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

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Question 1

I found the concentration practice almost immediately deeply relaxing. I found it easy to fall into and return to when I inevitable became distracted. The breath counting gave me something fairly concrete to continuously direct my attention to, matching my breaths to. I did, however find it almost boring, which was effective in that it wasn’t stimulating, but it made it hard to stick with very long. I was aware I was going to need to start with much less than the suggested 10-20 minutes and would really need to allow myself to build up to that, if I were to stick consider making it a regular practice.

Question 2

I found the mindfulness meditation to help me be more concretely aware of my own skill and ability to develop with practice of expecting that my mind will wander and having the acceptance of that as “normal” and that the skill didn’t necessitate “emptying” my mind, but really in accepting and redirecting it to a calming place of my choice; my breath and body. It helps me let go of the automatic habit of self judgement that I might be doing it wrong, or it’s just not possible for me, etc.

Question 3

For me, concentration practices are quicker, easier to initiate in the moment when I have limited time between patients or am in a public place, whereas mindfulness meditation is more centering overall, helps to regenerate energy, confidence, etc. I do these with patients regularly, concentration at the start of a session or when someone becomes reactive in a session, mindfulness as a skill development for later use and practice. Mindfulness meditation seems to have helped people with cravings or sleep disturbances where they may not necessarily expect to totally eradicate them, but instead develop a stronger sense of managing them more successfully, which involves a great deal of acceptance.