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

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Question 1
What did you notice about your physical experience during the Soft Belly Meditation? What was it like for you to have a point of focus be the soft belly? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this meditation to enhance acceptance of feelings and sensations in the moment?

During this exercise I felt a persistent burning and fullness in my belly which was quite uncomfortable. As I breathed into it, I felt increasingly nauseous which I attempted to observe without judgement. I felt frustrated and almost started crying which makes me think that I need to try it again as perhaps there was something about what I had ingested that was affecting my experience. I tried not to judge my frustration or my urge to cry with some success. Perhaps I just need to practice more so that I can tolerate it better. There was the distraction of three dogs barking and running around on the floor above me which I was better able to observe without judgement and allow it to “float into the soft belly”. Unexpectedly, the time seemed to go by very quickly.

Question 2
What did you notice about your physical experience during the Acceptance Exercise? What was it like for you to have the point of focus be the phrase, “May I accept myself completely as I am right now?” How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this mindfulness exercise to enhance acceptance of self in the moment?

This exercise went differently for me as I found myself very relaxed and I believe I fell asleep a couple times. I even had images of hand gestures that went along with the words I was repeating which helped me to focus. Again, I had the distraction of the dogs running around and barking above me, but they affected me less than they did in the previous exercise. The time seemed to go by slower this time. The words I was repeating in my head seemed to lose their meaning from time to time, and I had to reconnect with them when this happened.

Question 3
How would you envision adapting and integrating the Soft Belly Meditation and/or the Acceptance Exercise into your clinical work with others, particularly people with addictions? Be specific.

These exercises could be useful for client’s when they are facing triggers and cravings or even dealing with a relapse. I may need more experience and practice with the “soft belly” exercise before I recommend it to clients but given the experience of deep relaxation that I had with the Acceptance exercise, I can image this being effective in helping people manage triggers by neutralizing their effects, getting through periods of cravings without using, and moving forward from relapse with renewed confidence and self-compassion.