Reply To: Week 3 Homework Assignment (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health)

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Melissa Gerrish

Question 1
For myself, as someone with chronic pain issues, the regulated and focused soft belly mediation was relaxing. When my attention is able to move to a specific focus I can concentrate on the focal point. With belly breathing (inhale/fill/expand and exhale/contract/tighten) it works almost like at metronome. My sensations were more collected and regulated.

Question 2
The acceptance exercise was very much like the use of tapping mantras. I did find it a little awkward to say “may I accept” as it felt like I was asking it in a question. I did reframe by dropping the “may” and just stated, and restated “I accept myself …” I often ask my clients to rephrase any negative statements with an “I feel” vs. “I am” (worthless, ugly, horrible). From there we can move from the level of attacking oneself, to simply making a statements. I stress that there (in that moment) it does not have to be believed – it is just a feeling. I also use “for today, I am enough” or “I am where I need to be in my journey.”

Question 3
I am always working on breathing with client’s. So many times they are doing the (back in grade school) deep, deep breath in (holding air) by constraining and contracting and then blowing out and filling belly. The exact opposite of what we should be doing. I discuss that anyone can rhythmically breathe anywhere, anytime. It is one of the most effective, but also least noticeable methods of decreasing anxiety. When working with those with SUD’s it is often (in early recovery when I am most often seeing them) helping them learn a way to regulate the feelings and emotions as an alternative to SU. With the current pandemic my group sessions are limited (no zoom option do to the nature of work do), thus in sessions I have been providing extra time to do some breath work and ask them to practice at night so we can discuss and process the next day.