Our quest to live healthier/happier/sane lives continues …

Up now? We just started a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) class. Info straight from the course site:

Mindfulness is a purposeful, non-anxious, reflective presence that can be applied to any aspect of [medical] practice -Ronald M. Epstein, MD (1999)

Mindfulness is a way of learning to consciously and systematically work with stress, pain, illness, and the challenges and demands of everyday life by not turning away from them but learning to be resilient with and through them.

Mindfulness is not something that one gets or acquires. It is already within the human experience – a deep internal resource available that is patiently waiting to be observed and used in the service of learning, growing, and healing.

Reasons people participate in MBSR:

Stress: job, family or financial
Chronic pain
Illness
Anxiety and panic
Depression
GI distress
Sleep disturbances
Fatigue
High blood pressure
Headaches
Compassion Fatigue

Present Moment Practice-

Physiological Benefits
Lower blood pressure and pulse rate
Increased brain activation in regions associated with positive thoughts and mood
Cognitive benefits
Increased ability to concentrate
Increase in ability to be non-judgmental
Increased self-awareness
Increase in positive thoughts
Emotional benefits
Increased ability to regulate emotions
Increased capacity for empathy
Increased capacity for compassion

Mindfulness stuff was taught to me during graduate school, so this isn’t entirely new. What IS new? My ability to calm the F down and tame my anxiety enough to appreciate it.

I was pretty resistant to taking the class because it requires a lot of time and work, but we went to the orientation and then subsequently went to the first class last week … and now I’m committed.

The course schedule consists of eight weekly classes at 2 to 2.5 hours each and one daylong class on a Saturday or Sunday.

The 4 basic MBSR practices are:

The Body Scan- mindful attention while lying down
Mindful Stretching- mindful attention while stretching or doing yoga
Mindful Sitting Meditation- mindful attention while sitting still
Mindful Walking- mindful attention in daily life and activities

The class is highly participatory and includes:

Guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practice
Gentle stretching and mindful yoga
Didactic instruction on stress response and stress hardiness models and research
Inquiry exercises to enhance personal awareness in everyday life
Individually tailored instruction
Group dialogue
Poetry and Stories
Pre and post assessment
Daily home assignments- at least 45 minutes a day
4 audio CD’s and a workbook

I don’t like poetry. I really don’t like meditating. Have (almost) zero appreciation for yoga. The class is modeled directly on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s program, though, and the research favors it, in general – so I’m doing it.

Hopefully I will gain a new appreciation and have some sort of transformation.

I’d settle for not rolling my eyes and huffing at the thought of sleeping on the floor meditating for 45 minutes a day.

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I’ve decided to do a couple of things in conjunction with the class that aren’t required – and haven’t been discussed. I just want to do them.

1: TV is (mostly) out for me for the next 8 weeks – except the news and an occasional planned thing (cutting it out completely is totally unrealistic). We aren’t fanatic about it (don’t have a tv in our bedroom, etc.) – but we mindlessly check out too much at home. I realized the other day that one of the things I love so much about our long walks is the lack of distraction – the time to just talk/be together. There’s really no reason we need to be so occupied at home by our DVR and the long list of BS we’re watching at any given time.

2: I hate running. But I want to do it. Jon and his child #4 are running a few upcoming 5ks and I eventually want to be able to join them. It’s something I want to participate in – a seemingly fun activity – so I’m going to have to train my brain to enjoy it. It’s possible. I used to love Taco Bell and hate eggplant. Now? I haven’t eaten at Taco Bell in years and love eggplant. Just takes time, diligence and willingness. And for me? Lots of bitching. I’ll eventually succeed. Or not. Either way – I want to try (again). I’m not going to deal with C25K this time around. I’m just going to schedule 30 minutes here and there for practice for the duration of the 8 week class. I’ll jog when I can and walk when I can’t until I can jog the whole time. No pressure.

I started today.

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3: I’ve been thinking about the calorie tracking thing and have decided to continue for now. It feels ok. One change? No more watching tv/reading/working at my desk while eating. We’re supposed to have one “mindful meal” this week, but I’m planning to try to change all of my meals. We’ll see where it goes and how I feel about tracking after a few weeks.
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We’ve had a pretty lazy weekend. Neither of us felt like doing much – so we didn’t.

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Other than the 30 minutes of jog/walking I did today, we just took a long walk on the greenway yesterday between eating lunch and grocery shopping.

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I skipped the usual trip gym yesterday morning because I didn’t feel like putting forth effort for much more than getting out of bed.

We did our weekly planning stuff – and Jon grilled some meat for breakfasts/lunches – but that’s about it.

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Today’s lunch:

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It’s been nice.

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