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

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Hilary Pelletier

1. I found the Soft Belly exercise to be one of the more beneficial ones for me personally. I found it extremely helpful to have a focus and words to repeat to bring me back to the breath when my mind began to wander. In relaxing my belly, the rest of my body followed. I was actually surprised about the amount of tension I was holding in my middle section. It was easier, initially for me to relax my belly on the inhalation, and more difficult on the exhalation. I found this meditation very beneficial in allowing me to accept my feelings in the moment. I have actually used it since the initial practice when I have been feeling stressed and overwhelmed and have found that it is helpful for me, even when practiced for a short duration.

2. I struggled more with the Acceptance Exercise, especially as I begun. When I began repeating to myself, “May I accept myself completely as I am right now?”, I felt an initial huge wave of anxiety. My physical body felt initially tensed and I found it difficult to relax with the amount of anxiety I was experiencing. I do think it helped that I chose to do the guided meditation; I may have stopped if I was trying it on my own and experienced that amount of anxiety. I did notice that after continued repeats of the phrase, my anxiety lessened and I was able to relax and accept my feelings, even the anxiety, more. Near to the end when I repeated the phrase “May I accept myself completely as I am right now?”, my subconscious replied with a “yes”. This meditation was much more difficult initially in allowing me to accept the way that I am, in the moment. I would say that overall I think it helped, and with practice I would likely experience less anxiety and more long term benefit.

3. I think that incorporating self-acceptance meditation in to my practice with individuals that I work with, especially those with substance use disorders, is important. If a patient was willing, I think that I would likely begin with the soft belly meditation. This one, in my experience was easier to grasp and did not evoke immediate strong feelings. For patients that were more experienced in meditation, or those that I was able to work with for some time, I might suggest the acceptance exercise. While it does seem to be a practice that might evoke stronger negative feelings initially, it could be very beneficial to accept oneself in their current state. Because of the environment I work in, I envision working more with the soft belly exercise and trying to connect individuals to outpatient clinicians that could continue to work with them in this modality.