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1 Summary of Session 4: Staying Present Adapted from Segal Williams and Teasdale (2007). Copyright by the Guilford Press. Difficult things are part and parcel of life itself. It is how we handle those things that make the difference between whether they control our lives or we can relate to them more lightly. Becoming more aware of the thoughts, feelings, and body sensations evoked by events gives us the possibility of freeing ourselves from habitual, automatic ways of reacting, so that we can mindfully respond in more skillful ways. In general, we react to experience in one of three ways: 1. With spacing out, or boredom, so that we switch out from the present moment and go off somewhere else in our heads. 2. With wanting to hold on to things not allowing ourselves to let go of experiences that we are having right now, or wishing we were having experiences that we are not having right now. 3. With wanting it to go away, being angry wanting to get rid of experiences that we are having now, or avoiding future unwanted experiences. As we will discuss further in the group, each of these ways of reacting can cause problems, particularly the tendency to react to unpleasant feelings with aversion. For now, the main issue is to become more aware of our experience, so that we have more possibilities around how we respond to life events. Regularly practising meditation gives us many opportunities to notice when we have drifted away from awareness of the moment, to note with a friendly awareness whatever it was that took our attention away, and to gently and firmly bring our attention back to our focus. At other times, deliberately using the breathing space whenever we notice unpleasant emotions or a sense of tightening or holding in the body, provides an opportunity to begin to respond rather than react. STAYING PRESENT Remember to use your body as a means to awareness. It can be as simple as staying mindful of your posture. You are probably sitting as you read this. What are the sensations in your body at this moment? When you finish reading and stand, feel the movements of standing, or of walking to the next activity. Be in your body as you move, as you reach for something, as you turn. It is as simple as that. Sometimes, however, it is not so easy. Patiently practise feeling what is there and the body is always there until it becomes second nature to know even the smallest movements you make. If you are reaching for something, simply notice the reaching. You are moving. Can you train yourself to be there, to feel it? Practise again and again, bringing your attention back to your body. This basic effort, which, paradoxically, is a relaxing back into the moment, gives us the key to expanding our awareness from times of formal meditation to living mindfully in the world. Do not underestimate the power that comes to you from feeling the simple movements of your body throughout the day. HOME PRACTICE FOR WEEK FOLLOWING SESSION 4 1. Practise the Sitting Meditation (Breath, Body, Sounds and Thoughts-CD 2) for 5 out of the next 6 days and record your reactions (OR: Alternate Sitting Meditation with Movement indicate which: M or AM below).

2 2. 3-Minute Breathing Space Regular: Practise three times a day, at the times that you have decided in advance. Record below by circling each Minute Breathing Space Coping/Responsive: Practise whenever you notice unpleasant feelings. Record at least one time you do it by circling the CR. 4. Fill out the Automatic Thought Record for at least one hot thought this week. 5. Optional: You might like to check out the book The Mindful Way through Depression (Williams, Teasdale and Segal). If you are unable to complete the Halfway Point Check In, please complete it at home and hand it in at the start of next week s session.

3 HOME PRACTICE RECORD FORM SESSION 4 Record each time you practice. Make a note of anything that comes up, for discussing next week. Day/date Practise Comments SM / AM* SM / AM SM / AM SM / AM SM / AM SM / AM *Practices to record: Sitting Meditation / Alternate Sitting Meditation (SM/AM), 3-Minute Breathing Space (3), Responsive/Coping Breathing Space ().

4 Automatic Anxious Thoughts Listed below are a variety of thoughts that pop into people s heads. Please read each thought and circle the three that are most common for you. I worry about my behaviour. I think I m a failure. When I look at my future, I think more about the negative things that could happen to me than the positive things. If I have physical symptoms I tend to think of the worst possible outcome. I have thoughts of becoming seriously ill. I worry about having or getting cancer or a heart attack. I worry about saying or doing the wrong things when I am with people I do not know. I worry that my ability does not correspond to others. I worry that I cannot control my thoughts as well as I would like. I worry that people do not like me. I take disappointments so hard that I can not get them out of my head. I am easily embarrassed. When I suffer from minor illnesses, such as a rash, I think that it is more serious than it actually is. Unpleasant thoughts enter my head against my will. I worry about my failures and my weaknesses. I worry about not being able to handle problems in life as well as others seem to do. I worry about death. I worry about making a fool of myself. I think I miss things in life because I worry so much. I have repetitive thoughts such as counting or repeating phrases. I worry about my health.

5 Automatic Depressive Thoughts Listed below are a variety of thoughts that pop into people s heads. Please read each thought and indicate the three that are most common for you. I feel like I'm up against the world. I can't get things together. I'm no good. I hate myself. Why can't I ever succeed? I'm worthless. No one understands me. I wish I could just disappear. I've let people down. What's the matter with me? I don't think I can go on. I'm a loser. I wish I were a better person. My life is a mess. I'm so weak. I'm a failure. My life's not going the way I want it to. I'm so disappointed in myself. Nothing feels good anymore. I can't stand this anymore. I'll never make it. I feel so helpless. Something has to change. There must be something wrong with me. I can't get started. My future is bleak. What's wrong with me? It's just not worth it. I wish I were somewhere else. I can't finish anything.

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8 The Centre for Mindfulness Studies ATR Situation Moods Body Sensations Automatic Thoughts Moods and emotions Are there any bodily usually come in one sensations associated word (e.g. mad, sad, with your thoughts or glad, scared, happy) emotions? If yes, where Elicit as many as in the body did you feel possible. the sensations? Do the first 3 columns of the Automatic Thought Record when you notice negative emotions. The more frequently you do these the more you will discover about your core beliefs and thoughts that drive behaviour. Be as specific as possible when describing a situation. Describe it in one sentence. Automatic thoughts are those that pop into your head unbidden. They usually come in the form of sentences although may appear as images. You want the immediate emotionally charged thought. What is the hot thought; the one that has the most affective charge and is tied to the most intense emotion? Who were you with? Where were you? What were you doing? When was it? Describe each mood in one word. Rate Intensity of mood (0-100%) Use the following questions if helpful: What was going through my mind just before I started to feel this way? What does this say about me if the thought is true? What am I afraid might happen? What does this mean about how the other person(s) feel(s)/think(s) about me? What images or memories do I have in this situation?

9 The Three Minute Breathing Space Responsive/Coping The Responsive/Coping Space is a powerful practice that assists us in building tolerance for negative affect. It is a way of developing a different relationship to difficult emotions, enabling us to decentre or defuse so that we have the possibility of a new response that may be more skillful than our habitual ways of reacting. Insight may arise around whether the problem needs addressing and if so, how or whether it is enough to be with the experience as it is. We also begin to learn that difficult emotions are manageable and need not be avoided. So, taking a very definite posture, relaxed and dignified. The back is erect, but not stiff, letting the body express a sense of being present and awake. Now, closing your eyes, and turning your attention to the sensations of breathing for a moment or so... and then expanding to a sense of the body as a whole. So now focusing on some troubling thought or situation, some worry or intense feeling. Remembering to bring up the 10lb weight; not the 100lb weight. Then simply noticing what is arising in this moment. Becoming conscious of what is going through your mind; what thoughts are around? As best you can, just noting and acknowledging them as mental events so we note them, and then we note the emotions that are around at the moment in particular, turning toward any sense of discomfort or unpleasant feelings. So, rather than try to push them away or shut them out, just notice them, naming them. Then noticing the sensations arising in the body, focusing your awareness on the part of the body where the sensations are strongest, and if the sensations are particularly challenging perhaps using the breath as a vehicle to assist in directing and maintaining your awareness to that part of the body, breathing into that part of the body on the in breath, expanding and softening on the out breath. If strong sensations are present, becoming aware of the physical resisting, holding, pushing away, tensing or bracing. Whatever is arising in awareness perhaps saying to yourself It s okay; let me feel this. It s ok; it s already here. staying with the awareness of any thoughts, feelings or body sensations and your relationship to them - perhaps breathing into them, accepting, letting them be On the out breath continue in the opening and softening to these events. Perhaps on the out breath saying Ah, that s how it is right now. Staying with these thoughts, feelings or sensations and your relationship to them as long as they attract your attention; Holding them all in this more open, spacious awareness, bring a gentle curiosity to your experience in this moment And when you are ready, expanding your awareness to the entire body and then bringing this more spacious attention into your next moments and allowing your eyes to open.

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11 Halfway Point Check-In How is your practice/program going? What are the challenges you encounter? What is working well? What s getting in the way? Anything else you want the facilitators to know? 1

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