Week 2 of the 30-Day Mindfulness Challenge started Wednesday, January 19. During the (optional) weekly Challenge Zoom session we engaged in a focused attention meditation practice. This post includes a brief summary of the event and resources to sustain your personal practice.
Focused attention meditation is a practice for strengthening focused attention in the present moment. The practice invites participants to actively engage in present moment focus with the support of these anchors of attention:
- internal anchors – such as places where our body comes in contact with another surface
- external anchors – such as sight, sound, and smell
As we engage in this practice, we notice that our mind wanders…replaying events (e.g. the strong words you spoke in this morning’s team meeting, worrying about the safety of the children you support, or something that happened in your personal life). This is what minds do; it’s part of being human. The good news is that EVERYONE has the innate capacity to practice – gently, and without judgement – noticing that our mind is wandering. That in itself is a mindful moment! And with this awareness, we can then choose to direct our attention back to our chosen support anchor – feet, seat, hands, sound, etc.
The more we engage in this type of practice, the stronger our mindfulness muscle becomes. In turn, this builds our capacity as RC treaters to naturally apply our focused attention in daily work: "Oh, I notice that my mind is wandering and now I choose to redirect my attention to the individual I’m supporting, or the colleague with whom I’m collaborating."
Consider the following steps as a way to sustain your successful Challenge experience:
- Recommit to your Challenge intention
- Experiment with Focused Attention Meditation using this 9-minute audio recording (a version of the meditation used in our community session)
- Consider the prompts found in the Challenge Tracking Calendar
- Record daily minutes of practice in your calendar
Micro Practice (1 minute or so)
STOP (by MBSR Founder, Jon Kabat-Zinn) Used to help calm the nervous system in stressful situations or as you go through the day.
- Stop what you are doing
- Take a few conscious breaths and feel your feet on the floor or your sitz bones in the chair
- Observe what is going on inside and around you (sensations in the body, thoughts, emotions)
- Proceed with what is next, with more connection and conscious choices