My Hangup with Mindfulness
Here’s a hangup that I’ve had that you might run into. So an important part of mindfulness is allowing my thoughts and feelings to happen. But I can choose feelings by choosing thoughts that cause the feelings I want. And if I think certain things I will feel badly. So shouldn’t I resist thinking that way? This seems contradictory. But this is operating under the assumption that we should never feel negative emotions. But you have to have the negative to appreciate the positive. And, in reality, I would want to choose to feel the negative emotions sometimes. When my grandpa died, would it have served me well to choose not to miss him and mourn his death? No. That just sounds crazy. I want to miss him because I love him. There are many situations where I truly do want to have negative emotions. Having both positive and negative emotions is by design. It is meant to be that way. If you tallied all your positive and negative emotions throughout your life, it would not surprise me if it ended up being split 50/50. And that’s okay. We don’t need to be afraid of the negative thoughts and emotions because when it comes down to it, they are just thoughts and emotions, vibrations in your body. Notice it, allow it to happen, let it be heard, and then offer your brain an alternative way of thinking that helps you feel better.
Mindfulness will not make you feel better immediately. In fact, it will do the opposite a lot of times. If you choose to be mindful rather than resist, avoid, distract, or react, you will be giving the painful thought/emotion front-and-center stage. It can be very uncomfortable. But if you can sit with it while breathing through it, focusing on really good exhales, you give your body the opportunity to metabolize the painful thought/emotion. Like water in a pond, if you wait long enough and let the waves and ripples work themselves out, the water will settle forming a peaceful, beautiful, glassy environment. And the more regularly you practice mindfulness the easier it becomes. You rewire your brain. Neurons that fire together wire together. But be ready to feel uncomfortable as you practice.
I find that when I’m avoiding my painful thoughts/emotions, they are often accompanied by the thought: I can’t handle these feelings. Recognizing this in the moment is really hard sometimes. But if I can recognize it and actively accept it, I take my power back. And the empowering thought that I have been practicing lately, as a replacement, is I can handle whatever thought or emotion comes my way. Wow! This has made a huge difference for me, especially in my recovery from addiction.
Don’t Have to Do It Alone
Sometimes I need help to change my thinking. Sometimes I need help just to even feel confident enough to face my emotions. Therapy has been wonderful for this. Life Coaching takes it to a different level. Therapy can be very focused on the past, sometimes overly so. Life coaching is all about working through what’s going on in your brain at this moment, right now, with a big emphasis on future-minded thinking. Ultimately, both can be whatever you want it to be. It’s all up to you. But these are some differences I’ve noticed in my years of experience with therapy and more recent experience with life coaching. My point is, on many occasions having someone there to support me in facing painful emotions and thoughts, asking really good guiding questions, giving me space to process, and helping me see my brain stuff more objectively has made all the difference. This is what I love about being a Life Coach. I get to help people be mindful and empower themselves.
Mindfulness helps with anything. It means to be present in the moment rather than checking out or numbing out. It allows your body to do what it’s built to do, to metabolize the thought, emotion, or body sensation. It will help you reach your goals. You’ll feel more discomfort but you’ll embrace it. And your highs will be higher than ever before. Bring on the mindfulness baby!!!
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