118 (67.1 %)
56 (31.8 %)
“Choose not to respond”
2 (1.1 %)
M = 35.30, SD = 11.30 (range 18–75)
128 (72.7 %)
16 (9.1 %)
10 (5.7 %)
Another specific race
“Choose not to respond”
6 (3.4 %)
Employed part time or full time
93 (52.8 %)
11 (6.3 %)
69 (39.2 %)
“Choose not to respond”
3 (1.7 %)
74 (42.0 %)
72 (40.9 %)
19 (10.8 %)
1 (0.6 %)
7 (4.0 %)
“Choose not to respond”
3 (1.7 %)
Fully completed post-secondary
94 (53.4 %)
Partially completed post-secondary
57 (32.4 %)
Secondary school only
22 (12.5 %)
Did not complete secondary school
0 (0 %)
“Choose not to respond”
3 (1.7 %)
Any psychiatric diagnosis:
92 (52.3 %)
Past but not current
25 (14.2 %)
51 (29.0 %)
“Choose not to respond”
8 (4.5 %)
Objective event: “Being late for an important appointment.”
Objective event: “Failed to completely stop at a STOP sign and was pulled over by a police officer.”
Subjective experience: “Feeling embarrassed, guilty, anxious. Thinking that: ‘I can’t do anything right’ and worrying that: ‘I’ll be yelled at’.”
Subjective experience: “Heart racing, panic, anger. Think to myself: “You idiot!!” Worry that: “The police officer will hurt me.”
1. Presence (vs. past)
Reminding yourself that you are in the present and recognizing the influence of the past on your way of relating to the present (i.e., recognizing the influence of past experiences, memories, and emotions on your responses in the here and now).
“Remembering that I am in the present – not in the past. The person or people at the meeting are NOT likely to yell at me or hurt me.”
“Remember that this is the present – that I am safe. Realize that, although I might get a ticket, it is NOT likely that I will be physically hurt.”
Being experientially aware, especially of stimuli through your five senses and of your emotional states, primarily as a means of grounding yourself and being better able to label and understand your experiences and describe them to others.
“I can practice being aware of my feelings. I can stay grounded by flexing my fingers and toes.”
“Practice labeling my emotions: this is fear, this is anger. Be aware that I can feel my hands on the steering wheel of my car.”
3. Letting go
Allowing distressing experiences to pass by and recognizing and becoming less attached to acting upon harmful impulses or desires.
“I can practice letting go of my need to be perfect in others’ eyes. I can realize that everyone is late sometimes.”
“Practice letting go of my fear, anger, and self-criticism.”
Experiencing lovingkindness and compassion for yourself and trusted others.
“I can try to be kind with myself in this moment. I can realize that there is NO need for me to be embarrassed or ashamed.”
“Remember that everyone makes mistakes. Try to be compassionate to myself in this moment. And if I begin to feel angry toward the police officer, remember that he or she is only doing their job.”
5. Re-centering and de-centering
Feeling safe and at ease within your body, being able to feel a greater sense of pleasure and joy in your body, and being able to tolerate bodily feelings of distress.
“I can practice decentering from my feelings of guilt and embarrassment – I can realize that these feelings are NOT helping me right now.”
“Using decentering try to recognize that being self-critical or blaming will not help the situation.”
6. Acceptance and change
Recognizing the difference between things that cannot be changed and things that can and beginning to act upon things that can be changed.
“I can accept that I’m running late. I can plan to apologize and explain why I’m late when I meet the other person or people.”
“Accept that I will have to speak with the officer - Practicing change I can begin to plan what I will say, and try to be a more careful driver in the future…”
Participant guided in maintaining mindful attention toward both breathing and tactile awareness (touching fingers to thumbs) for 20 breaths.
Mindful awareness of sight and sound
Participant guided in identifying, labeling, focusing upon, and finally letting go of their focus upon a single visual and a single auditory stimulus from within his or her immediate environment.
Freedom from pain and suffering
Lovingkindness meditation (LKM) with the following four intentions: (1) safety from harm, (2) freedom from suffering, (3) lessening of pain, (4) finding of peace.
Hope, joy, love within, peace within
LKM with the following four intentions: (1) having hope, (2) experiencing joy, (3) finding love within, (4) finding peace within.
Empowerment, strength, security, resilience
LKM with the following four intentions: (1) being empowered, (2) being strong, (3) being secure, (4) being resilient.
Participant first guided in visualizing and then physically embodying (via postural change) the following four characteristics of a mountain: (1) strength, (2) resilience, (3) wide point of view, (4) solidity.
As for mountain imagery but with the following four characteristics of a tree: (1) expansiveness, (2) firmly rooted, (3) place of comfort, (4) natural beauty.
As for mountain imagery but with the following four characteristics of the sun: (1) source of light, (2) pleasant warmth, (3) energy, (4) potential.
Holding a candle imagery
Participant guided in walking meditation while imagining themselves holding a lit candle symbolizing a part of themselves they may nurture and respect, embodying the following four characteristics of candles: (1) source of light, (2) pleasant warmth, (3) sign of comfort and calmness, (4) something that requires care.
Participants guided in becoming aware of, labeling, and finally letting go of (i.e., releasing attention from) physical sensations in one of four focused areas of the body during four (separate) meditations: (1) lower body, (2) upper-middle body, (3) hands and arms, and (4) head and face. All body scan meditations also concluded with encouraging the experience of the entire body as a whole.
Example response to: “What did you learn or experience while completing this exercise?”
How to work through my feelings and visualize what I need to do to make changes.
This opened up a lot of past wounds. I guess this helped me clarify some feelings but it more felt like reliving bad feelings that I try not to think about too much. Perhaps, doing this exercise multiple times would bring clarity.
I learned that I am nervous and tense, which I did not notice before. Writing about how I feel makes me pay more attention to that.
I experienced how to become fully aware of all the anxious and complex feelings I have been having. It really helped to write it out, to understand, and helped me to learn how I can rid myself of these particular fears and that everything really is going to be ok. Also, how I can let go of the past, accept what is, and how I will strive to change for the better and love myself still no matter what. I also taught myself that remaining calm and not panicking will definitely help because I waste time in states of panic and anxiety instead of actually focusing and getting work done. This really did help some to get all this out of me in words.
Although I remembered a past experience vividly and knew it bothered me, I had never connected it to my difficulty making phone calls before. I learned of the connection, and for the first time, how to talk to myself to move past it. It didn’t make the problem go away, although over time I believe that this kind of attention and thinking through it will help significantly.
That I had a lot more to say than I ever would have thought. I usually have an extremely difficult time expressing myself in words…likely because I go for weeks without really saying anything. Putting emotions and thoughts into words is hard, but I managed to just let my stream of consciousness take over. Perhaps I should do this more often.
2. Meditation Timer (MBAS)
I experienced an empty mind that was focused on a singular image, which allowed my head to clear.
I became very aware of myself, feeling each breath.
I learned how to completely focus on one assigned object while forgetting most of what was going on around me and/or anything on my mind.
It was a new experience. I’ve never tried meditation before. I think it helped me calm myself and take negative thoughts from my head and helped me let go of them.
The experience helped clear my mind. I started with thoughts and then I let go and focused on the candle. (Freed my mind in some sense)
My mind never stopped chattering. It was chattering about the exercise so I guess that’s better than totally drifting away to something else. I know this will take some time and practice.
3. Breath Meditation
The repetition of touching my fingers and breathing was very relaxing, and I feel like I have more clarity. It’s kind of difficult to express, so that’s the best way I could think of to describe the feeling.
It was a very relaxing thing to do—it just made me focus on the activity and made me clear my head from anything distracting or unnatural.
That focusing on how I held my hands during the meditation helped me focus my mind. I also noticed that I don’t breathe deeply and worked to correct this during the meditation.
To be aware of the nerves in my fingertips and thumb and to regulate my breathing.
It helped me block out things and focus.
To clear my thoughts, let go of anything that is bothering me. Enjoy the calmness of quiet and relaxation.
4. Mindful Seeing & Hearing
I experienced peace. I felt very comfortable and really noticed sounds around me that I do not usually notice.
I noticed how comfortable the sounds of my room can be if I maintain a calm mind.
How to attend to my senses.
I felt like I was experiencing only one sense at a time which was pretty cool.
I learned about recognizing sounds and sights around me.
How to quiet voices in my head. How to breathe effectively.
5. Metta Meditation
I felt lots of positivity going through me, and I especially loved when I “sent” hope and love and joy to someone.
How to focus more on my thoughts (wishes, requests) for healing.
How to reinforce that I am safe if I am overwhelmed—the four affirmations refocuses your thought from panic to calm.
Empowerment, felt more grounded and secure, very relaxed, no intrusive thoughts.
I learned how to accept positive affirmations for myself and others.
It was difficult for me to do this practice. I had a difficult time taking in metta than sending it out to my mother. I had a hard time relaxing.
6. Embodiment Meditation
By imaging something representative of positive traits and putting yourself in a position to feel that way, you can gain positive energy and be in a better position to feel more confident.
To be fully present, feeling safe and strong, encompassing the beauty and strength of a tree. For me, I learned that I can use this imagery for myself when faced with future encounters with my sister.
I learned that I am my own foundation. Standing tall like a mountain. Mountains are often a symbol of strength, and I imagined myself as having some qualities of a mountain. I tried to contact my inner strength by withstanding the troubles in my own life.
I experienced a lot of imagery. I realize that if I close my eyes, the images I make in my mind from only hearing the guided meditation are an expression of my seemingly limitless creativity.
I loved how this meditation brought the strength of a mountain to myself.
I could actually feel warmth surrounding me and moving through me. It felt really good. I’ve learned that the feelings of darkness within me aren’t permanent. It is possible for me to consciously change my thoughts and my mood.
7. Body Scan
It made me more aware of my body as a whole. Usually when I am stressed I think it is all mental, this made me realize I carry a lot of tension in other areas of my body as well.
I really focused on the lower part of my body. Even though I didn’t even touch my legs, I feel very relaxed—as though I had a massage.
I had a peaceful and calm feeling come over the different parts of my body.
I felt more in control of my body and its experiences. My hands have never felt so relaxed!
I was more in tune with my body. I could feel different sensations throughout.
That taking a moment to focus on my body, I can relax the different muscle groups, making me more relaxed, calm, and peaceful.
8. Info. / Psychoed.
Learning how to use the techniques such as guided imagery or journal writing, to heal from and move on from a life altering event such as post-traumatic stress, bereavement, being verbally or physically abused.
I learned about a case study—“Marie”. Though she had experienced very traumatic events, and had PTSD, she seemed to be able to use the techniques to reduce her pain.
Through this, I learned that self-help for traumatic life events or relationships is beneficial for my health and well-being.
I found it interesting to follow along with Marie’s progress [a case study] and see how her beliefs and way of thinking began to change. I am glad that she was able to find some peace and that her PTSD symptoms were greatly diminished.
These are techniques that I feel need to be practiced, and the more you do the more you will benefit. They almost seem to bring your mind, body, and soul all together. My recent therapist does not utilize these, but I would like to start.
Wow, that was really powerful [case study of “Marie”]. I cried but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Empathy can be good. I learned that over time these exercises can lead to real recovery.