Mike began this final session in the Mindfulness series by stating that he has been really impressed with the spirit of curiosity within the veterinary profession with respect to mindfulness. This final session focused on maintaining this curiosity for practising mindfulness. Mike reminded attendees about Jon Kabat-Zinn’s advice (who is the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction) of weaving your parachute everyday instead of leaving it until you have to jump from an aeroplane. Practising mindfulness daily would be more effective during difficult times instead of trying to apply mindfulness on an ad hoc basis. From my own experience during this eight week course, I can definitely appreciate this sentiment! I didn’t realise how tricky it would be to focus on breathing! It sounds simple but I must admit I found it difficult at the start. Mike’s tips and advice have helped me to improve my technique so with more practise, I’m optimistic I can become even more mindful and I am pleased that I can see a difference in myself. In addition, in the mindfulness handbook there are lots of tips on page 46 on how to stay mindful on a daily basis. I think I will print this page and put on the fridge door!
The RAIN acronym was introduced during the webinar as a helpful tool to help apply mindfulness when experiencing stress and anxiety as a mindful self-evaluation. I would recommend listening to the recording if you haven’t already for Mike’s explanation for applying the RAIN self-evaluation during stressful times. It is better to respond mindfully rather than reacting to the situation on autopilot. Towards the end of the session, Mike discussed managing our expectations. It’s important not to put pressure on yourself for things to change quickly or dramatically. The aim is to move towards building up your sense of control in the face of difficulties. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire course but my highlights from the series were evaluating my time effort and headspace, the compassion meditation and the breathing space with action step. I would like to say good luck to everyone in maintaining your mindfulness garden by making sure you continue to provide nourishment without allowing the troublesome weeds to take over the garden. I’ve really enjoyed your company on Tuesday evenings over the past eight weeks!