Mindfulness Monday Week 2

Mindfulness Monday

WEEK TWO

Welcome back to Mindfulness Monday! The second week of my mindfulness journey was quite interesting, and much more difficult. I’m not sure if it was the nature of this week’s focus or the increased time requirement. That’s not to say that the time requirement was that much; it was only about 15 minutes twice a day. I think my biggest challenge is just in finding the right time of day for me. As happens so often with things, I have good intentions of getting my two meditations in but before I know it, I’ve gotten busy and the day has passed without me doing it.

Before I get into the specifics of the meditation though, let’s take a look at what this week was all about. In case you missed last week’s post, I am going through the book Mindfulness, An Eight-Week Plan For Finding Peace In A Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. Week Two is all about getting back in touch with your body. Now if you live with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions you may be thinking, “trust me, I’m well aware of my body all the time” because your pain doesn’t let you forget it. The difference here is in understanding the complex feedback loop that is constantly going on between your body and your mind.

The body is extremely sensitive to the emotions that go through our minds and will react to them before we even have time to mentally process them sometimes, but the body also sends signals to the brain that can cause increased anxiety, worry, or other types of unhappiness. I had never thought of the body causing these issues with the mind, but once I read this, I realized I’ve experienced this. Sorry for the overshare here, but I have IBS and when my insides start twisting and turning giving me that feeling in the pit of my stomach that you get when you’re worried, I start to feel anxious. There’s nothing to be anxious about, but my insides have told my brain otherwise. The authors note that, “the judgments we make from moment to moment can be significantly affected by the state of our bodies at the time that we make them.”

Many of us get so “in our heads” that we start to tune out the messages our bodies send us, or act on the erroneous messages (such as my feelings of anxiety I mentioned above) without realizing that those messages are incorrect.

According to Williams and Penman,

“To cultivate mindfulness truly, we need to become fully integrated with our body once more.”

Enter the Body Scan meditation. The goal is to help reintegrate the mind and the body. It’s a simple meditation that focuses your attention on your entire body, one region at a time. As with the first week’s meditation, you can either use the instructions in the book, or the guided meditation via the link provided in the book.

We’re reminded again that if our mind wanders, just acknowledge the thought and “escort” your attention back to the region of your body you’re focusing on. For this particular one, I will definitely need more practice. I just couldn’t keep my mind focused for that long. Now that I’ve done it with the guided meditation I’m going to try it on my own – in the middle of the meditation, the gentleman guiding you through starts talking about what to do if you get distracted and that was an even bigger distraction for me.

I know I really need this because of how hard it was. Not being able to focus on each region showed me just how out of touch with my body I really am. I did feel I gained some immediate benefit from it though. Even with having to constantly refocus I felt more relaxed after each meditation, probably because they involved some deeper breathing which always seems to help me relax a little.

The habit releaser for this week was going for a walk, being as mindful as possible. It’s amazing what a difference just a walk can make if you do it with an openness to all your senses.

The authors are quite up-front about this process taking time. Not only does it not come naturally to many people (including yours truly) but the brain also needs time to rewire itself, making and strengthening new connections. The return on investment could be huge though. If we can get to the point where we realize what is going on with our minds and bodies at any given time, and get them working together as one, it could help us move from the frantic “doing” mode to the more peaceful “being” mode.

Have you tried anything similar to the Body Scan meditation? How did it work for you?

Blessings,

~Terri

Related Posts:

Untying the Knots – Learning To Relax With Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Monday Week 1

21 comments

  1. I realized that I needed to get the term “meditation” out of my head. I think we have all these preconceived notions about meditation and how it should be done and so on. Once I started saying I’m going to just be with my breathe, it really helped. The other night I noticed my breathe was slowing way down but I was clearly still breathing and I felt this overwhelming awakening within me-it was amazing. I have really realized a lot about myself when I shut out “the crazy” inside my head. This has been a wonderful experience for me as far! Thank you for sharing your experience.
    P.S.
    I am also using the Mindfulness App from the Google Play Store. It has a 30 day free trial and it has meditations from the authors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! That’s a great point of getting the term “meditation” out of your head and just going with the flow, or in this case, the breath. :o) I’ll have to check out the Mindfulness App – thanks for the tip. I’m glad you’re enjoying your experience so far. I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your journey!

      Like

  2. I find this so interesting Terri. I have spent years (and hooked up to a computer, I cannot remember the name of that therapy right now for the life of me!) to learn to calm my mind and NOT feel my body. Go into a zone… dismiss the pain. I spend most of my days trying to NOT feel my body, but your approach is totally different! And I’m really curious to hear about your pain levels, anxiety levels, everything! I’m not sure I want to be in touch with my body again but on the other hand, maybe I should try again. It’s been 20 years. Please keep updating!~Kim

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kim! When I first found out what this chapter was about, I was kind of wary about the whole thing too because I was afraid that noticing what my body was doing might cause my pain levels to increase. That hasn’t been the case so far, but I’ll keep you posted as to how I do with it. Maybe that’s part of why this week has been so hard for me – maybe subconsciously I was resistant to it. As far as I understand, MBCT was developed to treat depression, not pain, but my thinking was that if I could learn to relax a little, it might help me with my pain levels. Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes for me, but I sure don’t want to encourage you to undo anything your medical team has done for you this far. You’ve been dealing with this for much longer than I have.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It sounds like a very healing week Terri. Scanning the body was something I used to do when working as a therapist. I still do it on myself to check my chakras but perhaps I need to do it more often…
    Looking forward to your next instalment. 🌼

    Like

    1. Thanks Brigid. It was interesting to realize that although I feel my body all the time in the form of pain, I was not really in touch with it. Scanning by region helped me to realize what was going on in each section. I’m definitely going to continue doing this even though I’m moving on to the next one. According to the authors they all build on each other anyway. Thanks for helping me stick with this!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not a practitioner, but I have tried it. I had an annoying back pain. It was done long distance, but surprisingly, it worked! The reason I asked was I can see that u seem to be into meditation. I was asked to meditate while being healed through reiki.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s