WLG 477   Soul CareJane Riffe, Extension Specialist, Family and Human Development                             “Soul care” ...
Dealing with our Negative                                    The harder you try to push away unwanted                     ...
Touching                                                      Mindful Breathing (Skill #2)Turn the raisin over between you...
●	Choose a routine activity as an opportunity                           Like any skill, mindfulness improves with use.	 to...
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Soul care leader general

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Soul care leader general

  1. 1. WLG 477 Soul CareJane Riffe, Extension Specialist, Family and Human Development “Soul care” means caring for our deep inner self, the thoughts Educational and feelings we often keep to ourselves. Objectives “Soul” does not refer 1. To understand how to religious beliefs, but paying attention to a deep connection in a mindful way to life and ourselves. can reduce stress. Our mental, emotional, and physical health 2. To learn why suffers when we lose struggling against that connection while strong emotions caring for others or thoughts does or being busy not work. with projects and responsibilities. Mindful acceptance, or mindfulness, offers a way to 3. To learn three easy enjoy our lives more and reduce stress through simple daily practices. mindfulness practices to increase life What Is Mindfulness? satisfaction. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn of the University of Massachusetts Medical School identifies these key characteristics of Mindfulness: ● Paying purposeful attention to the present moment – “What’s happening right now?” ● Learning to notice current thoughts, feelings, or body sensations in a gentle, detached way. ● Accepting without judgment; refraining from judging whatever feeling, thought, or sensation is experienced. ● Is based on meditation practices and refined by 30 years of psychological and medical research. ● Requires no particular religious or cultural beliefs to practice these skills, which are easy to learn and improve with practice. ● Involves stepping out of the thinking and problem-solving mind into direct experience of the present moment. ● Represents a powerful way to reconnect with one’s center and maintain stability when dealing with stressful people or situations. – continued – WVU Extension Service Families and Health Programs
  2. 2. Dealing with our Negative The harder you try to push away unwanted thoughts and feelings, the more your brainExperiences: What Doesn’t Work focuses on them. All of this effort takes us outStruggling to of the present opportunity to experience ourcontrol, avoid, life and makes it harder to focus on pleasurableor suppress experiences. (Chinese finger traps are cheapthoughts and if you want to use them as a learning experience.feelings: Sources include www.zymetrical.com andWhen worries www.orientaltrading.com.)or fears arise,we might not Mindful Acceptancerealize thatthat these are as an Alternativeonly thoughts. Mindfulness and acceptance approaches toWe begin to use stress management teach us to stop strugglingcritical thinking with emotions by viewing thoughts and emotionsskills to work as passing messages similar to somethingout what’s gone you see, hear, taste, or smell. Unpleasantwrong or what thoughts, feelings, or body experiences becomewe think might be wrong with us (Judging) a signal to mindfully shift attention from thesefor feeling this way. We respond on “Autopilot” nonproductive thoughts to a gentle acceptancewith patterns formed from years of habits. of the experience at the moment.Although problem-solving and critical thinking Some 17,000 people have been trained inare important skills, they do not work well Mindfulness-based Stress Management sinceto change our internal experience. We do not 1979. Many studies show these techniques tofeel better, and sometimes we feel even worse. be helpful in reducing depression and anxietyFocusing on our negative experiences actually and in managing chronic pain, hypertension,makes us unhappier, taking us farther from diabetes, and insomnia.where we want to be.Attempting to avoid, control, or suppress Paying Mindful Attention (Skill #1)unpleasant thoughts does not help reduce Exercise: Eating One Raisinstress. Unpleasant thoughts and feelings tend Let’s experience how Mindfulness teachesto magnify as a result of efforts to control them. us to shift out of thinking and into noticingIt is not possible to control our thoughts. experiences directly through the sensesExercise: Don’t Think About a PINK by practicing mindful eating.ELEPHANT Note: Take plenty of time for each step asTake a moment and DON’T think about a you guide participants through this activity.PINK ELEPHANT. It’s okay to think aboutanything else you wish, but not an elephant Holdingand certainly not a PINK ELEPHANT. Hold a raisin in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb. Imagine thatHow successful were you in avoiding thinking you’ve just dropped in from Mars and haveabout the pink elephant? never seen an object like this before in your life.Was it easy or difficult to work with your mind Seeingas you tried to do this? Gaze at the raisin with care and full attention.Struggling against our emotions is a bit like Let your eyes explore every part of it, examiningtrying to get out of a Chinese finger trap. the darker hollows, the folds and ridges, and any asymmetries or unique features. WVU Extension Service Families and Health Programs
  3. 3. Touching Mindful Breathing (Skill #2)Turn the raisin over between your fingers, Following theexploring its texture, maybe with your eyes breath is anclosed if that enhances your sense of touch. easy way to shiftSmelling out of autopilotHolding the raisin beneath your nose, inhale anytime weand drink in any smell, aroma, or fragrance notice unwantedthat may arise, noticing anything that may thoughts, feelings,be happening in your mouth or stomach. or even physicalPlacing pain. The breathSlowly bring the raisin up to your lips. Notice is always with us,how your hand and arm know exactly how and which makes thiswhere to position it. Gently place the object a convenient toolin the mouth, without chewing, noticing how for reconnectingit gets into the mouth. Spend a few moments with ourselves.exploring the sensations of having it in your This exercise ismouth, exploring it with your tongue. quite simple and involves following the breath with an easy, relaxed awareness.TastingWhen you are ready, Exercise: Mindful Breathing (5-8 minutes)prepare to chew (Read the script from the WL 477 in a calm,the raisin, noticing steady voice. Practice to understand thehow and where experience. Speak slowly with pauses to allowit needs to be for participants to relax and focus their attention.)chewing. Then, very Discuss: What was it like for you to takeconsciously, take a little rest?one or two bites and How could this gentle observing of yournotice what happens, experiences make a difference throughoutexperiencing any the day?waves of taste thatemanate from it One teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, uses theseas you continue words to gently focus the mind on thechewing. Without sensations of the breath. You can try themswallowing yet, notice the bare sensations of if you like. “Breathing in, I calm myself;taste and texture in the mouth and how these breathing out, I smile.”may change over time, moment by moment,as well as any changes in the raisin itself. Bringing Awareness to RoutineSwallowing Activities (Skill#3)See if you can first detect the intention to Exercise: Change to the Mindfulness Channelswallow as it comes up, so that even this isexperienced consciously before you actually CHOOSE to notice. SHIFT to gentle acceptance.swallow. PRACTICE DAILY tuning into mindful awareness.FollowingFinally, see if you can feel what is left of the ● Use a bell or set an alarm on the half raisin moving down into your stomach, and or quarter hour. When it chimes, bring your sense how the body as a whole feels after attention to the present moment and to your completing this exercise in mindful eating. breath moving in and out. WVU Extension Service Families and Health Programs
  4. 4. ● Choose a routine activity as an opportunity Like any skill, mindfulness improves with use. to practice mindful acceptance. Decide that Pick one exercise that interests you and commit each time you do it you will bring a quality to practicing it 10 minutes a day. The ability of deliberate moment-to-moment awareness to shift from automatic thoughts to gentle to the task. Think of this as like changing compassion is possible, one moment at a time. a radio station. Calls to Mindfulness:Possible activities: These quotes could be cut out, laminated,● Washing dishes and given to participants to use as cards● Brushing your teeth or bookmarks.● Doing laundry Waking up in the morning, I smile. 24 brand● Going upstairs new hours are before me. or downstairs● Leaving the house As I clean this fresh, calm room, I focus on● Making a phone call the good things in my life.Discuss with Peace exists only in the present moment.participants: What Right here, right now.activities might you It’s only a thought; I can simply notice ituse as possibilities for and breathe.mindful noticing? Breathing in, I calm myself. Breathing out, I smile.Be Kind to Your Mind and BodyThere is no way to stop unpleasant thoughtsand feelings from showing up in our lives. ResourcesThe key is changing our position toward these www.umassmed.edu/content.aspx?id=41254 Centernatural, normal experiences. When you feel for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, andjudgmental, irritable, or sad, congratulate Society, University of Massachusetts Medical Schoolyourself for noticing! Then, choose to shift www.mindfulnesstapes.com/ CDs of Dr. Kabatto gentle soft awareness of what you are Zinn’s teachingexperiencing. Forsyth, J and Eifert, G. (2007). The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety. Oakland, CA,What About Taking Action? New Harbinger. Includes a skill-building CD withA general rule of thumb: mindful acceptance exercises.When the source of stress is inside yourself Williams,M, Teasdale,J, Segal, Z and Kabat-Zinn, J.(thoughts, feelings, body sensations), try (2007). The Mindful Way through Depression Newmindfulness first to connect with your experience York: Guilford Press. Includes a CD with guidedand your internal resources. Actions that you meditation practices.take after a mindfulness practice are likelyto be more balanced, effective, and reflectiveof who you really are.2009Programs and activities offered by the West Virginia University Extension Service are available to all persons without regardto race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, political beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin, and maritalor family status. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation withthe U.S. Department of Agriculture. Director, Cooperative Extension Service, West Virginia University. FH09–291 WVU Extension Service Families and Health Programs

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