Join me as I reflect on the transformative journey during Weeks 7 and 8, where formal and informal mindfulness practices have deepened my connection to the present moment and brought me invaluable insights.
In Week 7, formal practices such as yoga, loving-kindness meditation, and walking meditation took center stage. Despite varying levels of fatigue and stress, these practices consistently grounded me, relieved physical discomfort, and nurtured mindfulness. Through self-compassion, gratitude, and non-judgment, I discovered a sense of calmness and acceptance even in the face of challenges.
The informal practices of Week 7 showcased the power of mindfulness in everyday situations. Techniques like STOP, simple awareness, turning toward difficulties, and walking meditation became valuable tools for managing anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. I learned to embrace acceptance, appreciate the present moment, and navigate difficult emotions and thoughts with grace.
In Week 8, I had a powerful realization of the impact mindfulness can have on our lives. In my darkest times, I sought support from therapy sessions, where mindfulness and acceptance were recommended. Initially resistant, I gradually recognized that my constant struggle against my thoughts and emotions hindered my healing and peace. With unwavering determination, I incorporated mindfulness and acceptance into my daily life, leading to profound personal growth and a more meaningful existence.
Enrolling in the MBSR course further deepened my mindfulness journey, reinforcing my foundational knowledge and introducing me to new techniques. I honed my ability to sit with overwhelming emotions, improved my inner dialogue, and embraced self-compassion during wandering thoughts. Moving forward, I am committed to continuing my mindfulness practice, both formally and informally, harnessing the power of mindful yoga, meditation, and everyday awareness.
I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Palouse Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course for providing this invaluable resource free of charge. This course has made a significant difference in my life, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow alongside countless others.
Join me as we delve into the reflections and learnings from Weeks 7 and 8, discovering the transformative potential of mindfulness and the profound impact it can have on our well-being and daily experiences. Together, let us cultivate mindfulness and embrace the present moment with open hearts and minds.
- Yoga - 5/21/2023
- Started the day feeling tired but neutral.
- Previous day's business event went well.
- During the yoga practice, gently brought attention back to the present moment with self-compassion and gratitude when the mind wandered.
- Helped with grounding and maintaining mindfulness.
- Yoga - 5/22/2023
- Entered the practice feeling more stressed and anxious compared to the previous day.
- Yoga helped alleviate upper back and neck pain.
- Grounded oneself before continuing with the day's activities.
- Loving Kindness Meditation - 5/23/2023
- Started the meditation session feeling frustrated and stressed.
- Experienced relaxation of muscles and a slowing down of the mind during the practice.
- Actively practiced mindful compassion, which felt beneficial.
- Walking Meditation - 5/24/2023
- Already familiar with practicing mindfulness during dog walks since the beginning of the course.
- Appreciated the gained ability to be mindful while being out and about.
- Yoga - 5/25/2023
- Decent practice that relieved tension in the hips and neck.
- Maintained mindfulness and avoided self-judgment when catching wandering thoughts.
- Yoga - 5/26/2023
- Approached the practice with heightened stress levels.
- Kept focus on the breath and avoided self-judgment during the practice.
- Although still experiencing stress, felt calmer and less resistant to it.
Throughout Week 7, the formal practice logs feature a variety of practices, including yoga, loving-kindness meditation, and walking meditation. Despite varying levels of fatigue and stress, the practices consistently helped in grounding oneself, relieving physical discomfort, and maintaining mindfulness. There was an emphasis on self-compassion, gratitude, and non-judgment, which contributed to a sense of calmness and acceptance, even in the presence of stress.
- Situation - Having phone anxiety right before making an important call.
- Process Used: STOP
- State before the process: Feeling flustered and hoping to say the right things.
- During the process: Mind slowed down, muscles relaxed, and acceptance of nervousness.
- After the process: Calmer and had a great interaction.
- Lesson learned: STOP and Turning Toward have a positive impact on pre-meeting/phone anxiety.
- Situation - Dealing with stress about business and finances.
- Process Used: Turning Toward
- State before the process: Feeling worked up, anxious, and questioning oneself.
- During the process: Recognized the validity of feelings, accepting and sitting with them.
- After the process: Calmer emotions, slowed-down thoughts, and focus on acceptance.
- Lesson learned: Starting a business is overwhelming, and practicing acceptance of emotions is a valuable skill.
- Situation - Taking dogs outside and stressing about time.
- Process Used: Simple Awareness
- State before the process: Going over tasks and rushing to get back inside.
- During the process: Shifted attention to surroundings and dogs, allowing enjoyment.
- After the process: Appreciation and calmness, not rushing, and feeling good about the moment.
- Lesson learned: Life is more enjoyable when appreciating small moments and not always living for the next thing.
- Situation - Anxiety over uncertainty and 'what if' scenarios.
- Process Used: STOP
- State before the process: Racing thoughts and overwhelming anxiety.
- During the process: Shoulders relaxed, mind slowed down, and neutral reaction.
- After the process: Overall neutrality and acceptance, non-judgmental attitude.
- Lesson learned: Embracing uncertainty is essential for happiness as there is little certainty in life.
Throughout Week 7, the informal logs demonstrate the use of different mindfulness processes in various situations. STOP and Turning Toward were effective in addressing pre-meeting/phone anxiety and managing stress about business and finances. Simple Awareness helped shift focus and appreciate the present moment, while STOP assisted in dealing with anxiety and uncertainty. The logs highlight the importance of acceptance, non-judgment, and mindful awareness in finding calmness, enjoying small moments, and navigating challenging emotions and thoughts.
Letter of Learning
During my most challenging times, I sought support from a therapist, attending sessions twice a week for months. Intrusive thoughts, overwhelming anxiety, depression, and panic attacks plagued my daily life. It was during these therapy sessions that mindfulness and acceptance were recommended to me. Initially, I resisted these concepts, as I had spent a significant portion of my life battling against my thoughts and emotions. Acceptance seemed like an impossible task. However, as I gradually realized, this constant struggle was hindering my ability to heal and find peace. The phrase we frequently heard throughout the course, "What you practice, grows stronger," resonated deeply with me. Through consistent effort and unwavering determination, I began incorporating mindfulness and acceptance into my daily life. These practices became my guiding light, enabling me to work through my most debilitating issues. As a result, I not only completed my bachelor's degree but also reduced the frequency of my therapy sessions and started living a fuller, more meaningful life.
Recognizing that embarking on a new business venture with my wife would introduce immense stress and uncertainty, I made the decision to deepen my understanding of mindfulness by enrolling in the MBSR course. This experience has been transformative. The course not only reinforced my foundational knowledge of mindfulness but also introduced me to new techniques that have helped me ground myself and live a more peaceful life. I have become much stronger in sitting with feelings and emotions that once overwhelmed me. Furthermore, I have made significant progress in improving my inner dialogue and practicing self-compassion when my mind tends to wander.
Looking ahead, I am committed to continuing my mindfulness practice, both formally and informally. Formally, I will continue engaging in mindful yoga and meditation, as these practices have proven invaluable on my journey. However, I have discovered that the informal practices have had the most profound impact on my day-to-day experiences. Techniques such as the STOP exercise, simple awareness, turning toward difficulties, and walking meditation have become pillars of my mindfulness practice. I am determined to employ these techniques whenever relevant situations arise, cultivating an attitude that allows me to fully appreciate my moment-to-moment experiences and approach tasks and chores with a better attitude.
I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to those who run and maintain the Palouse Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course for providing this invaluable resource free. The course has made a huge difference in my life and undoubtedly benefitted countless others. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to participate and learn from this program.
Once again, thank you for your commitment to providing such a valuable resource.