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Wise Online- Week 8
Congratulations for completing this eight week program. I hope your journey to improve your mental health and gain more personal resilience has been an inspiring one. We have learnt that eight weeks of mindfulness meditation results in neuroplasticity where the neural pathways are altered and reshaped. Hopefully this has resulted in wonderful changes for you such as reduced stress, anxiety, pain, muscle tension, ability to process difficulties, as well as improved sleep and relaxation.
Remember… If you have not practiced as much as you would have liked there is an option to go straight back to week one and start your journey again. In fact, this is highly recommended! If you have any questions along the way I will always be available to discuss. You can send me an email at email@example.com or call me on 0401 358 309.
Sally Cumming – Wise Program Facilitator.
Week 8 – Your Self-Care Plan
Please complete the self-care plan to support your practice moving forward. Reflect on what you wanted to get out of this course and make a commitment to focus on your mental health and wellbeing over the next 3-6 months.
Ongoing Self-Care & Nourishment
The task this week is to complete a Nourishing Vs Depleting exercise. This is an evaluation of the daily tasks you do that increase your energy, help you regulate and make you feel good Vs the ones that deplete your energy and make you feel tired and sluggish.
At the top of a page write the headings as you can see in the chart below. Split your page into three columns (Activity, Nourishing, Depleting)
- Choose a typical working day and jot down in the left hand column all of the daily activities you do from waking first thing in the morning right through to when you go to sleep at night. Include any work, exercise, meditation or commuting that you may do.
- Once you have written your daily list of activities, work your way down through each one and place an ‘N’ or a ‘D’ next to each one. The key here is as follows: N- The task gives you more energy, D- the task depletes you or drains your energy.
- Count the N’s and D’s and notice the balance. Also notice any D’s grouped together and see if you can replace any of the D’s with an N’s. For example: Instead of eating lunch at your desk, can you have lunch outside or eat mindfully? Can you do a brisk 5 minute mindful walk around the block at lunchtime? When you are driving/ commuting can you listen to a mindfulness recording or turn off the radio to enjoy the silence and drive mindfully with presence of mind? Do you really need to watch that 3rd TV show? Perhaps you could do some relaxation/ meditation then?
Activity or Time of Day
| e.g. wake up and look at phone
Stay in bed – breathing for 5 minutes hands on chest and belly.
Week 8 – Measure Your Mindfulness
Let’s measure your progress in the course. To check the success of your journey please complete the MAAS (Mindfulness Awareness Attention Scale). This is the survey you did in week one and is a measure of your current level of mindfulness. If you have been practicing mindfulness both formally and informally you should see an increase in the score on the survey.
- The mind needs an anchor in order to be still. The breath will always be carried with you so it is the most easily accessible tool.
- Bicep-curls for your brain. Continue with those mental reps!
- Avoid multi-tasking. This creates a busy active mind. Give your full attention and focus on one task, then move to the next.
- 5,4,3,2,1 (sensory activation)/ walking safari (using all your senses, combine your exercise with meditation)
- Express gratitude daily to alter your memory of the past experience and rewire the negativity bias. Each night recall three things that you are grateful for or three things that went well that day.
- Practice staying pleasant to the unpleasant. Breathe in and around the areas of constriction/tightness/ unpleasant in your body. Welcome the sensations onto your body and name the emotion/s that are present. Name it to tame it. Use the emotion wheel.
- Leaves on a stream/ sky/ lake/ train pulling into station.
- Take a Breathing Space (S.T.O.P)
- A.B.C.D (for anxiety)
- Vagus Nerve Activation (5, 5, 8). Breathe out with an open mouth (like you’re fogging up a mirror).
- Box breathing (in for 4, hold, out for 4, hold)
- The second arrow of suffering. Avoidance and blocking are not effective strategies. The middle way involves feeling into the sensations with non-judgment and compassion
- The crisis line (where is the crisis on the scale of 1-10?) Remember 10 is serious like death. Breathe. Come back to it- now where is it? Breathe again. Now where is it? Can you shift your mind so that it is not such a problem in your mind? Let that number get lower and lower?
- Body scan/ progressive muscle relaxation (feel into the body).
- Autogenic training.
- Sitting meditation/ open Awareness / sound meditation
- Traffic light meditation (every time you STOP at a red light remember to breathe!
- Self-compassion meditation. Write yourself a letter and talk to yourself with those words regularly.
- Communicate with your giraffe heart.
- Mindful listening from the middle of the chest/ heart. Use reflective listening.
- Dial down the empathy dial. Modulate and regulate your emotional response to other people’s distress. Perform all the de-compression techniques regularly.
- Mindful eating.
- All of the informal practices in this course.
FORMAL PRACTICE- Revisiting the Recordings
Between now and next week (and after this program) practice the below recordings as you feel necessary. Many participants go back to the start and commence practice again.
Calm, Focus, Clarity (8 min)
Morning Meditation (5 min)
Rewire the Negativity Bias (9 min)
Staying Pleasant to the Unpleasant (12 min)
The Body Scan (20 min)
Autogenic Training Tool (5 min)
Breathing Space Tool (3 min)
Anxiety & Panic SOS (4 min)
Regulating Practices (5 min)
Dialing Down the Empathy (10 min)