I'm so glad I decided to go to my class today. I've been taking a Mindfulness Based Stress and Pain Reduction course for the last 4 weeks, and I hadn't really been feeling it the last week or so and I was considering not going today. I was finding it really difficult and I wasn't happy with how I was doing it. I'd gotten to the point where I'd really been slacking off on doing my homework because I couldn't meet my own standards and I would rather not do it at all and feel guilty about that, than do it and "fail" in my eyes. So, I'd been feeling guilty about not doing it, and I wasn't quite "getting it". Which is unusual for me… I usually understand things fairly quickly. Anyway I'm so glad I went today because I had sort of an "aha" moment. I was struggling so much with the simplicity of mindfulness… I'd repeatedly find myself being aware (which is what mindfulness is all about) and thinking "okay… now I'm aware of my thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations… now what?" I hadn't realized that that was all I needed to do. Just be aware, and accept how you feel right then. It can be as simple as being aware that you're upset about something and saying to yourself "I'm really upset about this" and just being able to sit with that feeling and not try to "fix" it or push it away. It will pass on it's own. Nothing lasts forever. I think I was unknowingly hung up on trying to fix or change how I felt. I was afraid to let myself feel. Afraid I was knowingly walking into a depression trap. But as long as I proceed with mindful awareness I don't think I need to be afraid of that. The feeling Will pass, and if I keep being mindful I can catch the beginnings of rumination that unpleasant feelings trigger. Even if I find myself in the midst of a heavy rumination, I can just be aware of it right then, call it what it is and move on. But this is where it get complicated for me. I over-analyse. A LOT. I can see myself analysing my every thought searching for signs of rumination now… I trust the process of the things I've learned in this course, I just don't trust myself and my judgment. But still, that "aha" moment feels like progress. I'm not stagnant. That's something.
The acronym STOP sums up what I mentioned here pretty well.
1.STOP what you're doing.
2.TAKE a few deep breaths, focusing on the sensations of your breathing. This helps reconnect you with the present moment and also creates a buffer between your thoughts and your actions.
3.OBSERVE what is going on. Ask yourself:
-What am I thinking?
-What am I feeling?
-What am I doing?
-What are my intentions?
4.PROCEED with your day with this new sense of mindful awareness (based on how you answered the questions above.
Even though I still get hung up on doing the Proceed bit of it "right", I think this acronym something I'll find helpful not just for stress triggers, but regular every day stuff. I feel like anyone can get something out of bringing more mindfulness to their day.


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