This week is week 3/4 of my Mindfulness course, and I’m starting it with a negative mind-frame because I haven’t completed the assignments from last week. All I was required to do was practice mindful breathing (which I actually managed a few times), mindful movement (only did during session) and keep an event awareness journal (managed one entry – however was aware of a few individual moments).
No excuses – I just wasn’t as firm with myself during the last week, same for my eating habits. I think because I was feeling a little better mentally I allowed myself to get complacent, which happens.
This week has been about using Mindfulness to deal with stress; specifically beginning with the breathing space where one acknowledges what one is feeling, then focuses on one’s breathing before becoming more aware of the body and surroundings. This relates to becoming a watcher of my emotions which is in one of the workbooks on Distress Intolerance my therapist gave to me. It is advised I practice this often.
Next, the session moved on to acknowledge that thoughts are not facts! Something personally I struggle with. It’s OK to notice and accept thoughts and watch them without getting stuck in them. Thoughts are just events in the mind – a bit like being at the cinema and appreciating the film (whatever the genre) but knowing it isn’t real. The breathing space exercise can be used to create space between thought and reaction. I took the time to practice the 22 minute meditation – keeping my eyes open to help me retain focus and not fall asleep! I was relaxed so not feeling and particular emotions or difficult thoughts but managed to complete the exercise – reflecting being a watcher of one’s emotions. A big message I took from it was to treat difficult thoughts and emotions as guests who can stay until it’s time for them to move on, like a train passing through the station.
My assignment this week, in addition to practising the above, is to be aware of any reactions to stress I have without trying to change/freeze/block or shut them off, or if I have the urge to rush in and fix things and notice how this feels. I have written “stress response” on my hand to remind myself to do this! Again this links with the third part of my distress tolerance workbook, to just be rather than getting caught up.
So that concludes another Mindfulness session, time to go forth and put into practice what I have learned!