As I sat in a meeting at work last week, feeling overwhelmed and anxious about all the work and deadlines, I felt a variety of emotions racing through my veins – sadness, irritation, anger and despair. I remembered how being mindful could help me to be more present and connected to myself.
I started taking slow, deep breaths and focused on how my breath felt going into my body, down my throat, deep into my stomach and slowly back out. Because of the intensity of the emotions I was feeling, I also decided to place my hand on my heart to feel my heartbeat.
Our breath and our heartbeat are always there and paying attention to them can be an effective way to be present on purpose in the moment.
What I did in the meeting was more informal and something like this can be done without anyone even realizing what you are doing.
I find myself using many of the informal practices to help me calm down when I am wound up – something simple like feeling the texture of the paper toweling in the restroom when I dry my hands. Mindful moments – even if they are only for a few seconds – help to reign me in from the spiral of negative thoughts and emotions that inevitably come up.
As I write this blog today, I am sitting on my patio. I feel the wind blowing against my face, I feel the warmth of the sun, I see the leaves blowing in the wind, I hear the wind chimes in my neighbors back yard. I know I am here, right now, in this moment. And even in the midst of all the items to be done at home, at work and with my business, I know I can enjoy this moment. I can appreciate the sense of peace and relaxation I feel right now.
Learning about and practicing techniques like mindfulness can be helpful. Find out what tools work best for you and keep them in your toolbox. Regularly practicing mindfulness in a more formal sense is extremely effective — in addition to the informal practices I mention above. I am always looking for ways to keep learning about new or existing techniques I use to help keep my emotions in check. I took a mindfulness class recently offered by my mindfulness teacher Jodi Huebner of Life’s Journey Counseling. Taking a class can be a great way to explore and learn about mindfulness.
When you have intense emotions, take a few deep breaths and gently observe the emotion. Don’t fight it, because fighting it only increases the impact the emotion has on your mind and body.
Find what grounds you. Does focusing on your breath help? Your heartbeat? Pay attention to life with your senses – What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel?
Sending you peace, love and hugs,