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

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Adeena Vogel

Week 1: January 20, 2022

Question 1: The method of concentration meditation is one that I practice, and one that is more easily achievable to me. During this practice, I found that I was able to keep my physical body calm, but it also brought more attention to my physical body; prompting questions such as “am I breathing in deeply enough to fill my belly,” and “I must be hungry with the tummy rumbling.” Being Type A, when I first started the exercise, I noticed that I really focused and perseverated on getting to 10 and then starting over. I would say that a few minutes in, and gentle reminders to bring back focus on the number, I was able to better focus on the word “one” in unison with my breath. Not perfectly, but hey, what is perfection any way? I do think that this particular meditation would be grounding, as it specifically prompted me to focus on the number and the counting. This, was helpful for me, however I did not feel totally zoned into full relaxation and the novel idea of “zen.” Primarily, because I was hyper focused on the counting. Helpful for grounding, yes, but not so much a stabilization of my mind.

Question 2: I wrote my response to the concentration exercise, before moving on to the mindfulness one, convinced that I would be better at concentration. However, with this exercise, I felt that I was able to focus more (maybe it was because I was already in a relaxed state following the first practice?). I have practiced this before, and try to practice regularly (at least, for spurts of time, I know, not helpful). I like the physical experience of noticing and feeling my belly rise with the inhales and deflate with the exhales. It is actually a technique I teach to kids sometimes; put a stuffy on your belly and with your deep belly breaths, you can give him a ride! I also shifted my mind to focus on the idea of “colors” of my breath. I imaged that I was inhaling green and exhaling blue, and that technique helped keep me focused on the breath and the awareness of it entering, and leaving, my body. With this skill, I believe that it was less effective than the concentration medication at making me more aware of the habits of my mind. I was focused on several things for this exercise, which kept me distracted in a good way. With the concentration method, I noticed many fluffy, interesting, and naturally important thoughts rush through my brain and I had to exert mental effort to JUST focus on the counting.

Question 3: I really appreciated both of these exercises. I am honestly vacillating between which one was more helpful and effective for me, because I do believe that both can serve a purpose depending on my needs. Both exercises brought something specifically into my awareness, concentration was the numbers and mindfulness was the actual process of inhaling and exhaling in my body. Both helpful. I did find that I felt more “rigid” in the concentration exercise because boy, did I want to get to 10 (and get the A+).
I have used meditation in the past in the work that I do, specifically when working with populations that are in a heightened state, or have the tendency to quickly get into a heightened state. I like to have my clients practice meditation when they are calm and regulated, so it can be a skill that they can access when they may be experiencing dysregulation. As I mentioned earlier, I do believe that the counting practice will be beneficial in working with clients who struggle with remaining grounded. This one seems like it can be very simple and objective for the populations that I work with. I think the Mindfulness practice can be more advanced, but a wonderful skill to be able to pass on to those that I serve.