Dr. Tracy L. Skaer, Professor of Pharmacotherapy

Tracy Skaer Mindfulness ArticleAre you stressed, in pain, sad, anxious, or angry? If so, learn how to practice mindfulness to help calm these negative emotional storms.

Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) was first introduced to the U.S. population in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn when he founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. MBSR is an adaptation of Buddhist teachings on mindfulness without the Buddhist religious framework. The use of mindfulness-based interventions such as MBSR has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse relapse and improve quality of life. Dr. Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Saki Santorelli describe mindfulness as follows:

To be in relationship to what you are going through, to hold it, and, in some sense, to befriend it—that is where the healing or transformative power of the practice of mindfulness lies. When we can actually be where we are, not trying to find another state of mind, we discover deep internal resources we can make use of. Coming to terms with things as they are is my definition of healing.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Mindfulness asks us to simply see, to open to ourselves and, in so doing, to open to the world, learning to be with whatever presents itself.” — Saki Santorelli (Heal Thy Self)

Thus, mindfulness is a way of being and not a state of mind. While mindful, we focus our awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting all thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Most importantly, all of this is done without judgement of ourselves, others and the present moment. Thoughts and feelings can dominate our state of being.

As an example, anger brings up thoughts of being threatened, annoyed or inadequacy. Mindfulness (i.e., “befriend your fears and/or pain”) allows for recognition and acceptance of these thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations as an event (i.e. storm) and not a state of being. As a result, they no longer have the same power over us.

Join us for 30-minutes of mindfulness, every Thursday beginning October 15th-December 10th from 12:10 to 12:40 pm in the Innovate Washington Building Room 432. Email spokane.wellness@wsu.edu to reserve your spot!