Reply To: Week 2 Homework Assignment (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health)

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Margaret Zall

Question 1: I immediately noticed the amount of relief that came from simply being in a laying down position. It allowed my body to relax entirely. I believe that as a society we are so disconnected from our physical being that at times we forget to stay in contact with it. I found it was easier to disconnect from the “productivity mindset” and come into a meditative space than last week, so that’s certainly a success! I believe that this allowed me to look in at my experience with a more objective point of view. There was no judgment in how my body was feeling, I was simply observing. Through this, it further identified where I’m most likely to find stress in my body (for example, my shoulders and knees both felt incredibly tense), which has since allowed me to stay aware to let both of those body parts “rest” more often through out my day. I believe effectiveness in a practice like this does take quite a bit of time to evaluate, simply because you need to complete it more than once to compare/contrast it with your “normal” experience.

Question 2: As someone with a notable difficulty with attention, this practice was quite difficult for me! My initial reaction is to feel a little “bored”, but I found that with setting it aside and coming back to it at the end of my day, I had more space to truly delve into the experience. It was quite peaceful, which felt so relaxing. I believe that this practice is so effective because it can be done any time with any thing. Being able to offer an experience that requires little to no preparation is so helpful in the social services, because it allows for an immediate action – as we know, brief interventions can help increase distress tolerance skills. I noticed that the following day I was less judgmental of myself for having difficulty focusing, and I actually used this practice to “come back into myself” by focusing on objects on my desk.

Quest 3: I’m feeling quite hopeful that this work will specifically be helpful in clinical work with my substance use clients. Since we so frequently see that almost “obsessive” consideration of substances, I’m particularly interested in utilizing the “focusing on a single object” practice to recalibrate how we draw attention to what we’d like as opposed to what we may “need”. I believe that there are truly cognitive benefits to meditative practices, and particularly to replacement therapy. As an abolitionist social worker, I’m always excited to step away from institutions and bring more organic, client prioritized work to the table.