Mike Scanlan will be focusing on how to handle stress using mindfulness meditation. Mike appreciates that people working in practice are dealing with the general public who are anxious, stressed, sad, grieving, angry and have high expectations on a daily basis. When people are stressed they tend to focus more on stress rather than concentrating on living their lives. A quote from Jon Kabat-Zinn, who is the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction, highlights this;
“The present is the only time that any of us have to be alive -to know anything -to perceive –to learn –the act to change –to heal”
When people are stressed they tend to want to exert more control in their lives and try to do so by arriving at work earlier, taking work home with them and trying to predict what might happen in order to be one step ahead. This automatic living can often lead to losing an awareness of what is happening around you because of all the clouds of stress getting in your way. By realising that you are in this situation is often the first step towards breaking this pattern and starting to get rid of those dark, thick stress clouds around you. Clouds are still likely to appear but the aim would be to stop focusing on the clouds and prevent them from lingering! Mike uses a story called, ‘Tramps and Parties,’ which he describes in detail during the webinar and is also outlined in the mindfulness handbook starting on page 12.
During this webinar there are two meditations: linear body scan and mindfulness of breath. Mike recommends lying down for the linear body scan and being in a dignified seated position for the mindfulness of breath meditation. Below the recording for this webinar is the audio for the mindfulness of breath meditation which I will be using frequently! Mike suggests practising this meditation so that you can feel confident that when difficulties arise, you can turn your attention to your breath in order to shift your focus away from the difficult situation and therefore reducing your automatic response.
At the end of the session Mike provides ideas to help continue mindfulness practise between the weekly sessions. One of Mike’s suggestions is to keep a pleasant events diary. I think this could be really useful for me because I have a tendency to focus on negative events and diminishing or even discounting the positive events! I can imagine that when you are faced with difficulties, it would be a powerful exercise to look back through the diary.