DES MOINES, Iowa — Life is chaotic. For many of us, a typical day means countless obligations and distractions, and few moments of peace. That makes “mindfulness-based stress reduction” or MBSR, life-changing.

Allison Peet discovered it back in 2013. “I was experiencing a lot of stress and it was manifesting physically in my body,” she explains, “I saw the word ‘stress reduction’ and I was like…I need that! I didn’t even know what mindfulness was at the time.” After taking the eight-week course, she noticed such a huge difference in her life she left her corporate job and became a certified MBSR instructor.

The two main components of MBSR are mindfulness meditation and yoga. And there’s a growing body of evidence that proves it’s effective. 

“The science is very compelling.” Peet explains, “a study out of Harvard showed that daily practice of mindfulness over time can actually change the anatomical structure of the brain. That’s called neuroplasticity. What they found was that the meditators grew the gray and white matter in the key areas of the brain that are associated with self-awareness and compassion, and shrank the gray and white matter in the brain associated with stress.”

The research makes it easy to understand why doctors are believers in the program. “It just puts me in the frame of mind of – whatever comes at me today – I can handle it,” says Dr. Andy Nish.  He’s the Medical Director at the John Stoddard Cancer Center. “I use it with my patients. It helps people understand that their thoughts are not their reality. It’s a powerful technique for improving people’s lives.”

Everyone from mental health therapists to CEOs swear by it. They all say their minds have stopped racing, they’re more focused, they sleep better – some even have lower blood pressure.

“It’s like starting an exercise program and continuing, or changing your diet, it takes discipline,” says Peet. “The more you start to notice the changes in your everyday life it becomes easier to continue the practice because it works.”

If you are interested in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, visit Allison Peet’s website: