mindfulness based stress reduction

8-week program

begins Thursday 1 August

New to mindfulness?

Current students and graduates

choose your program

I experience a re-awakening of joy and pleasure in my life – showing me that daily mindfulness practice brings calm, compassion into my world. — 2019 participant

Schedule a free 15-minute chat

My mind is so busy...will meditation work for me? Sitting on the floor is challenging...can I meditate in a chair? Will mindfulness help with my chronic pain condition? Can mindfulness help me sleep better? Is mindfulness safe for me with my mental health condition?

These are just a few of the questions people ask us about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. You can probably think of a few questions of your own! Signing up for an 8-week course is a big commitment, so we want to make sure you're feeling confident about it.

So we're inviting you to schedule a 15-minute phone chat with Megan, the Simply Mindful Director. There's no charge, and no obligation to sign up for the course—just a chance to have all your questions answered.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about being fully present and aware to all of life. Presence is an innate human capacity, however this capacity is underdeveloped in most people.

Mindfulness training is a bit like ‘mental exercise’. As we practice over time,  we build what’s known as the ‘mindful muscle’ – our ability to be fully present and alive to our lives more of the time.

What does the MBSR course involve?
  • 2 ½ hour class once a week for 8 weeks plus one full day session (held on the weekend)
  • Mindfulness meditation training, access to the online library of guided meditation recordings, and course workbook
  • Learning about the effects of stress on our bodies and minds
  • Exploring patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving and their relationship to stress
  • Developing strategies for applying mindfulness in daily life
  • Learning through brief lectures, group discussion and experiential activities
Who is MBSR for?

This is suitable for absolute beginners as well as those who’ve previously done some mindfulness training.

How can MBSR help me?

"This is the most important thing I have ever done for myself"—this quite literally is the feedback we hear from participants again and again.

If you want to learn how to work skilfully with your own mind, body and emotions and really enjoy being you and feel truly at home in your own skin, then mindfulness training is for you. It is a proven method for improving health, mental health, self-awareness and skilfulness.

Is there science to back this up? Isn’t meditation a spiritual thing?

MBSR teaches the art and science of presence.

It’s an art because everyone’s internal world is completely unique, nuanced and it’s also a creative changing space. No one else can tell you exactly how to meditate or do it for you.

It’s a science because research in neuroscience, medicine and psychology have helped us to understand how this ancient practice actually works, how it not only changes the structure of the brain, but also improves health and mental health, and even slows down the process of ageing. (see our resources for some references)

Mindfulness and MBSR is open to anyone. You don’t have to believe anything in particular to benefit from it. It’s compatible with a wide range of spiritual and religious beliefs. Anything that is important or meaningful for you in your life can be enhanced by mindfulness practice.

I have a really busy mind. I can’t sit still, how am I going to meditate?

Almost everyone in our MBSR courses complains of a busy mind!

The mind’s job is to think. In mindfulness meditation we are not trying to stop thinking, we are learning to relate differently to it.

Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to explore strategies, techniques and practical approaches for relating to your mind.

You will learn to meet your thoughts, mental and emotional habits, fears and stuck places with kindness and curiosity.

Why should I do MBSR when I can go to a local meditation centre for free?

Many people come to MBSR because they specifically want a mindfulness training that is secular and has no particular spiritual orientation or beliefs attached to the process.

As well, most “free” meditation centres rely on people’s generosity to support and sustain their work and the teachings. In order for these centres to survive, they need to be considered as supported by the people who use them.

MBSR is the world’s gold standard evidence based mindfulness training, It has been a major source of the evidence base over the last 40 years as it began in a university hospital setting, the university of Massachusetts medical school and was designed by a scientist, Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Someone down the road is offering a mindfulness course cheaper. What’s the difference?

Check it out! We encourage you to be curious about the differences. It is likely that with a shorter course (ie 4 weeks of 1 hour each week) that you will get ‘mindfulness lite’, a superficial and no doubt helpful course, but not something that sticks, or substantially changes anything in your life.

For over 40 years, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has been the gold standard of teaching mindfulness in a secular setting for the relief of physical and psychological suffering. It is taught by people who have committed themselves to training, doing retreats and having a personal practice themselves, over many years.

Training takes place over a long period, is in depth and high standard. MBSR started at the University of Massachusetts Medical School over 26,000 people have participated in the research. This is a major source of the evidence base and current interest in mindfulness.

However, many people are now offering “mindfulness” courses “based on MBSR” or “based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn” with very little personal experience and immersion in mindfulness practice themselves, and little or no training in MBSR.

These courses are often shorter, perhaps 6 sessions of 1.5 hours (ie 9 hours long) or 6 sessions x 2 hours (12 hours long) for around $400. This works out as more expensive than the MBSR program which is 27 hours long, including a silent retreat day, plus email and phone contact with the teacher if you need it during the 8 weeks.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of being fully present and aware in every moment; a way of connecting directly to all of life as it happens.

Mindfulness enables us to be more fully engaged in our lives and to find more balance, joy, clarity and ease.

Mindfulness meditation, often called ‘practice’,  is a form of mental training which enables us to pay attention to our present moment experience, intentionally and with curiosity. This is valuable because we tend to expend a great deal of mental energy focused on the past or the future.

wake UP TO your LIFE

Mindfulness literally ‘wakes us up’ and helps us feel more ‘alive’.

It increases the amount of time we spend truly engaged and present.

Demonstrated benefits include:

  • increased concentration
  • ability to maximise the joy we experience in life
  • increased awareness of what is actually going on in ourselves and in our environment
  • increased sense of agency, willingness and capacity to live purposefully and in line with chosen values
  • reduced stress and anxiety
  • research on the benefits for a wide range of physical and mental health challenges is now prolific and growing rapidly

Mindfulness meditation develops greater clarity and capacity to capitalise on opportunities, and increases our ability to act more skilfully, productively and creatively even in very challenging situations.

Mindfulness helps us do less of the things that are bad for us  and more of the things that are good for us and that lead to better outcomes. This includes improved physical and mental health and sense of efficacy. It reduces unnecessary physical,  emotional  and mental suffering and helps us meet challenges with more internal resources, including compassion. How? Learn the skills of mindfulness meditation.

Here’s a 3 minute practice that our director, Megan, created for you. Before beginning, please find a comfortable place to sit or lie down where you won’t be disturbed. Then just push play on the recording below.

Mindfulness through the Senses

by Megan Layton, Director | Simply Mindful


Develop greater concentration and reduce distractibility

Reduce avoidance and really take control of your life

Cultivate curiosity, greater objectivity and an open mind

Be calm even when worried or upset 

Cultivate the ability to be still and experience peace

Learn to understand and work skilfully and compassionately with your mind, emotions and body

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an eight week evidence based program for cultivating resilience, health and well-being.

We have been teaching MBSR in Canberra since 2004 and we are the only place in Canberra with teachers who are trained and certified to offer this world gold standard mindfulness training program.


Get back in the drivers seat. Developing the skills of mindfulness can help you take charge of the quality of your life. 

Given the ever increasing complexity, pressure and pace of modern life, the ancient skills of mindfulness are needed now more than ever.

I’ve learnt from MBSR that I can make a choice about my stress, that I’m not powerless in the face of stressful situations and I can decide how to respond. — MBSR participant


Mindfulness develops concentration, clarity and balance.

Did you know the average adult spends 50-70% of their time in their heads either in the past or the future? 

Mindfulness helps us make conscious choices about where to focus our attention and reduces distractibility and self-criticism. 

Mindfulness trains us to observe and connect with experience – including our thoughts, emotions, body sensations and behaviours –  in a non-reactive, caring and discerning way.


As we practice and cultivate mindful awareness we increasingly bring an attitude of curiosity and  non-judgement to our experience. This helps us untangle thoughts, emotions, impulses and see through conditioned patterns of reactivity to the truth or ‘heart’ of our experience.

We begin to see ourselves and our situations with greater clarity,  spaciousness and less reactivity.

We can respond in skilful, creative and productive ways, even in challenging circumstances.

joy & Connection

One of the most immediate benefits of mindfulness practice is increased joy and appreciation of life. Being more fully present enables us to make the most of what we do have and find joy and beauty in the everyday.

This recharges and resources us to meet the challenges of life with more capacity and balance.

Being more fully present to important moments and important relationships also brings greater connection and satisfaction in relationships and life in general.

What is Mindfulness? Interview on ABC Radio 666

by Megan Layton, Director | Simply Mindful

About Simply Mindful

At Simply Mindful we integrate the ancient skills of mindfulness with contemporary Western psychology, neuroscience and medical knowledge to produce innovative and powerful programs for living well. 

Our foundational course is the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which we've been teaching since 2004, way before mindfulness became a big thing. 

Simply Mindful is the first and only group in Canberra to teach the complete and authentic MBSR program, as developed by the founder of the program, Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, and as taught at the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) at the University of Massachusetts.

We maintain close links with the CFM, the Mindfulness Training Institute - Australia & New Zealand and other quality MBSR programs in Australia. The evidence base for Mindfulness comes largely from MBSR and most contemporary programs are either adaptations or inspired by this groundbreaking program. In fact, since Jon Kabat-Zinn first began teaching in 1979 more than 26,000 people have participated in the scientific research in that setting alone (at the CFM). 

Let us help you move from surviving to thriving

 We are passionate  about bringing mindfulness to individuals, groups and teams so they can move from surviving to thriving. We want to support you, your people and our community to grow and be more skilful, connected, present and aware. We believe this is key to healthier and happier individuals, families, organisations, and ultimately a better, more humane and sustainable world. We are committed to deepening our learning and skills both in our personal practice and as teachers and facilitations. We will continue to grow and meet our edges with courage and skill and we want to support you to do this also.

Free Guided Meditations

Meditations recorded by our teachers to help you overcome anxiety & stress.

Podcasts & Interviews

Our teachers explore thought-provoking topics with interviewers.

Videos & Articles

Learn about the science behind mindfulness, neuroplasticity, and so much more.

My Library

Current students and graduates only - access your password-protected course materials here.

The Mindfulness Experiment

In 2019, ABC science show Catalyst featured a group of MBSR participants. Watch this 6 minute excerpt to see how the 8 week MBSR course changes people's lives. The full show is available through iView.

Meet the Simply Mindful team

Megan Layton

Megan Layton

Director, Senior MBSR, PNT, Self-Compassion and Yoga teacher

Anthony Hopkins

Anthony Hopkins

Facilitator—Graduate Practice Groups

Jennifer Sexton

Jennifer Sexton

Program Facilitator, MBSR teacher in training

Antonia Anderson

Antonia Anderson

Simply Mindful Admin

Jeannette Fierro

Jeannette Fierro

Gathering Place Admin

Lesley Harris

Lesley Harris

Gathering Place Admin

mindfulness in the workplace

We provide high quality tailored mindfulness programs for organisations and workplaces.

We are proud to have worked with a wide range of workplaces and organisations in the ACT and region for well over a decade with compelling results.

As a first timer to mindfulness, I found Megan to be informative, educational and enjoyable. The session was excellent and I learnt a lot

— Phil Nelson, Recruitment Manager, Australian War Memorial

I am less stressed, more present and more connected and a better leader

- Simon Kragh, Southside Physio Group

Mindfulness, skilfully applied, can help you to develop high performing, healthy and happy organisations. Help your team develop resilience and  ability to be responsive to change and challenges.

About our venue

Our programs are offered at our Northside Canberra venue, the Gathering Place. Some programs are also offered online.

It is a beautiful place of peace, meditation, contemplation, healing, renewal and learning, also available for venue hire.


Answers to your questions

Will Mindfulness help me with my problems?

Many people struggling with anxiety, depression, illness, stress, loss or trying to balance competing priorities and the myriad challenges of living a human life, say that our programs have changed their life for the better.

Mindfulness enables us to work skilfully with our mind, body and emotions no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

What if I don’t want to do something during a program?

In all our programs, everything is optional.

There are many ways to modify movement and stillness practices to suit you, your mind and body. Lots of options will be given during the session and you’re also free to make up your own. Please do what feels right for you.

If you have concerns about any aspect of our programs, please feel free to chat with your teacher.

Which program should I start with?

We recommend that most people start with our foundational program, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), as it provides you with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of mindfulness meditation. If you need a shorter time commitment, you may prefer Self-compassion. And if you aren't ready to commit to a home practice or are looking specifically for body-awareness, Mindful Yoga might be perfect for you.

What if I'm not in Canberra?

While we primarily offer face-to-face instruction, some of our programs are offered online and are open to anyone anywhere in the world. We encourage you to join our mailing list so you can be the first to know when we offer online programs. You are also welcome to contact us with an expression of interest as we are more likely to offer an online option if there is a high demand for this.

Alternatively, you can have a look at MBSR programs offered by quality organisations. We can recommend Openground (nationwide), The Clarity Centre (Melbourne) or Mindful Intent (Hobart).

Do you offer programs for children and teenagers?

At this time, we do not offer programs for people under 18.

The program I want to take isn't offered at a time that's suitable for me. Do you ever offer it on a different day/time?

We switch up the days and times frequently to accommodate different preferences. Keep an eye on our newsletter for new program announcements! You're also welcome to contact us to request your preferred day/time.

I’m having trouble completing my registration online - what do I do?

Please contact us with a phone number and the best time to call you, and we can help you register.

What if I can’t afford the fees?

We offer a reduced fee for those experiencing severe financial hardship. This is specifically intended for health care card holders, full time students without much support, and pensioners. If you fall into one of these categories and could not otherwise afford to attend the course, please contact us to request the reduced fee.

If you can afford to pay the standard fee, please do so as this enables us to keep our programs affordable for everyone. We endeavour to make our programs accessible, and we also need to ensure they are sustainable and that we can cover costs.

If you are not eligible for the financial hardship discount but are still unable to pay the standard fee, you are welcome to contact us to discuss a payment plan that suits your needs.

Can I use NDIS funding to pay for my program?

Some of our participants pay for our programs using funding provided by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Whether or not you can do so depends on the way the NDIS funds are managed in your specific plan.

Participants who are plan-managed or self-managed may choose to use their NDIS funding to pay for our programs. We do not ask participants how they are paying for the programs so this is purely a personal decision. You may like to discuss this with your LAC or NDIS planner.

If you need us to send your invoice to someone other than you, please indicate this at the time of registration (there is a box you can tick on the online registration form).

At this time, Simply Mindful is not an NDIS-registered provider. This means that agency-managed NDIS funds cannot be used to access our programs, according to the explanation on the NDIS website: https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/creating-your-plan/ways-manage-your-funding

If you need help figuring out whether our programs will help you meet your NDIS goals, please contact us. Please note that you are welcome to share the wording of your NDIS goals with us so we can provide you with supporting documentation, but we will never ask for your participant number, amount of funding or other personal details.

Do I have to create an account to register for a program?

No, you can register and pay without creating an account on the website. However, an account allows you to view your recent orders, manage your billing address, and edit your details.

I am a current student or graduate - how do I access my library of content?

Questions? Send us a message.