Thinking becomes a problem when it takes over—when we are no longer just thinking, but lost in thought.
By tuning in to physical sensations, we can ‘anchor’ ourselves in the present moment
Week 2 - Living in our Heads
This week we....
Practiced the Body scan
Reflected on last week's home practice
Engaged in the Thoughts and Feelings exercise
Introduced the Experiences Calendar
Practiced 'Sitting with the Breath'
Considered Week 2's Home Practice
The aim of this course is to become more aware, more often, so that we can respond to situations with choice rather than react automatically. We do that by practicing becoming more aware of where our attention is, and deliberately changing the focus of attention, over and over again.
A powerful influence taking us away from being “fully present” in each moment is our automatic tendency to judge our experience as being not quite right in some way—that it is not what should be happening, not good enough, or not what we expected or wanted. These judgments can lead to sequences of thoughts about blame, what needs to be changed, or how things could or should be different. Often these thoughts will take us, quite automatically, down some fairly well-worn paths in our minds. In this way, we may lose awareness of the moment and also the freedom to choose what, if any, action needs to be taken.
We can regain our freedom if, as a first step, we simply acknowledge the actuality of our situation, without immediately being hooked into automatic tendencies to judge, fix, or want things to be other than they are. The body scan exercise provides an opportunity to practice simply bringing an interested and friendly awareness to the way things are in each moment, without having to do anything to change things. There is no goal to be achieved other than to bring awareness to bear as the instructions suggest—specifically, trying to achieve some special state of relaxation is not a goal of the exercise.
Adapted from Segal, Williams, and Teasdale (2013)
Home Practice Invitation
Before starting this week's home practice, please read through the session notes given to you at the end of the session, or by clicking on the notepad icon below. These notes will provide you with some background information, and some hints and tips to support your home practice. There is also a record sheet that you can print off to keep notes of
your experiences of the practices.
This week's home practice invitation:
Formal Practice: Sitting with the Breath Practice
Practice for 10 minutes every day this week - click on the buttons below to access a recording of the meditation (Dark blue a male voice, pale blue a female voice) If you have time, continue with the Body Scan Practice too. Click on the buttons below to access recordings of the meditation. This meditation provides an opportunity to practise bringing an interested and friendly awareness to the way things are in each moment, without needing to change what we find. It also supports the gentle strengthening of our attentional muscle as we focus on each part of the body in turn.
Informal Practice: Begin to notice pleasant experiences
Pause and bring awareness to at least one pleasant experience each day. Use this as an opportunity to become really aware of the sensations, feelings, thoughts and impulses that arise, at the time. You will also be invited to continue this practice throughout the rest of the course.
What are the barriers to noticing pleasant experiences? Here are just a few suggestions that previous course participants have made...
Being too busy
Making comparisons – with our past experiences – of how the experience could be even better – and with what others are doing and achieving
We don’t think we are deserving – look at all the suffering in the world - or we haven’t done enough today to warrant time off
Simply lost in thought
Perception of happiness – it will only happen when certain ‘criteria’ are met e.g. needing to have the perfect job, perfect partner, income level, the right house, good holidays, no stress ….
Feeling low, anxious or stressed – poor mental wellbeing can impact our ability to notice what is pleasant and to appreciate the pleasant aspects of any given moment.
New Habits in Daily Life:
Continue with the Five Finger Gratitude Practice
To find out more about why we begin with these practices, follow this link.