MBCT Week 1

Many thanks to all of you for attending week one of the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy course. Below please find a link to the audio files and some resources which I hope you find helpful. Also for those of you that weren’t able to attend this week please find a summary and I look forward to welcoming you next week :)

Home study

It’s my job on this course to support you with your home based learning. Our weekly classes will hopefully be an introduction to the aspects of mindfulness you can explore in your own time and at your own pace.

This week for the home study it would be great if you could:

1) Get yourself a notebook to use as your mindfulness diary to record your experiences and learnings.

2) Spend 5 minutes of one of your meals this week “mindfully eating”. For those of you that didn’t attend on Wednesday night please find yourself a rasin and complete the rasin exercise below! You may find it interesting :). Please record your experience so that we can discuss.

3) Have a listen to the Body Scan Exercise. You can do this either sitting or lying down. Again please write a few lines about your experience, particularly noticing where your mind wandered off to and how frequently you brought it back.


The exercises

Here are the official audio files for the sessions we ran last night (not my voice!).



Here’s a great 10 minute TED talk by the lovely Andy Puddicombe on mindfulness. If you haven’t seen it I can highly recommend having a quick watch.



If you’d like to read a little more about mindfulness here are some of my favourite books on the subject:

Peace is every step by Thich Nhat Hanh


Practicing the power of NOW by Eckhart Tolle


MBCT for dummies by Dr Patrizia Collard

This one is written by my trainer and is a great supplement to the course :)


What we covered

This week we had a look at how frequently the mind drifts off into automatic pilot. When we ate the sultana or the malteser you may have noticed that your experience was completely different to when you stepped into the here and now and out of auto-pilot. Equally with the body scan we were able to notice how frequently the mind wandered away from the present moment and how using the breath we could return back to the focus of our attention.

Here are a few notes on automatic pilot:

An introduction to automatic pilot

In a car we can sometimes drive for miles “on automatic pilot,” without really being aware of what we are doing. In the same way, we may not be really “present,” moment-by-moment, for much of our lives: We can often be “miles away” without knowing it.

On automatic pilot, we are more likely to have our “buttons pressed”: Events around us and thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the mind (of which we may be only dimly aware) can trigger old habits of thinking that are often unhelpful, and may lead on to worsening mood.

By becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations, from moment to moment, we give ourselves the possibility of greater freedom and choice; we do not have to go down the same old “mental ruts” that may have caused problems in the past.

In increasing our awareness of autopilot,  we can respond to situations with choice rather than react automatically. We do that by practicing to become more aware of where our attention is, and deliberately changing the focus of attention, over and over again.

To begin with, we used attention to eating the raisin to explore how to step out of automatic pilot. We then used attention to different parts of the body as a focus to anchor our awareness in the moment. We will also be training ourselves to put attention and awareness in different places at will. This is the aim of the body scan exercise.

Thank you for coming along and I look forward to seeing you next week

Kate :)