Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mind your Mindfulness

I attended my third CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) follow up session today.  It was a great session.  We spent three hours working through Mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness I hear you ask?  OMG it is just one of the best of all the CBT tools as far as I am concerned.  This is the 'official' explanation as taken from my course notes:  Mindfulness is the act of being completely aware of and engaged in the present moment.  It originates from Buddhist meditation principles.  It has been well researched and has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety and substance abuse problems (Segal, Williams & Teasdale, 2001; Williams, Teasdale, Segal & Soulsby, 2000)

So with discussion and small group participation we worked through Mindfulness meaning and also practising Mindfulness.  I would like to share with you the questions and my own personal answers from today's group.  (This sharing is mostly for selfish reasons as it helps me revise and think again about it and I also have it saved here in cyberspace forever)  I will put the questions in bold and remind you all this information is copyright and must not be used for any commercial use whatsoever.

What is your understanding of mindfulness? Perhaps you remember the concept from the CBT day program, perhaps you have heard of it elsewhere? What does the word mean to you?
Mindfulness for me is living in that very moment.  Feeling, smelling, touching, maybe tasting, describing and acknowledging it is just this moment.

Have you been practicing mindfulness?  Give an example.
Yes - drawing, painting, writing poetry, listening to music and also writing in my blog.

Can you think of some of the benefits of mindfulness?
It is like meditation because you are tuning your mind to just that moment and minimising or completely switching off negative headtalk and anxiety.

Can you think of some of the consequences of "mindlessness"?
Increased anxiety, depression and inactivity

Ask yourself: how often do you allow the world to pass you by without fully experiencing it?
For the past two years 100% of the time but am now purposely finding ways to experience life in the pleasant and the mundane.

Do you think mental health problems such as depression and anxiety can interfere with our ability to be mindful? If so, how?
Absolutely, because my ability to be in the present is completely warped.

How do you think mindfulness can be beneficial in recovery from mental health problems such as anxiety and depression?
Either by distracting or acknowledging that yes you are anxious etc but only at this moment and this will pass.

Give some examples of activities you are more naturally mindful of:
Playing with my children, making jewellery and hair accessories, cooking for guests.

Give some examples of activities you are less naturally mindful of:
Routine tasks like washing, folding, ironing, cleaning, driving

What would be some of the benefits of increasing mindfulness to those activities you are less naturally mindful of?
Less rumination and headtalk

List 5 beautiful/fascinating things you have noticed today
1. Smell of cocoa butter body wash
2. Trees and the way the sun sparkles on the leaves
3. Clouds
4. Laughing
5. Drawing

List your mindfulness goal for the next 7 days
To enjoy the ritual of showering, getting dressed and blow dry hair, make an effort to wear makeup and lovely clothes.

And remember to do one thing at a time.

Something one of the participants shared today was "if you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future you are peeing in the present" and that was such a wonderful powerful message for me.  My poor present is just getting totally washed away with pee at the moment. But that will cease and dry up and that is a promise I have made with myself.

So, until next time enjoy each moment, breathe in and breathe out each moment and mind your mindfulness.
Take care

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