Mindfulness, a meditation originating from Buddhism that expanded to a secular practice in America, may have a particular benefit for Black Americans.
According to a research study by Cheryl L. Woods-Giscombé and Susan A. Gaylord at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), the most popular Western version of mindfulness, can be key in managing stress and stress-related health issues.
“African Americans experience a disproportionate rate of stress-related health conditions compared to European Americans,” the study says. “Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be effective for managing stress and various stress-related health conditions.”
But, what exactly is mindfulness, specifically mindfulness-based stress reduction practices? Here’s a breakdown:
It’s a health program.
Designed in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR is an eight-week program that teaches people how to use meditation to improve overall health. It’s used in over 250 hospitals across the U.S. and is known for helping those suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and other stress-related illnesses, according to Elisha Goldstein in Psychology Today. The program has shown positive results and continues to grow as an accepted medical practice.
“Since 1979 there has been a tremendous amount of research coming out of Harvard, UCLA, Stanford, UW-Madison and many more high ranking institutions providing us the insight into how this approach is helpful and how it not only works, but how it actually can change our brains for the better,” Goldstein says in the article.