’m taught, and if anything, I would say I went in there pretty skeptical, although I did want it to be useful, so maybe my two biases cancelled each other out.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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