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

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Question 1-
I was able to relax and found the focus on the soft belly interesting. I unfortunately did the exercise after a large meal and was pretty full so I think it would have been even better had that not been the case. The concept of “soft” somehow transferred into making it relaxed. This seemed to make the rest of my body relaxed seemingly there is a connection with the belly and breath with the rest of the body. I noted that I had a tightness in my chest when I started and that it relaxed even though I wasn’t focusing on the chest- just the belly. I am not so sure it fosters acceptance per se but it seems to prepare oneself for clarity of thought in a gentle way that allows me to just try and accept what comes up. I think my conclusion is that I just never stop to smell the roses- I am always intent on some thought, plan or worry and while this no doubt has benefits in problem solving in life it needs to be interspersed with times of relaxation and centering with unwinding and the acceptance that we are seeking. I am tempted to thin it might make me to be less motivated but that’s not the case as it is rejuvenating returning me to a place to do the former thinking and planning with less worrying better.

Question 2
While this was relaxing, I find telling myself a repetitive thing does no0t really help me think or feel it but makes me feel manipulated a bit. I didn’t really care for that and felt like I was trying to hypnotize myself. I think acceptance has to come from somewhere deeper and not just from the outside (verbalization) in by repetition with an altered state of consciousness. That one just was not really “my cup of tea.” But thank you for the experience.
Question 3
I actually think the soft belly exercise is excellent and would be a good starter for introducing mindfulness. Longer meditations seem hard to novices, and I think are not helpful in the beginning as people can hardly sit for 2 minutes without getting anxious or feeling they are wasting time. This stuff is effective, but at least with most of the clients I see, this has to be gradual. Perhaps with someone that has a hard time accepting themselves the second exercise would be helpful, but as stated earlier that one is not my favorite and I think a lot of clients would push back on having to push (yes, I know its gentle but it’s not their thought) a phrase upon them.