Turn Off Your Automatic Pilot

At the start of this week’s Mindfulness webinar we focused on trying to be mindful in the way we react to stressful situations and troubling thoughts. Often we have developed our own unhelpful coping strategies which Mike outlined during last week’s webinar. This week we were encouraged to participate in the three stage breathing space with difficulty meditation. This meditation involved identifying and describing the troubling thought then redirecting your attention to focus on your breath before expanding your attention to your whole body. This is much more appealing than reacting to stress in my usual panic and fearing the worst so I am keen to practise this the next time troubling thoughts arise.

I am writing this blog a couple of days after the live webinar so I’ve had some time to practise the ‘leaves on a stream’ meditation. Mike explained how this meditation can be really helpful for people who struggle with sleeping. This was music to my ears! You will need to listen to the recording for a full explanation from Mike but a simplistic description is to imagine leaves floating on a stream. At the end of the session, there were lots of questions about the leaves and an attendee explained how they found it easier to think about clouds floating in the sky instead. Mike clarified that there are no hard and fast rules about the leaves and the stream so however you imagine leaves floating (or even sinking) in a stream or whether it’s clouds floating in the sky, it’s ok. Whatever works for you. That’s good to know because I have found that my leaves have become snowflakes falling from the sky. I’m not sure where this came from but I’m going to go with it! Every time a snowflake hits the ground, I watch another snowflake fall from the sky. Last night this worked really well for me.

I would really encourage people who have signed up to the Mindfulness series to try to watch the live broadcast of the webinar. Mike is incredibly helpful and is keen to answer any questions you may have. If there are too many questions, Mike is happy for attendees to email any questions you may have. I have found that listening to the questions and answers at the end of the session really helpful. It is reassuring that if you are struggling with a particular aspect, others have experienced something similar but also it’s encouraging to hear from people who are reporting the benefits of being involved in the Mindfulness series.

 

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