What is the theory behind the worksheet?
The following worksheet is based on a Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MCBT) approach. This approach combines methods from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and meditative techniques, in order to prevent relapse in recurrent depression (Manjaly & Iglesias, 2020).
How will the worksheet help
This worksheet will help clients familiarize themselves with the techniques used in mindfulness cognitive based therapy, meant to prevent relapse in recurrent depression (Ewais, 2021).
How to use the worksheet
Mindfulness is a technique that implies a state of nonjudgmental awareness of what is happening in the present moment, including awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings and sense, focusing on the here and now, while putting the life’s noise, demands and stressors in the background while you concentrate on the present moment. It is a technique borrowed from Buddhist meditation (Hosey et al., 2018). The following worksheet explains the components of mindfulness, how it works and offers examples of mindfulness techniques. Use the instructions as explained here.
What is mindfulness worksheet
Mindfulness has 2 components:
● Awareness – during the state of mindfulness, you will notice your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations as they happen. You are not trying to stop your mind from thinking, but rather to become aware of your thoughts and feelings and not to get lost in them.
● Acceptance – As you observe your internal and external experiences, try not to judge them as “good” or “bad” or even react to them at all. For example, if you notice a feeling of nervousness, simply state to yourself: “I notice that I am feeling nervous”. There’s no need to further judge or change the feeling. By doing so, your negative thoughts and feelings become less powerful.
There are different techniques to practice mindfulness. Here are a few examples of them:
❖ Mindfulness meditation
Sit in a comfortable place, and begin paying attention to your breathing. Notice the physical sensation of air filling your lungs, and then slowly leaving. When your mind wanders – which it will – simply notice your thoughts, and turn your attention back to breathing.
❖ Body Scan
During this exercise, it is recommended that you sit or stand. In this exercise, you will move very slowly and with “micro-movements,” which should be barely visible from the outside. The goal is to inspire sensations by moving different parts of the body ever so slightly. Pay close attention to the physical sensations through your body. Begin with the head and then travel down the body until you reach the toes. Spend 15 seconds-1 minute for each body part. The overall quality of movement you are going for is slow, gentle and swaying. As you proceed through the exercise, notice what is happening in your body. If you could assign a temperature inside, what would it be?
❖ Mindful walk
While walking, try to notice how your body moves and feels with each step. Then, expand your awareness to your surroundings. What do you see, hear, smell or feel? It is best to let your breath be free. Notice your thoughts and let them go when they arise, gently label them, e.g. “hello, thought/my friend”.
❖ Five senses
Make a conscious effort to notice the present moment through each of your senses, as such:
➢ 5 things you see
➢ 1 thing you taste
➢ 4 things you feel
➢ 1 thing you smell
➢ 3 things you hear
Ewais, T. (2021). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and depression. The Neuroscience of Depression, 413–421. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-817933-8.00042-6
Hosey, M., McWhorter, J. W., & Wegener, S. T. (2018). Psychologic Interventions for Chronic Pain. Essentials of Pain Medicine, 539-544.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-323-40196-8.00059-0
Manjaly, Z.-M., & Iglesias, S. (2020). A Computational Theory of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy from the “Bayesian Brain” Perspective. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00404
You can download this worksheet here.