Week 3: Mindfulness, Skills for Life Training

This is the third week of our mindfulness training and as we draw closer to the end of the course, we learned to take more notice about our emotional and physical experiences of events.

Rebecca’s experience:

I arrived this time with 5 minutes to spare, just enough time to grab a cup of tea before the session began. 

We went straight into a breathing exercise where we sat on our chairs, with our backs straight and feet flat on the floor with my shoes off.

We did a Mindful Movement stretching exercise next which I enjoyed the most. This exercise helps me recognise any tension in my body and encourages me to relax my muscles. In time with our breathing, we raised our arms on the inhale and slowly moved them back down by our sides on the exhale. 

The next practice focussed on identifying whether our bodies had any pains, aches and/or tension anywhere. It was difficult not to get distracted but when I focussed, I could tell where an area of my body was more fragile; it was interesting how I suddenly realised how tight my shoulders were after simply focussing on my body. 

Some of the group contributed regarding their pleasant and unpleasant events diary that we were instructed to complete at home; we had to consider what we felt emotionally and physically at the time of the events.

One of my pleasant experiences was when I visited my mum’s house and my dog gave me the warmest of welcomes, she was all excited to see me. It immediately brought lightness across my face and I felt happy and warm inside. 

As people talked about their events, the mood they felt from describing their event was contagious, particularly when someone mentioned their positive experience and how it made them feel happy; subconsciously this made me smile along with them mirroring their facial expression. 

It is interesting how thinking about positive and negative events encouraged me to replicate how that person felt at the time. Perhaps I’ll be more mindful of positive events in future so I share these joyful experiences with people and subsequently spread the happiness.

Wing’s experience

Having arrived last the previous week, I left myself plenty of time and redeemed myself by being one of the early ones. I felt better not having to rush and it was good to not have to spend time trying to get that out of my system at the beginning of the session. 

After an exercise, we went through the Pleasant/Unpleasant events diary briefly. I shared a Pleasant event which was bumping into a child dressed as a pumpkin on Halloween as I went for a run after work. She made me smile instantly, even just thinking about it again made me feel warm inside and I was told my eyes lit up from talking about it.

I found the exercise very useful as it made me consider what I physically go through when I get stressed. I know I get annoyed easily and sometimes I can get quite angry about things. 

It had been a tough week and many things at work hadn’t gone as planned. The exercise heightened my awareness of how tight my stomach becomes when I’m stressed. I need to watch what triggers my stress and work on it because my body automatically reacts with my stomach feeling horrible. On the bad days breathing exercises helped as well as running mindfully.

I recommend doing the Pleasant/Unpleasant event diary because for me it really highlighted how little I notice emotions affect me physically. Our bodies speak to us when nice/bad things happen and it's important to listen.

If you would like to have a go yourself, here are examples of the Unpleasant/Pleasant events diary you can try.

Unpleasant events diary example worksheet.

Pleasant events diary example worksheet.

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