Reply To: Week 1 Homework Assignment (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health)

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Jennifer Marx

Question 1
On a basic level, I was physically aware that I had just eaten breakfast and felt slightly uncomfortable sitting and concentrating right then. I was listening to the audio, and I thought it was helpful to have his voice to focus on, because without it I felt like my mind would have wandered more. I noticed that it I was able to count up to ten and return to one while staying focused on the breath. I felt that it was an effective way to calm and stabilize my mind. I was less aware of what was going on around me while I was doing the meditation.
Question 2
I listened to the guided audio for this one also. My physical experience started being distracted by the way I was sitting. Then I decided to just be aware of it and not try to change it. About ten years ago I completed a 10-day vipassana meditation course, and I found myself using the vipassana technique of scanning from my head to the feet and back throughout the practice. There were moments when my mind did wander to anxious thoughts, but I brought my attention back to my breath/body. I relied on my past experience for this, because I do feel that my body and mind recognize the mindfulness state from vipassana practice and make it easier to put thoughts aside for that period of time. I do feel a sense of curiosity rather than being tied up in the thought. This type of meditation did make me aware of the habits of my mind and the thoughts coming up. The next time I try it, I wonder how it would feel to not use the body scan and purely attend to the breath.
Question 3
The breath counting meditation was definitely more focused and goal-oriented in a sense. I have used variations of this in clinical work with people with SUDs, though the structure of the session often does not allow for several minutes of focused breathing time. The basic mindfulness is harder to describe because, for me at least, it changes the body/mind sensations in a broader way. I feel in a different state when I am using mindfulness, and I recognize this state based on past experience, but it’s hard to describe. I am not sure at this point how I would introduce/integrate this into my practice with clients.