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Wise Online – Week 1

 

 

Program Format

You will notice each week there is an opportunity for practice.

Formal practice means listening to the specific recording for that week.  You may like to download other apps that support your practice. I highly recommend Insight timer, a free meditation app https://insighttimer.com.

Informal practice means performing a daily activity task that doesn’t take any extra time.

Week 1- Calming the Mind

When we are on ‘auto-pilot’ our attention is absorbed in our wandering mind and we are not ‘present’ in our own lives. Research shows we are on auto-pilot or ‘mindless’ 47% of the time.

Week 1 of the program involves calming the mind and allowing the mind to grow quieter and more spacious. We can learn to use the breath as an anchor to stabilise and ground ourselves in the present moment. With practice, we can learn to sustain ourselves amidst the pull of negative emotions and turbulence in your job and your life.

It is important to not be thinking about breathing during your mindfulness practice, but really feeling the breath. See if you can tune into the sensations associated with the cycle of breathing and notice what it feels like to be breathing. This will awaken the senses, in particular, the sense of touch. You may feel the air moving through the nostrils, at the rib cage or notice the feeling of the belly rising and falling with each breath in and out.

 

Mental Fitness- (Pre-Frontal Cortex)

Every time you notice your mind has wandered and you bring your attention back to the breath, you activate neurons in that part of the brain, strengthening your mental muscle (the pre-frontal cortex). This is like doing a mental rep, or a bicep-curl for your brain. The more we practice training our attention in this way, the stronger our pre-frontal cortex will get.

The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for executive function- it is like the Chief Commissioner of your brain. This area of your brain is crucial for your profession with Victoria Police as it is closely linked to executive function, attention, focus, decision making, remaining calm during a crisis, emotional regulation, inhibiting impulses, critical thinking and planning.

 

What is occurring when thinking as opposed to sensing?

Thinking Vs Sensing

Thinking Sensing
Is active Is more passive
Involves past and future Is in the present
Is complex and fast Is simpler and slower
Has high emotional charge Has low emotional charge
Is stimulating Is relaxing
Burns energy Conserves energy
Tightens the body Relaxes the muscles of the body

Good focus is the key

The mindfulness practices we are doing in this program all work on the same principle: if you consciously focus on the raw sensory signals and sensations in the present, you disengage from habitual thoughts and automatically begin to relax.

 

WEEK 1 PRACTICE TASKS

INFORMAL PRACTICE- Simple Awareness

The informal task this week is to bring mindful awareness to otherwise routine activities that you might usually do without paying much attention. For example, each day notice what happens when you pay attention to a daily task such as cleaning, washing the dishes, brushing your teeth, showering, driving around in the van, drinking food, eating snacks, making dinner…etc. Allow yourself to be curious and surprised by this task.

FORMAL PRACTICE- Attention Training

Between now and next week, there is an opportunity to practice the Week 1 recording. Don’t expect anything in particular from this exercise. See if you can give up all expectations about it and just let your experience be your experience.

Week 1: Calming the Mind  (8 min)