5 things to consider if you’re exploring a mindfulness program

At the OMC we conduct interviews with every applicant.  This is useful for many reasons.  Because our focus is in teaching mindfulness skills to help with psychological issues, it’s important to know if the person is in a psychological space where these skills can be acquired and will be helpful.  It’s also very reassuring to meet with each person and learn what brought them to our meeting.  So many have shared their aspirations and expectations of mindfulness-based interventions that they have actually shaped the way we approach our interviews. We also noticed that many have given careful thought to their decision to take part in a program and their self-examination prepared them well.

So let’s see if we can organize a self-check list to help you explore your feelings and thoughts about a mindfulness-based approach.  We ask that you consider your answers in a non-judgmental way.  Don’t discard any answer no matter how trivial or important you may think it is.  Make no assumptions about the likelihood that these answers would be achieved or met in a program.

1.  What brought you to considering a mindfulness-based intervention?

Write down the things that lead you to the idea of mindfulness.  It could be that you have a meditation practice, a friend suggested it, you read about it, Googled it.  It may be that you feel other interventions are not helping, you or your health care provider may feel it would be a good addition to your treatment.  You read about someone famous who was transformed by it.  You read the Power of Now!

2.  What are you hoping will change?

You may be feeling stressed and hope that will go away. You may be experiencing pain and hope that will go away.  There may have been a lot of turmoil in your life and you would like to feel there’s something to hold onto.  Perhaps there’s something you’re hoping you can reclaim in your lifea relationship, a job, a skill.

3.  What are you holding on to?

There may be relationships, ways of being, functionality that are important to your sense of who you are.  You may be feeling a shift in your place at work, your role in your family, your idea of who you wanted to be, where you thought you would be at this time in your life.  There may be relationships with family members, friends, bosses, or colleagues that are changing.  There may be expectations and dreams you want to fulfill.

4.  What are you not willing to give up?

There may be things you are really attached to: styles of eating, drinking, dealing with stress.  There may be expectations you have of yourself and others around you.  You may have certain non-negotiable ways of dealing with things.

5.  What are you willing to give?

Time, effort, and consistency may be things you’re willing to put into the program.  What are others things you are willing to give:  trust in yourself, in the process, in the diagnosis that brought you here.  You may be willing to give yourself a new perspective.  Look over the answers to the last two questions.  Which of these are you willing to look at in a different way?

Take your time on each point.  Nothing is permanent – including your thoughts about who you are and what you want.

Do this as often as you need.  Set it aside or use it as a guide to ask questions about any program you are considering.

If you register in a program, put these answers in an envelope and file it away until the end of the program.  Then take it out and review it.  Did anything change?  Did anything surprise you?

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