Meirav's Story: Personal Struggles
Meirav went to Japan, after her junior year as a fine arts major. She was having a wonderful-even "magical"-time until a fall while visiting a waterfall shattered her leg. In the hospital, deeply depressed, the words of her roommate and the act of helping a little girl enabled her to move beyond her depression. While the memory of falling still haunts her, she was able to appreciate the growth and the friendships she had developed in Japan.
Also termed thought distancing, cognitive defusion focuses on recognizing thoughts and emotions as internal constructs that should be acknowledged, but should not be the basis for behavior.
Cognitive Defusion fosters awareness, regulation, and flexibility. It encourages the acceptance of thoughts as mental activity and challenging the errors present in our ways of thought which impact our emotions and behaviors.
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Sit in a comfortable position and either close your eyes or rest them gently on a fixed spot in the room. Bring your awareness to your breathing and use your breath as an anchor of focus.
Bring your attention to your thoughts; what are you thinking about now, feeling? Visualize your thoughts in words and when you read them, remind yourself; "I'm having the thought that..." "I notice the feeling of..."
Continue to notice, accept and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings; but remind yourself that they are not facts and they are not causal events.
Imagine your thoughts as leaves floating down a stream, or clouds passing the sky.They are there, but they do have to change the setting around them; they also change from moment to moment.
Simply because you're feeling or thinking about something stressful, does not dictate your behaviors; just as one cloud does not change the whole sky; and one leaf does not change the stream's direction
Re-attune your focus to your deep breathing again. When these thoughts become less powerful ask yourself if they are helpful? Accurate? Are you filtering out another viewpoint? Predicting the future? Worrying about the worst case scenario?
To be mindful is to be fully engaged in the present moment. It involves intention, acceptance, non-judgment and gentle curiosity.
Mindful Attention fosters self-awareness, regulation and flexibility. Mindfulness means being fully present in the moment, with a curious, non-judgmental stance. There are many ways to practice mindfulness, this video provides a brief guide..
Get into a comfortable but alert position, begin to focus on your body and notice your breathing. Notice how effortlessly your lungs expand and empty themselves of air.
Now, bring your attention to your senses, particularly your sight and describe five things you can see around you. Try to avoid labeling or judging these things, but simply describe them in shapes, colors and distance.
Now notice four things you can hear, again not labeling or judging, or but describing. Continue to describe three things you can touch or feel; perhaps its your body in a chair, your hair or temperature of the room. Now think of two things you can smell, and finally one thing you can taste.
Reflection focuses on taking the big picture into account. To be reflective is to have a balanced perspective of the past and present, as well as thinking about opportunities for future change.
Reflection fosters optimism, flexibility and connectedness. Reflection allows for balanced thinking and the possibility to problem solve.
Holding in mind the thoughts and feelings that you may be struggling with; reflect upon both the positive and negative aspects of an event as well as the impact of your internal experiences of this event to help you gain perspective. What can learn from this experience?
- What is in my control and what is not?
- Is it helpful for me to be thinking the thoughts I am thinking?
- Is there any other way to see this situation?
- What would I say to friend in the same position?
What am I wanting to change? What are all my possible options? Is this a current problem, or a potential problem?
Can I implement any of these strategies and evaluate their effectiveness?