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

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Susan Salomon

1. My experience with Soft Belly Meditation was very relaxing. At first, I noticed areas of tension in my body (i.e. shoulders, belly, face). As I practiced the meditation, I could feel my muscles slowly relax and my heartbeat slow. I was surprised by how effective this meditation was in helping with relaxation and how little time it took. I tried focusing on my breathing and then tried focusing on repeating the words “slow” and “belly.” For me, using the words was more comfortable and made it easier for me to let thoughts go as I focused on being in the present moment.
2. My physical experience of the Acceptance exercise was not that dissimilar from that of the Soft Belly Meditation. While my focus was not on my belly, I experienced a warmth and overall relaxation. I became aware of tension as it slowly released and allowed muscles to relax, particularly in my shoulders and face. I found focusing on the self-acceptance phrase comforting and helpful in cultivating a sense of compassion toward myself. I really enjoyed this particular exercise, and found it very helpful in beginning to practice acceptance of self in the present moment.
3. I see many possibilities for incorporating the self-acceptance exercise into clinical practice with willing clients. It never ceases to amaze me how harsh clients are with themselves and how much their self-critical monologue negatively affects them. This exercise may provide clients a way to begin softening towards themselves, directing their focus to acceptance and away from perceived faults. Many anxious clients report shallow, dysregulated breathing. The Soft Belly Meditation may offer a great way for clients to learn a different way of breathing that increases oxygen flow and relaxation.