Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Awareness Exercises

Awareness Exercises

1. Skills of Mindfulness
In a nutshell, mindfulness is about being completely in touch with the present moment and being open to experiences as they come. Mindfulness is made up of a number of skills, all of which require practice. These skills include awareness, nonjudgmental/nonevaluative awareness, being in the present moment, and beginner's mind. You can learn more about these skills in this article, as well as ways of strengthening these skills.


·    Awareness
One skill of mindfulness is learning how to focus your attention on one thing at a time. This includes being aware of and able to recognize all the things that are going on around you (for example, sights and sounds), as well as all the things that are going on inside you (for example, thoughts and feelings).
·    Nonjudgmental/Nonevaluative Observation
This skill is focused on looking at your experiences in a nonjudgmental way. That is, simply looking at things in an objective way as opposed to labeling them as either "good" or "bad." An important part of this skill is self-compassion.
·    Being in the Present Moment
Part of mindfulness is being in touch with the present moment as opposed to being caught up in thoughts about the past (also called rumination) or the future (or worry). An aspect of this skill is being an active participant in experiences instead of just "going through the motions" or "being stuck on auto-pilot."



2. Mindful Awareness of Your Breathing
Focusing on each and every breath is an excellent way of beginning to increase your awareness of the present moment. This basic mindfulness exercise takes you through a number of steps that will help you learn how to be more mindful of your breathing.

3. Being Mindful of Sounds
Practicing mindfulness of sounds can be an excellent exercise for getting in touch with your present moment external environment, as well as practicing and improving the mindfulness skill of non-judgmental observation. This article takes you through a simple exercise designed to increase your non-evaluative awareness of sounds in your present moment environment.

10 minutes:


4. Sitting Meditation
Sitting meditation is an excellent way of practicing mindfulness, as well as learning how to bring acceptance to your thoughts and feelings.  

5. Eating Mindfully
Life can become very busy and stressful, and as a result, we often rush through our day without taking time to really notice and enjoy present moment experiences. One way of getting in touch with the present moment is through mindful eating. We often eat our meals quickly without even paying attention to the rich experience of eating.  

6. Beginner's Mind
Beginner's mind, a skill of mindfulness, focuses on being open to new possibilities. It also refers to observing or looking at things as they truly are, as opposed to what we think they are or evaluate them to be.  



7. Mindfulness of Thoughts
Mindfulness can be a wonderful skill to practice when it comes to coping with your PTSD symptoms; however, it can be difficult to be mindful of thoughts, especially those that usually accompany a PTSD diagnosis. People with PTSD may struggle with unpleasant thoughts and memories of their traumatic event. These thoughts can take control over a person's life. Mindfulness can be used to take a step back from your thoughts and reduce their power to impact your life. This simple exercise will help you learn how to be mindful of your thoughts.

·    Try to view your thoughts as simply thoughts -- only objects in or events of your mind. It may be useful to imagine your thoughts as simply clouds passing through the sky or leaves passing down a stream. Notice them enter your consciousness, develop, and then float away. There is no need to seek out, hold onto, or follow your thoughts. Just let them arise and disappear on their own.

1:45 minutes


8. Mindfulness of Emotions
Practicing mindfulness of emotions may be quite beneficial if you struggle with intense and unpleasant emotions. An exercise for promoting mindfulness of emotions is presented here.
·    Now, pay attention to any sensations in your body that arise. Notice the thoughts running through your mind. Notice also how you feel. What emotions are present as a result of imagining this situation? Are you experiencing one emotion or multiple emotions?
·    Once you have identified an emotion or multiple emotions, notice any urges to avoid or push away those emotions and respond by bring a sense of curiosity and compassion to that experience.
·    Focus your attention completely on the emotional experience. Notice what the emotions feel like in your body. Do you have muscle tension? Is your heart racing? Do you feel an urge to cry? Bring all of your awareness to those experiences without judging or changing the experience. If you notice that you are trying to change or judge your emotions, notice that and refocus your attention on simply observing your emotions. Also notice whether your emotions stay constant or change throughout the exercise.

6:00 minutes

9. Mindfulness of Everyday Activities
Mindfulness can be a very useful skill to learn for managing PTSD symptoms and anxiety in general. This article presents some ways that you can bring mindfulness to your everyday activities.
·    Going for a walk
·  Exercising
·  Cooking
·  Listening to the radio
·  Watching the television
·  Drinking a cup of coffee
·  Waiting in line at the grocery store


10. Mindfulness of Physical Sensations
Practicing mindfulness of physical sensations can be an excellent exercise for getting in touch with your present moment experience, as well as practicing the mindfulness skill of non-judgmental observation as it applies to your own body.
·    Allow your awareness to expand to your body as a whole, simply allowing your awareness to expand to any physical sensations in your body. Notice if you are experiencing any tension or pain in your muscles. Notice if you are experiencing any hunger. Bring awareness even to what the air feels like against your skin.
·    If you notice that you are judging or labeling any bodily sensations, bring your awareness back to the sensation as it is instead of how our mind tells us it is.
·    There is no need to go hunting for sensations of to hold onto sensations, simply just notice any sensation as it arises.
·     



PRACTICE

Scenario One
Going to work, you are caught by your supervisor coming in 30 minutes late. How will you feel? What DBT skills can you use to help yourself deal with your emotions and cope with the confrontation?

Scenario Two
You are in a family situation, everyone is saying that you should go get a job and that you did not do that because you are lazy. How will you feel? What DBT skills can you use to help yourself deal with your emotions and cope with the confrontation?

Scenario Three
You re in an excellent mood and you like to go shopping, your friends refuse to go shopping with you. How will you feel? What DBT skills can you use to help yourself deal with your emotions and cope with the confrontation?

Scenario Four
You are in the doctor's office, and she refuses to prescribe the sleeping pills because she thinks that you might overdose on it? How will you feel? What DBT skills can you use to help yourself deal with your emotions and cope with the confrontation?


Note: Exercises 1 and 3-8 are adapted from the Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual of Meditation (pp. 84-87) 1976, Boston, Beacon Press, Copyright 1976 by Thich Nhat Hanh, Adapted by permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment