Wellness, Home & Lifestyle

Mindfulness and Stress

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Lesson time 25:41 min

Jon shows you how to minimize the stress in your life by responding rather than reacting. Learn how to liberate yourself from even the most oppressive thoughts.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: The Stress Reaction Cycle • Responding to Stress Rather Than Reacting • Remember to Stop and Drop • Don’t Be Imprisoned by Thoughts • Letting Go of Selfing • Freeing Ourselves From Craving


[MUSIC PLAYING] - And I sometimes get asked the question, can mindfulness cure my stress? There are very few cures in medicine, and it's, really, I think, a mistake to couple the word cure with anything that has to do with meditation. What we really need is to come to terms with the actuality of things through deep seeing, through realization. Stress is an inevitable part of living. There's no such thing as, like, I'll get rid of all my stress. If you got rid of all your stress, you'd be dead or in a coma or something like that. Stress is actually the spice of life. I mean, it's the challenge of, like, you know, gravity is stressful. So, you know, we can't get rid of gravity easily, unless you're an astronaut, and that's not so easy. So we have to work with it. We have to befriend gravity. So I don't think that there's any way in which we have to cure our stress, but actually enjoy our challenges if it's like the challenges that help us stretch our own envelope. So what's the solution? How do you cope with it, the coping strategies and stuff like that. Well, the real best coping strategy is to recognize how we are interacting with these stressors and how to actually minimize our reactivity, then all of a sudden you have a wide range of choices about, how am I going to handle this? How am I going to be in wise relationship to-- Am I going to react and get caught emotionally, or cognitively, or semantically, or in any other way? Or am I going to respond mindfully? [MUSIC PLAYING] At this point, I'm going to walk you through what I call the stress-reaction cycle. The cycle starts when we are met with a stressor, which could be anything from stubbing your toe to facing a major health challenge. Anything that happens in your life that produces some kind of need to respond to it, and often that exceeds our capacity for responding and for effective coping, so we are burdened by that, and not only outer circumstances. There's also the mind that often won't even leave us alone. So that's represented by those internal arrows labeled internal stressors, thoughts, and emotions, pain sensations in the body, discomfort of any kind. That, too, is stressful, especially if it's intense, and especially if it's of long duration. These stressors from the outside and the inside wind up combining to affect the brain, the nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the immune system. Virtually every system of the body is affected by stressors in this kind of a way, and very often what we do is react automatically rather than respond mindfully. We're seeing the fight or flight reaction. The physiology is set up to either fight and overcome, struggle and overcome something, or to flee. Get the hell out as fast as you can and go away. And we do that sometimes psychologically and metaphorically, and we just kind of run away from things we don't want to deal with, which can be really seriously problematic for relationships wi...

About the Instructor

A pioneer of the Western mindfulness movement, Jon Kabat-Zinn has spent more than 40 years studying, teaching, and advocating the benefits of mindfulness. In his MasterClass, he teaches you how to cultivate a mindfulness practice, reduce your stress, and soothe your thoughts with meditation and movement. Jon shares expert tips and guidance that meets you where you are. Let this class help you make the most of being alive.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn teaches you how to incorporate meditation into your everyday life to improve your health and happiness.

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