Week 1 Homework Assignment (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health)

Home Forums Mindfulness in Behavioral Health Course Forums Week 1 Homework Assignment (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health)

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #4833
    Patricia Burke
    Keymaster

    Homework Exercises

    Exercise 1

    Do the Breath Counting Meditation from this lesson (see below, or listen to a guided version).

    • Assume a comfortable position sitting on the floor, on a straight backed chair, or lying down.
    • Close your eyes if it feels comfortable. If not, find a visual point to focus on and soften your gaze on that point of focus.
    • Notice your breath. Breathe in a natural, comfortable rhythm. When you inhale, say “one” silently to yourself. When you exhale, say “one” silently to yourself.
    • Continue to count your inhale and exhale until you get to 10.
    • Continue to count your inhale and exhale until you get to 10. Then return to “one” and begin again.
    • If you lose track of your count at any time during the meditation, simply return to “one.” The point of this exercise is not to reach a goal of getting to 10, but to pair a focus on your breathing with numbers, a neutral point of concentration.

    Please practice this exercise for 10–20 minutes. You may want to start with a shorter time period if you are new to meditation.


    Exercise 2

    Do the Basic Mindfulness Meditation from this lesson (see below, or listen to a guided version).

    • Assume a comfortable position sitting on the floor, on a straight backed chair, or lying down.
    • Close your eyes if it feels comfortable. If not, find a visual point to focus on and soften your gaze on that point of focus.
    • Notice your breath. Breathe in a natural, comfortable rhythm.
    • Focus your attention on the physical sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body with each inhale and exhale. You can focus your attention on the base of your nose where the air comes in and out or the physical sensation of your chest or belly rising and falling with each inhale and exhale.
    • When your mind wanders, notice your thoughts, then gently bring your attention back to the physical sensation of the inhale and exhale.
    • No matter how many times your mind wanders, the moment you notice your thoughts, gently bring your attention back to the physical sensation of the inhale and exhale.

    Please practice this exercise for 10–20 minutes. You may want to start with a shorter time period if you are new to meditation.


    Homework Questions

    Question 1

    What did you notice about your physical experience during the Breath Counting Meditation? What did you notice about how your mind responded to focusing on counting your breaths? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this meditation to calm and/or stabilize your mind?

    Question 2

    What did you notice about your physical experience during the Basic Mindfulness Meditation? What did you notice about how your mind wandered? What was it like to gently shift your focus of attention from your thoughts to your breath? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this meditation to make you more aware of the habits of your mind?

    Question 3

    In your own experience, what would you say were the differences and similarities in the two meditation exercises? How would you envision integrating the Breath Counting Meditation and/or the Basic Mindfulness Meditation into your clinical work with people with substance use or mental disorders?

     

    Please Note

    While answering the homework questions please only share personal information or specific responses to the homework exercises you feel comfortable sharing. It is up to you to decide how much or how little to disclose. Please respect the privacy and confidentiality of consumers/clients and other class participants in your sharing.

    To post your assignment, please reply to this topic below.

    Click here to go back to the course.

    #22162
    Jennifer Marx
    Participant

    Question 1
    On a basic level, I was physically aware that I had just eaten breakfast and felt slightly uncomfortable sitting and concentrating right then. I was listening to the audio, and I thought it was helpful to have his voice to focus on, because without it I felt like my mind would have wandered more. I noticed that it I was able to count up to ten and return to one while staying focused on the breath. I felt that it was an effective way to calm and stabilize my mind. I was less aware of what was going on around me while I was doing the meditation.
    Question 2
    I listened to the guided audio for this one also. My physical experience started being distracted by the way I was sitting. Then I decided to just be aware of it and not try to change it. About ten years ago I completed a 10-day vipassana meditation course, and I found myself using the vipassana technique of scanning from my head to the feet and back throughout the practice. There were moments when my mind did wander to anxious thoughts, but I brought my attention back to my breath/body. I relied on my past experience for this, because I do feel that my body and mind recognize the mindfulness state from vipassana practice and make it easier to put thoughts aside for that period of time. I do feel a sense of curiosity rather than being tied up in the thought. This type of meditation did make me aware of the habits of my mind and the thoughts coming up. The next time I try it, I wonder how it would feel to not use the body scan and purely attend to the breath.
    Question 3
    The breath counting meditation was definitely more focused and goal-oriented in a sense. I have used variations of this in clinical work with people with SUDs, though the structure of the session often does not allow for several minutes of focused breathing time. The basic mindfulness is harder to describe because, for me at least, it changes the body/mind sensations in a broader way. I feel in a different state when I am using mindfulness, and I recognize this state based on past experience, but it’s hard to describe. I am not sure at this point how I would introduce/integrate this into my practice with clients.

    #22211
    Cherie Duggan
    Participant

    Question 1-I found it to be very useful, it was calming and actually self soothing. I enjoyed the guided audio as it helped when my mind would wander to bring my attention back to my breath. I found it was an effective way to calm my mind.
    Question 2-I found my mind wandering now and again, but rather than get distracted by that distraction, I just decided not to try and change it, but to just acknowledge when the distraction happened, and guide my thoughts back to my breathing.
    It is fascinating that when tasked with staying focused how quickly one can get off focus. I found it was an effective way to make me more aware of the habits of my mind.
    Question 3-The counting method has more direction, and I feel my patients will respond better to that technique as they often look to the therapist for answers/direction until they are able to be more confident and aware of their own impact on change, but I feel both techniques would be useful in practice with patients. Possibly starting with the counting and breathing and moving towards introducing and practice of basic mindfulness meditation.

    #22213
    Melissa Gerrish
    Participant

    Question 1 : I found the physical aspect somewhat challenging. As a person with chronic pain it is often hard to have a focal point and just be in the moment. However after about 8 minutes I did find myself focusing more on the focus than my body position (and any pain). The counting aspect is something I have done before, but in different ways, so this was a nice (different) experience.

    Question 2: I have used a BMM in the past so am familiar with the concept. Given it has been an especially hard few days at work I did not fare well with maintain focus – my thoughts drifted back to clients and/or a family anniversary. I find this is best used when I am trying to settle for bed. For myself when I am in a darkened room or have a white noise machine I can do breathe work focus with more ease.

    Question 3: For myself the biggest difference is having a structured plan (counting, in/out) vs. the natural drifting of thought back to a general state of awareness. For my clients (especially those with trauma) I often encourage more of the counting (or the 5,4,3,2 1 system) for grounding and to slow down any anxiety. It is with this method we can do it together and I can help/support the pattern as they learn on their own. I feel as though the body sensation/breath, feelings and thoughts it is bit deeper and is best used independently. I know for myself, in a group or with others, I am more comfortable with a structured medication vs. the latter (alone) with a self awareness.

    In a group setting, with breath counting, given the structure and natural flow is very attainable. If I were using physical sensations I would individualize it so to support each client as various awareness (sometimes that we are not even aware of) can surface. Following a counting exercise I have asked “what was it like for you to just go with this – did you drift – how was it to focus back” and have client’s share their own process. I have developed some great tips and tricks from client’s direct reports/experiences.

    #22234
    Elaine Kaneski
    Participant

    Question 1
    After completing the Breath Counting Meditation, I noticed that I was immediately more relaxed, with full breaths instead of the usual short inhales that I catch myself doing throughout my workday. I am not new to meditation, so for me this was a nice refresher of a meditation style I have not practiced lately. When it comes to calming my mind, it worked and in my opinion, is a nice technique for those that are not as familiar or comfortable with meditating since it gives your mind something to focus on
    Question 2
    My physical experience during the Basic Mindfulness Meditation brought about a calming state of mind, and slowed breathing partially because this is the meditation style I already incorporate throughout my day. I embrace the quiet moments during the guided audio versions and appreciate not having to “worry about counting” if that makes any sense. This style allows me to feel like I’m floating or swaying, rather than being rooted to the ground. Over the years I wish I could say that my mind wanders less during this style, but it honestly depends on the day. This meditation style really allows you to realize how quickly your mind jumps to your mental to do list, and the worries your mind loves to fixate on.

    Question 3
    The main difference between these two styles I was able to immediately notice was the feeling of my body being rooted to ground vs. floating and almost feeling like I can look at myself while meditating (during basic mindfulness). In my opinion, I think you can gain respect from those with SUD if you help them dip their toes into the counting breath style…. In a sense, you can help them move their addictive behaviors from substances to feeling the calming sensations of meditation instead, but they need to get to experience that sensation with guidance at first. We’re all guilty of asking “am I doing this right?” during our exercises and it may give them the validation they’re seeking with the breath counting style.

    #22246
    Catherine VanDraska
    Participant

    1. Prior to starting the exercise, I had learned some frustrating news about work so I was in a more elevate state. After getting to count 4, I felt my body calm and relax. I felt peaceful and ready to take on the challenge after the exercise. My mind responds very well to mindfulness exercises and found it easy to focus on the count. I find this exercise extremely effective.
    2. I felt calm and peaceful physically. My mind wondered often about tasks that I needed to get done for work. I was able to bring my thoughts back, but did have some anxiety. One of my coping skills is to right down the tasks that I have to complete and I did not like the feeling of not being able to write them down. I think that it was effective to notice that my ability to keep work at work has decreased lately.
    3. I think that both of these exercises could have significant benefits for myself and the people that I serve. I like the first exercise more when I am feeling overwhelmed but the second would be better when I need to bring more awareness to my thoughts so I can adjust were needed. My program currently does daily group medication and we utilize mindfulness practices when our youth are in crisis. These activities have continued to show the effectiveness.

    Catherine VanDraska

    #22257
    Ryan Crouse
    Participant

    Question 1
    At first my mind was drawn to the achy or uncomfortable parts of my body and I would have to refocus my attention on the counting in my mind when I was breathing in and out. When i was more able to focus on the breathing and the counting my mind started to move away from my body and i was less aware of how it ached and the uncomfort in my body. I believe the exercise would be effective for calming my mind and helping me refocus my thoughts or help with an undesirable mood I am in.
    Question 2
    What I noticed the most about the physical experience was that each part of my body that I was being mindful of relaxed and I could feel the tension leave that area of my body. My mind would wander to the part of my body that always hurts. I have degenerative disk disease in my neck so my mind wanted to focus on that area and I had to redirect my thoughts. I think it shows how easily my mind wanders and that I have to bring myself back to the moment and focusing on my breath helps me to bring my mind back to the meditation and off of what my mind wants to wander to.
    Question 3
    I think the similarities where that both I was sitting the same breathing the same. the difference for me was the first one I was less aware of my body when I was focusing on on my breath and counting. I felt like I was leaving my body more so that the next one. the second meditation if I did the right one which was the guided meditation of starting at my feet and being mindful of different parts of m body. in that meditation I felt more in my body and mindful of my body and how it was feeling and how it was relaxing and the tension was going away.

    #22658

    Question 1
    What did you notice about your physical experience during the Breath Counting Meditation? What did you notice about how your mind responded to focusing on counting your breaths? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this meditation to calm and/or stabilize your mind?

    The focus on counting was very helpful in keeping my focus and became rhythmic as I went along. It was very calming.

    Question 2
    What did you notice about your physical experience during the Basic Mindfulness Meditation? What did you notice about how your mind wandered? What was it like to gently shift your focus of attention from your thoughts to your breath? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this meditation to make you more aware of the habits of your mind?

    This one was more difficult as my mind wandered and it was difficult to bring it back at times. It was interesting to be reflecting on what my mind did or had difficulty doing.

    Question 3

    In your own experience, what would you say were the differences and similarities in the two meditation exercises? How would you envision integrating the Breath Counting Meditation and/or the Basic Mindfulness Meditation into your clinical work with people with substance use or mental disorders?
    I think they were similar but I think beginning with the first meditation and then moving to the second and with more practice will help individuals learn to focus and avoid external or even internal responses.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.