I love the theory behind this chapter, it is something we talk about often in our coaching work. It’s worth pulling a paragraph or two from the book:
“The way we interpret the world makes a huge difference to how we react. This is sometimes called the ABC model of emotions. The “A” represents the situation itself – what a video camera would record. The “B” is the interpretation given to the scene; the running story we create out of the situation, which often flows just beneath the surface of awareness but is taken as fact. The “C” is our reactions: our emotions, body sensations and our impulses to act in various ways.
Often we see the “A” and “C” quite clearly, but we are not aware of the “B”. We think the situation itself aroused our feelings and emotions when, in fact, it was our interpretation of the scene that did this.” (page 137 “Mindfulness: An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman)
This rings so true for me, especially when it comes to parenting. My son might start to protest at bedtime and my immediate response is almost blown out of proportion, I get frustrated so easily, because the “B” I’ve added on top of the situation is the thought of “Oh my, here he goes again, I will never make it through this, I can’t believe how irrational he is getting, will he ever learn? How could I raise such an inconsiderate kid? I am a horrible parent…..” which just makes the situation worse. I’m reacting to my thoughts rather than the situation at hand.
The idea behind week four is to enhance your ability to see when your mind might be turning negative and self-attacking, when you might get “pulled into a vortex”.
Practices for week four:
8 minute Breath and Body meditation followed by
8 minute Sounds and Thoughts mediation
(try to do the above twice a day)
Three minute breathing space meditation
(twice a day and whenever you need it at any time)
Habit Releaser: a visit to the movies
-for this, ask a friend or family member to go with you to the movies at a specific time and just choose whatever movie appeals to you only when you get there.
Click here for a downloadable homework sheet.