Week 5 marks the halfway point in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course. We begin the class with a mindfulness sitting practice. We move then to mindfulness movement with our standing yoga sequence, again being reminded we are always in choice and honoring our bodies is part of the mindfulness practice.
We talk about the difference in between responding and reacting. Allowing ourselves to pause before choosing a response to a situation we find ourselves in. Understanding the patterns we are changing will take practice because those patterns are just that, our habitual way of reacting, and that this process, the time it takes, is just the time it takes. It is neither good nor bad, it just is.
Often participants start to share how their emotional hangovers are becoming less frequent and taking less time to recover from. An emotional hangover is how you feel after an interaction you had could have gone better than it did; sometimes people feel down until they are able to recover.
We talk about our instinctual responses: fight, flight or freeze and how we can work these natural responses while also identifying these may no longer be serving us as we navigate in the modern world.
The power of mindfulness really does come forth for individuals in different ways. The naming of emotions when you are in the heat of the moment is one of the ways mindfulness can powerfully shift how you show up in the world for yourself, for your family, for the teams you lead. Let’s say you are angry. Taking a micro-pause to just labeling the emotion. “This is anger. Breathe. This is what anger feels like. I am experiencing anger.” And then noticing if you start feeding the story causing you to become angrier or if you are able to just breathe through the emotion. It is said that without the added story, without feeding the emotion, an emotion will pass in about 90 seconds.
We do a few more mindfulness practices.
We handout midway assessment forms to check in with everyone about how their course is going for them.
We talk about the fieldwork. Continuing to practice the sitting meditation, the body scan, yoga, alternating in between these practices. We talk about filling out the difficult communications calendar with the goal to notice our reactions and our responses.
This is it.