02/03/2022 Tim Johnson HUS 349 Supervision / Professor Holleb Episode 2 - “How to Build a Happy Life” This episode is primarily about using meditation for mindfulness and emotional regulation. It begins with a discussion about our feelings and emotions, what they can do for us, and how they can work against us. They warned about the possible consequences of reacting prior to there even being an awareness of the emotion. Once the foundation was set, the discussion transitioned to about what meditation is and isn’t, it’s origins, benefits, challenges, and rewards. There were many things that stood out to me during the video. First, is the prevailing myth that feelings cannot be effectively managed. Even though we do want them to go away, the situation may seem hopeless. Also, meditation can actually “rewire the brain”. This means that not only can existing neural pathways be repaired, but also new pathways can be formed. I found the Buddhism, a 2,500-year-old spiritual practice, statement that “Life is Suffering” to be interesting. I have heard it before, but I don’t believe I had thought too much about it. Why isn’t it “Life is pleasure”? I believe it is because all of our positive emotions are enhanced once we have gained an intimate knowledge of the opposite. Possibly, gratitude by comparing. I learned many things. The conscious brain is way behind the feeling. The practice of meditation helps bridge this gap. If there is greater awareness that a specific emotion or feeling is being experienced, then you can begin to manage instead of reacting. This management is done in the prefrontal cortex which is the part of the brain that is reserved for a higher level of cognition. This is called being metacognitive. Meditation is not separate from Western medicine. It is complimentary. Finally, and very important to me personally, is to observe the thought, feeling, or emotion and to not judge it. We are not bad people for having these thoughts. At one point in the podcast, the interviewee states that he could potentially be “locked up” if everything that raced through his mind became public knowledge. I can identify with this statement. This is why I don’t speak while walking around Wal-Mart. Many things about the podcast surprised me. I really like the idea of wishing well upon the individuals who may be upsetting you. This is definitely counterintuitive. I have been exposed to this idea by a support group, but too often I forget to do it. When I do remember, it is effective. I also enjoy the concept of riding the waves of life instead of drowning in the ocean. There are so many provoking stimuli that occur throughout the course of a day. If I were to grab each individual one and overanalyze it, then I would end up a prime candidate for a nervous breakdown. And most important, if you do practice meditation, then there is the strong possibility that you will be interrupted by a thought like, "What kind of bird is Big Bird?". Is he a giant canary? This is important to know. I think we all know what Snuffleupagus is, don't we? I believe there can be very positive and practical supervisory applications for using meditation to regulate thoughts, feelings, emotions, then actions. I believe there is the common misconception that the workplace is mostly cognitive. I believe it is often the opposite; however, there is a general lack of awareness that this is true. Therefore, there are often less than productive reactions and actions. From a supervisors standpoint, employee morale, cohesion, and performance could be elevated by introducing the concept of using mindfulness meditation to improve mental health. All it would take is one less sales meeting. Hopefully, the supervisor will participate as well. I would be lying if I said I practiced this assignment every night and then the following day. I believe I did it four times. Fifteen minutes an evening wasn’t an unreasonable time commitment, and I had all the peace and comfort I needed. More often that not, my strongest feeling experienced throughout the day was fear. Sometimes, it was anger. I would state the feeling out loud, but not loud enough for my roommates to hear me. My sanity is already questionable around the house. I did my best not to judge the statement. I am not very good at being nonjudgmental when these thoughts and feelings pop up throughout the day. Beginning in early childhood, I was conditioned that anything positive was good and anything negative was bad. I determined that ruminating was never helpful. However, it was helpful to make an early identification of the emotion, turn it over a few times in my head, and then use my available tools to soften it or be entirely rid of it. My positive resolution was to practice the aforementioned sequence of events. I did write it down. In order to pick up on any residual rumination after spot practicing my resolution, I did set an alarm for around 3 pm. This seemed to work fairly well. I enjoyed the lesson very much.