I can't believe session 4 of the 3RP program is tonight. Wow, time has flown by! I feel very lucky as a smoldering myeloma patient to have the opportunity to be a part of this and I am really enjoying the program/study. As much as the focus of the program is learning different ways to elicit the relation response through mindfulness, meditation, and other methods, what I really appreciate about the program is that it truly is a comprehensive "mind/body" approach to managing stress. The focus is not only on eliciting the relaxation response (though, a very important aspect!), but also on how to improve other important areas of life: social connectedness, nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Through this program I am learning about acute and chronic stress as well as the physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and relational components/warning signs of stress. The program also has great information about optimizing social support and how there are different forms of social support such as emotional, informational, tangible, self-esteem/affirmational, and belonging.
This week, our "homework" was to continue daily practice of eliciting the relaxation response, record 3-5 appreciations daily, work toward 3 goals related to nutrition, exercise, sleep, or social support, and practice "mindful awareness" in daily living. Practicing "mindful awareness" could be many different things - even "mindful awareness of others" or "mindful eating" or "mindful exercise". In the session last week we practiced "mindful eating" with a Hershey's dark chocolate kiss. We examined the wrapper and tag, noticed the smell, and slowly ate it. During times of stress I often do "mindless" eating, meaning eating lots of (junk) food and not even tasting it! Hopefully being more mindful while eating (all the time, but even more in times of stress) may help me manage that particular stress response in my life.