Mindfulness

MINDFULNESS UPDATE #3

I can’t believe I’ve only got a couple of weeks left on the mindfulness course! It’s crazy how in just a few weeks it can be come so integrated in your life in the smallest of ways.

Week 5 of the course was my favourite week yet. The meditation was divided in half.

The first half got you to focus on the sounds around you. I found it quite overwhelming (in a good way) just how loud and vivid our surroundings are. We block out so much when we’re not paying attention! The rustle of someone’s newspaper, someone’s footsteps, the clunking of the tube engine – all of them suddenly hit you, but in a comforting and interesting way, not an annoying, loud noise.

The second half then got you to try and simply observe your thoughts as if they were just like the noises, appearing and disappearing, or like clouds travelling across the sky. You notice them, and rather than getting caught up in the thought you simply observe them and let them pass. It was so refreshing to act as an observer of my thoughts rather than seeing them as something that define me or dictate how I behave. This was something that I tried so many times in therapy but failed at – I think having the foundation of mindfulness that I’ve developed from practising every day for the last few weeks has really helped!

Week 6 focussed on the physiology of stress and how identifying your stress patterns can help you prevent negative emotions before they occur. To get this point across to us the course leader brought out an electric shock ball! The ball gives shocks at random and this was meant to (and succeeded to) cause stress to that we could tune in to our physical reactions to stress like tensing up, heart palpitations, or sweating. She thankfully then explained how you can reduce stress through calming down your breathing.

In another fortnight I’ll cover the final 2 weeks of my mindfulness course.

You can catch up on my previous mindfulness updates here and here.

How do you calm yourself down when you’re stressed?

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