Mindfulness and stress management course


In spring 2023 the course ‘Mindfulness-Based Stress Management’ (7.5 credits) will be offered at Uppsala University. The deadline for applications is 17 October 2022.

“The foundation of the course is an evidence-based eight-week programme for stress management developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the programme is available at all Ivy League universities in the US,” explains Karen Brounéus, course director, registered psychologist and senior lecturer at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research.

The course will teach participants to use mindfulness as a tool for managing stress both in their private and professional life. Mindfulness entails being purposefully aware in the moment without judgement. The course is suitable for those interested in exploring and practising the use of mindfulness meditation and yoga to improve mental balance, well-being and health.

Tools that produce positive effects

Karen Brounéus, Senior Lecturer

“When stressed, we are often overwhelmed by a tsunami of thoughts, feelings and physical reactions – all of which feed on each other and cause the stress to escalate. On this course we hone our ability to observe what is happening instead of being swept along. We enhance our ability to focus. From there, we are then able to decide what we should do and how, and to do so purposefully, consciously and decisively. This reduces stress through an enhanced sense of control, which is important in itself for health and well-being.”

Brounéus is further developing the positive effects of the tools taught on the course.

“Consciously stopping instead of automatically reacting gives us the time to pinpoint our values and base decisions on them – and that is yet another important factor for health. This in turn spreads through a positive cycle: by having the time and space to take stock of our values, we can connect to our empathy, our compassion for ourselves and others, and our humanity. This is not only important for ourselves, but for those around us and for the world.”

Meditation has physical effect on the brain

The course starts with an eight-week programme called ‘Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).’ Brounéus explains how a lot of research underpins the programme, some of which has shown that practising meditation can actually have a physical effect on the brain.

“Research has shown over the past few decades, for example through MRI scanning, that the brain reorganises its structure when practising meditation through what is known as ‘neuroplasticity’. Practising MBSR positively impacts the structures in the brain connected to well-being and quality of life, for example finding perspective, regulating emotions, sense of self, focus.”

Mindfulness meditation not only leads to physical changes in the brain, but also to our chromosomes.

“The Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn’s research shows that regular mindfulness meditation affects the body’s chromosomes. The telomeres, which are the outer ends of chromosomes associated with health and longevity, are lengthened.”

News article - Mindfulness and stress management course


Last modified: 2023-10-23