The main theme around last week’s session was mindfulness, a topic I have written about and tried to incorporate in my life.  It was still however an interesting session and I learned some new techniques.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is choosing to pay attention to what’s happening in the present moment.

It involves having a conscious awareness of our current thoughts, feelings and surroundings in a non-judgemental way.  It has been shown to significantly reduce stress and improve health and well-being.

Tuning in

As in all the sessions, the first activity was a tuning in task.  We watched two videos which can be found here and here.

Again, as in past sessions we also wrote down good things that had happened in the past week.  Mine included:

  • The beautiful sunshine
  • Going for a long walk
  • Playing with my daughter.

Can we find peace of mind?

Life is stressful, we can never live a perfect life where nothing goes wrong.  We all have work issues, money issues and relationship issues at some point in our lives.  Western culture also seems to glorify being busy!

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human Freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.

-Victor Frankl

We made a list of all the things that cause us stress and anxiety.  Mine are:

  • Work
  • Politics
  • Answering my phone
  • Being a good parent
  • Tiredness
  • Weight
  • Not being able to say No to things
  • Money
  • Courses
  • Being a perfectionist.

It saddens me that this list was easier to make than the good things list!

Expert View: Jon Kabat-Zinn

As in previous sessions, we watched an expert view video.  This week it was one of the father’s of Western mindfulness: Professor Kabat-Zinn.  The video can be seen here.

The points I wrote down during the video were:

  • Mindfulness helps us to see our thoughts as weather patterns
  • Focusing on being rather than doing helps us discover we’re ok
  • Mindfulness can have profound effects on our brains and lives.
  • We need to experience some discomfort in order to grow.
  • The role of epigenetics in our lives
  • It doesn’t matter what is wrong, as long as you’re breathing it is okay.

Coping Well

We reflected on our coping mechanisms.  What helps us to cope well in difficult times?  Mine were:

  • Medication
  • Walking
  • Hot baths
  • Talking to psychiatrist
  • Writing/blogging
  • Mindfulness
  • Talking to my partner
  • Fact over thoughts
  • Reading self help books.

Move out of your comfort zone.  You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.

-Brian Tracey