Online MBCT/MBSR Lesson 3
Home Practice Review

Barriers to Practice

At this point of the program, often people experience a bit of a letdown. At first the meditations are new and it can be easier to motivate yourself to do them because of the novelty, but by now it can be a little more difficult to bring yourself to do the meditations. And if that's the case, don’t let yourself become too discouraged as this is fairly common, but also remember that the more effort you put into doing the meditations, the more you’ll get out of this program.

Even if you don’t do the meditations for the full 30-45 minutes, devote at least 10 minutes a day to meditating, as consistent practice is much more important than the duration. If you make it a priority and start doing the meditations on a regular basis, and especially if you do them at the same time every day, it becomes a habit and part of your daily routine.

Everyday Mindfulness

Have you been using Bells of Mindfulness?

Bells of mindfulness are simple cues from our everyday lives we use to help remind ourselves to take a few moments out of our days and follow our breathing to reconnect with the present. Since anything we do, we can do mindfully, there's no reason we can't be mindful throughout the day. But life gets messy and there will always be external things that distract us, and internal experiences like thoughts, emotions and body sensations that disrupt our best laid plans to stay mindful.

Once we get knocked off the mindful path and start going through our days distracted and on automatic pilot—or even worse, feeling overwhelmed by stress or emotions with our minds racing—the longer we stay in this mindless state the more difficult it is to disengage. Using bells of mindfulness helps prevent us from falling out of mindfulness for hours at a time. And by spending less time in mindless states, when we attempt to resume being mindful, we're much more likely to be successful than if we have to try to slow down a mind that's been distracted and racing all day long.

What have you noticed about your experiences with the everyday activities you've been doing?

Do they seem any more enjoyable or less unpleasant when you slow a bit and pay attention to the various aspects of your moment-to-moment experience while doing them?

The mindfulness we experience while doing something like the dishes is really no different than the mindfulness we experience while meditating. Mindfulness simply means paying attention to our moment-to-moment experience in the present, and we can do this while doing the dishes or any other routine activity, and reap similar benefits from being mindful while doing the dishes as we do from a mindfulness meditation

Spending a few moments throughout the day being mindful and paying attention in the present moment helps prevent the build-up of stress and makes us more relaxed. And the more we practice being mindful during routine activities throughout the day, the more natural being mindful becomes, and we notice ourselves being mindful more often without evening having to think about it or make any special effort.

Pleasant Experiences Calendar

How did you find doing the pleasant experiences calendar. Typically we spend a lot of time focusing on the unpleasant things in our lives, and learning to pay more attention to our pleasant experiences helps us be aware of and notice them more. And this can make us happier and feel better about ourselves and our lives, as we shift some of our attention away from the things we don't find pleasant towards the things we're actually enjoying and that can be easy to overlook.

Was your experience during these pleasant events any different than usual? Did deliberately paying attention to your body sensations, feelings and thoughts change how you experienced them in any way?