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

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Kayla Hamel

1. During the breath counting meditation, I recognized my singular focus on counting with each inhale and exhale. I found it helpful when considering the concentration aspect of things; my mind was focused primarily on the numbered breaths versus anything else. I found that my mind was fixated on the counting as well as the quality of my breath (trying to get into a relaxed, regulated rhythm). This type of meditation was helpful in the sense that again, it supported my mind and body on counting and encouraged a space where I could refrain from focusing on anything else. However, it gave me a somewhat restricted feeling in regards to the mental focus I was putting forth on counting. I do engage in mindfulness activities/breathing and for me personally, this form of meditation left me feeling a bit more “task” focused versus opening up to other sensations/visualizations.

2. During the basic mindfulness meditation, I felt right at home. I say this because as mentioned above, I do engage in mindful breathing techniques on a daily basis and this touched closer to my comfort space when compared to the breath counting meditation. I benefit from and enjoy placing focus on my bodily sensations and how breath feels throughout different part of my body. This type of awareness allows me to feel more in tuned with the exercise. I have a tendency to focus on my breaths flowing in and out of my chest. This type of meditation leaves me personally feeling “focused but free.” My mind certainly wandered at moments, as it always does, however have the reminder to return to my breaths in my chest helped me remain non-judgmental and able to return my attention more readily.

3. I believe I naturally spoke much to this in my first two responses. I discovered personally that despite my preference for the basic meditation exercise, that they both helped me achieve a more relaxed, aware and present state of mind and body. I recognized that both meditations helped guide my mind to place of freedom of clutter/clog. I did find noticeable differences, as noted in my previous responses. There was clear personal preference for me in utilizing the basic meditation, as I see that it allowed for a greater sense of cognitive freedom, as I was not actively focusing on counting. I also noticed a difference in how I was able to incorporate other mindful awareness (physical sensations/visualizations) into the basic meditation versus the breath counting. I could envision incorporating both of these exercises more regularly into my practice with children and teens as a way to start and end sessions.