The most powerful benefit of practicing mindfulness that I have found is the freedom from the tyranny of me, inside my head. The more I am mindful and aware of the present moment, the less I carry on that self-critical, super demanding, hard to please, relentless, judgmental and especially mean voice that is usually constantly running behind the scenes.
When I am practicing mindfulness, I feel freer and kinder and more alive. I accept the fact that I cannot control my life into submission (I used to be very bossy when I was little), and I fight less with things being just the way they are, as well as have less conflict with others in my life.
Freedom from the harsh critical internalized me allows me to feel more comfortable and connected and compassionate – all feelings I love to experience. That freedom makes all the difference in my world. That freedom comes from my regular practice with mindfulness.
You might pause for some mindfulness in your life around experiences that are painful or difficult – an upcoming divorce meeting with your soon to be ex-spouse; dealing with traumatic events that have come up with family members in your life; suffering a break up; ongoing arguments with your partner that make the idea of coming home unbearable; experiencing meltdowns and overwhelm with the kids.
Any of these situations (and many more) can be seen to be primary invitations to come a little closer to the practice of mindfulness. No, mindfulness doesn’t make your stress go away, but it does help you to deal better with stressful situations and become more resilient as a result, changing your relationship to that stress and pain in your life in a profound way.
As human beings, we are best able to move forward (and survive) in our lives when we feel safe, nurtured, cared for. Practicing mindfulness provides a personal and practical way to create this environment for ourselves. Before entering a difficult meeting, you might create a space of attention for yourself:
- Practice coming to your senses and give a quick check to what’s going on in each of your senses. A few deep slow breaths to help you settle (like the snow in a snow globe when shaken up, slowly falls to the bottom once still), and will slow your pounding heart down, making it possible to think more clearly and not overreact.
- Recognize that this is a moment of suffering. Acknowledge to yourself that you are hurting and having a tough time.
- Remind yourself of the many others who are struggling like this right now too. You’re not alone in your suffering.
- Offer some self compassion to yourself: ‘May I be kind to myself; May I remember I am worthy of compassion; May I communicate clearly and speak from my heart; May I recognize others as speaking from their heart; May I be as strong, healthy and present as I possibly can’.
Creating space for this quiet attention to what’s going on for you right now and having a caring dialogue with yourself will not make the worry and pain of such a meeting go away; or even make everything work out the way you would like in that meeting; but will provide you with a sense of deep caring support (rather than a tyrannical judgmental self-critical voice) that you can have as your go-to when you face difficult circumstances in your life.
For more help with integrating mindfulness into your daily life, please check out my FREE E-COURSE here, or sign up for my OASIS course here. Both will help you to have more calm and less overwhelm in your busy life!