An intervention known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) showed a trend toward improving psychological outcomes by reducing mood disturbance in women who had survived early-stage breast cancer.

MBSR incorporates meditation, yoga, and physical awareness. In a recent study reported in the Western Journal of Nursing Research (2011;33(8):993-995), nurse researchers at the University of Missouri–Columbia (MU) administered MBSR group sessions over a period of 8 to 10 weeks. During these sessions, the breast cancer survivors practiced meditation skills, discussed how bodies respond to stress, and learned coping techniques.

Compared with a control group that received no MBSR training, participants who learned MBSR experienced statistically significant reductions in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate; increased their mindfulness state, and experienced improvements in mood.


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Although the effects of MBSR on reducing stress were statistically significant on the physiological outcome (morning cortisol) at the measurement after the intervention completion, this effect was not sustained at 1-month follow-up. Coinvestigator and MU professor of nursing Jane Armer recommended in a separate statement that patients practice mindfulness-based meditation every day or at least routinely to garner short- and long-term benefits.