8 – WEEK MINDFULNESS COURSE
WEEK 1 – AWARENESS & AUTOMATIC PILOT
When we are on automatic pilot we rush through the day and become disconnected from ourselves, often unaware of the signs of tension and stress that may be building up in our bodies.
In this session, we will practise bringing awareness to sensations in our body through the Body Scan. We will also look at the 3 Step Breathing space.
WEEK 2 – OVERCOMING BARRIERS
Our habits have been formed over a lifetime and as we explored last week, we live our lives on automatic pilot. When you begin the course, you may find that challenges arise which you did not expect, throwing up blocks to the path of mindfulness which you so eagerly wish to follow.
In this session, we will explore some of those issues and learn how to use mindful breathing to help with difficulties in our daily lives whether they are emotional or physical.
WEEK 3 – GETTING OUT OF OUR HEADS AND INTO THE PRESENT
Mindfulness teaches us to use our breath both as an indicator of what is happening in our minds and bodies and as an anchor to bring us back to stability. Often, we can find our minds overwhelmed by thoughts.
In this session, we will continue to develop our use of the breath as a way of shifting away from our thoughts to focus on the present. We will also look at the power of mindful movement. We will also begin to consider our reactions to negative events in our lives.
WEEK 4 – RECOGNISING AND RESPONDING TO STRESS
The first part of the programme taught you some basic mindfulness skills such as how to bring your attention back to the present moment, how to value the present moment and how to use your breath as an anchor. We are now moving on to the second half where you will learn how to recognise and respond to your own stress triggers and learn how to work with difficulties, through accepting and allowing, if those difficulties can’t be changed.
WEEK 5 – MINDFUL ACCEPTANCE (Dealing with difficult feelings)
“If we cope with our unpleasant feelings by pushing them away or trying to control them, we can end up maintaining them.” (Segal) Through mindfulness we can learn how to approach these feelings with kindness and compassion. If we can stop striving to change our thoughts and feelings by stepping back we can begin to accept things as they are in the present moment and this, in turn, will bring us more peace. We can begin to see thoughts as thoughts, not facts.
In previous sessions, we have practised the sitting meditation. We will now introduce a difficulty into this meditation and learn how to approach it with kindness and acceptance. We will also look at a Rumi’s poem The Guest House.
WEEK 6 – THOUGHTS ARE NOT FACTS
During this session, we will be learning how to observe our thoughts as events and come to realise that our thoughts are just thoughts, not facts. This will give us a clearer perspective. We will explore this through the sitting meditation with expanding awareness.
WEEK 7 – HOW CAN I BEST TAKE CARE OF MYSELF?
Over the past weeks we have become more familiar with our bodily sensations, our thoughts and feelings and experienced how mindfulness meditations and a mindful attitude can influence these experiences.
In this session we will learn how we can take care the best care of ourselves by identifying the activities which nourish or deplete us and learning how to take mindful action steps to enable us to reduce these stresses and enable us to lead more balanced lives.
WEEK 8 – DEVELOPING AN ACTION PLAN
We have now reached the end of the mindfulness course, but it is the beginning of the rest of your mindful life. During this session we will reflect on your experiences of the course and explore how you can continue to practice mindfulness now that the course has finished by developing your action plan for responding to the stresses and difficulties in your life.