Week 2 Homework Assignment (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health)

Home Forums Mindfulness in Behavioral Health Course Forums Week 2 Homework Assignment (Mindfulness in Behavioral Health)

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #4831
    Patricia Burke
    Keymaster

    Homework Exercises

    Exercise 1

    Do the Lying Down/Body Scan Meditation from this lesson (see below, or listen to a guided version).

    • Lie down on a bed or a comfortable mat on the floor. Allow your body to relax and be held by the bed or the mat.
    • 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.
    • Feel your breath moving through your entire body.
    • Follow your breath to different areas of your body like your feet, legs, pelvis, back shoulders, arms, hands, throat, head, face and top of your head.
    • Notice whatever sensations are present in each area of the body. Refrain from trying to change your physical experience. Notice how the sensations move and change without effort on your part.
    • Notice any thoughts or feelings associated with the sensations in each area of the body as you bring your breath there.
    • Follow the breath into each area, notice your experience, then release your attention from that area and move to the next area of attention.

    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 Focusing on a Single Object exercise from this lesson (see below, or watch a guided video).

    • Pick a small object to focus on. Pick something that will fit on a table, is safe to touch and that will not evoke strong emotional reactions in you. Some examples might include a pen, a flower, a cup, a crystal or small stone.
    • Find a comfortable place in a quiet room where you will not be disturbed. Turn off any distracting sounds like the radio or TV. Place the object on a table in front of you.
    • Set the timer on an alarm clock or your watch for five minutes.
    • Take a few slow, deep breaths. Allow your breath to return to a natural, comfortable rhythm.
    • Without touching the object explore it with your eyes while breathing in a natural, comfortable rhythm. Use the following questions to help you visually explore the object and its qualities:
        1. What does the surface of the object look like?
        1. Is it shiny or dull?
        1. Does it look smooth or rough?
        1. Does it look soft or hard?
        1. Does it have many colors or just one?
                  What is unique about the way this object looks?
    • Now reach out and touch the object or hold it in your hand. Begin to explore the object through the sense of touch while breathing in a natural, comfortable rhythm. Use the following questions to help you explore the object and its qualities using your sense of touch:
        1. Is it smooth or rough?
        1. Does it have ridges or is it flat?
        1. Is it soft or hard?
        1. Is it flexible or rigid?
        1. Does the object have areas that feel different from each other?
        1. How would you describe the temperature of the object?
        1. If you hold it in your hand, notice how much it weighs.
        What else do you notice about the way it feels?
    • Continue exploring the object visually and through your sense of touch. Continue breathing in a natural, comfortable rhythm. When your mind wanders gently bring your attention back to the object. Keep exploring until the alarm goes off.

    Homework Questions

    Question 1

    What did you notice about your physical experience during the Lying Down/Body Scan Meditation? What was it like to make contact with the different areas of your body? What was it like to make note of your sensate experience, accept it, then move on without trying to change or fix that experience? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this meditation to help you make contact with your sensate experience in the present moment? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this meditation to help you develop both concentration and flexibility of attention simultaneously?

    Question 2

    What was it like to focus fully and completely on the object first visually and then through your sense of touch during the Focusing on a Single Object exercise? What did you notice about the experience of sustaining your focus of attention on an object in the present moment? What was it like to notice your mind wander, then gently bring your attention back to the present moment? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this mindfulness exercise to enhance your ability to focus your attention, maintain your focus for longer periods of time, and concentrate fully on the present moment?

    Question 3

    How would you envision adapting and integrating the Lying Down/Body Scan Meditation and/or the Focusing on a Single Object into your clinical work with people with substance use or mental disorders? Be specific.

     

    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.

    #22259
    Jennifer Marx
    Participant

    Question 1

    I used the guided meditation for the lying down/body scan. Making contact with the different areas of my body was challenging and anxiety provoking to varying degrees. I appreciated the guided mediation because I would have been tempted to move on quickly from the areas that had sensations that I perceived as anxiety. I was able to get a half-step of distance as an observer with these body parts. I also did notice that some body parts felt better (that is, less perceived anxiety) and I moved on from them as well and resisted the urge to stay there. Afterward I felt more connected to my body than I had all day. I would rate this meditation as very effective in terms of making contact with the sensate experience. I feel it was also very effective in developing concentration and flexibility, especially because the guided meditation spent the same amount of time on a body part whether I was tempted to avoid or cling to it.

    Question 2

    I chose a spoon, which is an object I had nearby and that does not hold emotional weight for me. I loved exploring it visually and then through touch. I focused fully on the spoon, especially the way the light in the room reflected on it. The touch sensation that most stuck with me was temperature: the spoon was much colder than my hands and the air. I felt fully wrapped up in the exercise. I used the guided meditation and was surprised how short the five minutes felt.

    Question 3

    I have used variations of the body scan technique with clients. One thing I learned from the guided meditation was to return to a body part in order to travel down another path from that part (i.e. after the front of the face, return to the top of the head and then go down the back of the head). It’s a little thing, but I’ve not been sure how to address that in this exercise in the past. I would use this exercise with people over the phone, and I would take the role of the person guiding the meditation (after discussing the basics with the client, including that either perceived positive or perceived negative sensations are just to be observed, and neither will last forever). The single object I would offer to clients who have an interest. It is something that could easily be done over the phone. I would try to give some detail about the skills/benefits this activity has so it has a context.

    #22262
    Melissa Gerrish
    Participant

    Question 1: Given I have some medical issues laying flat is a challenge, but I was able to easily modify the body scan experience. I actually did both directions (toes to head, then head to toe) at two different times. I found it much more effective to go from head to toes as I could “relax” the brain and had and settle into the moment. Using mindfulness in this way is something I use regularly with myself and client (when they are sitting). I have also asked them to do a body scan (like this exercise) and then zone in on areas they needed to relax. When the focus is on being mindful of each part, I did not find much “drifting thought.”

    Question 2: This section was honestly a breeze. Mindfulness of an object I use for both personal and professional almost daily. Typically in the morning (as silly as it sounds) my coffee is my starting point. Which cup I use, which hand, ridges on cup, temperature, etc. I will sometimes use my left hand only and be mindful of the (semi) awkwardness of holding/preparing. I have client’s open stop mid-session (when indicated) and just pick up one of the fidget tools, or therapeutic tools for a thought stopping moment. I find this type of exercise most beneficial with my clients with a diagnosis or components of ADHD. I typically will start with 30 seconds of direct focus and work to increase time for up to 3 minutes. Then using that experience to shift the focus to more detailed concentration.

    Question 3: I did not read ahead on the questions and really have mostly answered this in the above questions. For my clients with either straight MH or co-occurring utilizing these techniques is more about distress tolerance and learning the new skills and then taking them back to their own community for continued use.

    On a side note I hoe everyone has a healthy and safe Thanksgiving. Healing thoughts to those who are afar from family/friends for whatever reason.

    #22279
    Cherie Duggan
    Participant

    I found it more useful to go from head to toe be toe to head as it seemed as soon as my brain and head were in a more aware state, I as able to focus more fully on the other areas of the body. Parts that I could distinguish as feeling tense or pain, rather than move quickly past, I spent time fully aware of the feelings and appreciated it. It helped me appreciate other areas that were calm, relaxed and loose. When I spend the time and allow the focus to occur, I do not find thoughts wandering. I would rate this meditation as effective in terms of making contact with the sensate experience.

    I chose a smooth stone. I enjoyed exploring it visually and by touch. I was able to focused fully on the object, feeling its texture, noting whether it was cool or warm to the touch, and really spending time on that aspect as to fully feel the difference between a smooth texture and how that influenced by perception of its temperature. I spent time looking at it from different angles and with one eye open and one shut (and then switched) to see the difference in the experience. I did not find my mind wandering during this time as it felt like a treat to only focus on one thing during that time, and to stay fully focused on the present moment. I would evaluate the exercise as effectiveness as it did enhance my ability to focus my attention and maintain my focus.

    I fell I could use both exercises in my practice, and I fell I could use this exercise with patients in person or via telehealth sessions as I could guide the experience. Working with patients with SUD and teaching these skills will be very beneficial to them, as they can take the skills and apply to so many situations that come up between therapy groups and sessions.

    #22281
    Catherine VanDraska
    Participant

    The lying down meditation
    This is one of my favorite medication exercises. I have done yoga for many years and this is often how I end my yoga practice. I notice a complete sense of calm and control. When practicing this exercise, I was able to identify sources of my tension in my body from work related stress and was able to let go most of that tension. Accepting the sensations feels freeing and allows me to move on from that tension without feel anxious. I have found this exercise to be extremely effective to stay in the present moment and allows for concentration and flexibility. I feel like this exercise may be difficult to convince my patient to try, as teens may find it a bit silly. It may be useful to verbally guide them through the experience rather than have them do it themselves the first few times.

    Focusing on a sing object
    I do this exercise often with my clients, especially when they are experiencing anxiety or a lack of control. When I practiced this exercise, it was nice to focus on something that was outside of my mind and body and had nothing to do with work or other life stressors. I focused on my Little Mermaid water cup in my office. It was easy to focus on this object without too much mind wondering. When I started to trail off, it was easy to accept the thought and to bring my mind back to the cup. I find this activity incredibly effective and I use it often. I have not used this activity when I patient is withdrawing or craving, but I would assume it would work well for that as well as coping through anxiety or feeling out of control. I will attempt this the next time an opportunity arises.

    Catherine VanDraska

    #22287
    Elaine Kaneski
    Participant

    Question 1
    When using the guided meditation for the Lying Down/Body Scan Meditation, I felt at ease since this is a common activity used within my own yoga practice. Since I had a bit of a headache while doing this exercise and this was done after work, I felt that my head was making a strong connection to the earth, and overall I felt heavy and able to sink into the floor to relax. With the guidance, it was helpful to have the “reminder” to focus on different areas of the body and divert my attention from my headache, which in my opinion makes this technique very effective in terms on concentration.
    Question 2
    I’ve used a similar single object exercise with my college students previously, so it was nice to revisit this technique with more objects at my disposal in my office than a classroom – I chose an artificial succulent plant in my office and enjoyed being able to concentrate on the varying green colors of the plant itself and the ceramic container. Choosing to do this meditation first thing in the morning, before any of my co-workers arrived at work was helpful too, as my mind wasn’t wandering too much due to the lack of other sounds or distractions outside my office door. Being able to focus on one item that I generally overlook was a nice shift in perspective and helped me to ease into my workday with a general calm feeling honestly.

    #22309
    Ryan Crouse
    Participant

    Question 1
    I could feel my eczema on my hands when I was focusing on them. It was a struggle to move on form itchy feelings. My mind wanted to wander to how long I have had that issue. When I went to my chest, I felt congested and wanted to clear my throat. When I was focusing on my stomach area, I felt a really warm sensation in my body. When focusing on my neck and shoulders I felt the tension that was in them and the discomfort from my neck injuries. It was uncomfortable when I went down my back when I got to my lower back. It was a struggle to move on from points of discomfort and tension. By the end of the meditation I was relaxed and could fall asleep If I wanted to. I am going to do this exercise more and I have found some on YouTube I could do on my phone. It helped me to relax and if my body is relaxed more it will increase my flexibility. I am not sure about concentration; it is helpful to get me to focus on something and not having my thoughts wander.
    Question 2
    I chose to use a small stone for this exercise. The stone was mostly smooth with some rough spots on it. The stone was rounded with very few ridges. The stone was very hard and not at all flexible. The stone felt different in different areas, it was smooth then rough with indentations spots. The stone was colder than body temperature and seemed colder than the room temperature at the time. It felt gritty to the touch and smooth depending on the area I was touching. I struggled with remaining focused on the stone during this exercise. Even though I was in a quiet room my mind would wander. I would have to bring my mind back on several times during the five minutes. This exercise would help me develop concentration more than the first exercise.
    Question 3
    I would like to incorporate the body scan into my practice. I do not have anything for the client to lay down on so It would have to be in the seated position until I got a couch. I would like to do the exercises over and over again and be more fluid with them so I could use them with my clients. The focusing on a single object exercise could be useful when I am working with clients with SUD, and ADHD( Co-occurring disorders) and help them to train themselves to focus better.

    #22663

    Question 1
    What did you notice about your physical experience during the Lying Down/Body Scan Meditation? What was it like to make contact with the different areas of your body? What was it like to make note of your sensate experience, accept it, then move on without trying to change or fix that experience? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this meditation to help you make contact with your sensate experience in the present moment? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this meditation to help you develop both concentration and flexibility of attention simultaneously?

    I found the places where I had tension and it allowed me to find it and then move on with the overall effect of increased calm and relaxation.

    Question 2
    What was it like to focus fully and completely on the object first visually and then through your sense of touch during the Focusing on a Single Object exercise? What did you notice about the experience of sustaining your focus of attention on an object in the present moment? What was it like to notice your mind wander, then gently bring your attention back to the present moment? How would you evaluate the effectiveness of this mindfulness exercise to enhance your ability to focus your attention, maintain your focus for longer periods of time, and concentrate fully on the present moment?
    Having an object, in this case, a tangerine held my focus and for me to more deeply focus on it verses myself or other things going on in my life.
    Question 3
    How would you envision adapting and integrating the Lying Down/Body Scan Meditation and/or the Focusing on a Single Object into your clinical work with people with substance use or mental disorders? Be specific.

    The lying down one might be better to explain and have someone do at home alone but the object once would be a good place to start.

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