Tag: #mindfulness

Break Your Bad Mood in Three Minutes

The Article:https://www.mindful.org/break-your-bad-mood-in-3-minutes/

1) Try the “Touch and Go” Practice:

Settle in, close your eyes and gently begin to locate your breath. Where do you feel it the most? Rest your awareness on the breath, as if noticing the breath for the first time. You can place attention at the tip of the nose or the belly and as you breathe in, just acknowledge the breath coming in and as you breathe out just acknowledge the breath going out. As if you were greeting and saying goodbye to an old friend. 

Practice noticing when your mind wanders. Then go back to the breath, practicing “see,” “touch,” “go”when the mind mind wanders—noticing when your mind is wandering, being able to touch it for a moment and gently going back to wherever your attention is. When the mind wanders, as it will always do, just say to yourself “wandering” and then gently bring your attention back to the breath just noticing it coming in and going out. 

Return to the breath again and again as the mind wanders, gently bring it back billions of times. You can do this for as little as 1 minute or as much as 30 minutes or more.

2) Restore self-confidence by labeling defeating thoughts

Catch your inner critic. When you’re not feeling well and the mind begins to ruminate, as you practiced with the breath, just label it as “ruminating” and then gently bring your attention back to whatever you were doing. Like learning an instrument, you can develop more skill as you practice.

Notice the “choice point.” Being more present may also give you the ability see the space between stimulus and response and see the “choice point” to be more flexible and call a friend or do something that then gives you pleasure or connection with others. This is what I referred to as The Now Effect.

Recognize when you’re feeling low. Feeling low mood is normal for everyone, but if we’ve experienced depression in the past, this may be a trigger for a relapse. If we feel tired or if we notice sadness, the mind pops up with the worry: “Uh oh, that is how I felt when I was depressed, maybe I’m getting depressed.” Our minds begin to go in overdrive with negative self judgments, “I am a failure” or “I am weak” or “I am worthless.” It then tries to solve the mystery as to why we are becoming depressed again and the more it tries to solve this puzzle, the deeper it sinks into depression. 

Be kind to yourself. Think of your worried mind like a judgmental person coming at you trying to solve your problems when you’re already not feeling well. Probably not what you’re looking for. You see, it’s not the low mood that’s the problem here, it’s the way we get stuck in habitually relating to it, talking to ourselves about it, that pours kerosene on the fire. Know that practicing mindfulness is an act of self-care and helps stop the cycle of rumination and cultivates more patience, compassion, and peace.

More ArticlesThe Negativity Bias: Why the Bad Stuff SticksWhat is the negativity bias? How can you overcome it?Article by:Margaret Jaworski

The article:https://www.psycom.net/negativity-bias

How can you overcome the negativity bias?

But there is good news. Despite the evolutionary hand we’ve been dealt, the degree to which we’re able to override our “default” setting and avoid falling into an abyss of self-recrimination, insecurity, sadness, anger, bitterness and other negative emotions depends on a slew of factors including our upbringing, the input we’ve received from those around us whose opinions we value, and how we interpret what we’ve been told. “The single most important underlying factor is….how we talk to ourselves about our experiences,” notes Kenneth Yeager, PhD, director of STAR (Stress, Trauma, and Resilience) Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “If you challenge yourself…to be mindful of your daily activities, noticing what’s important [and what isn’t], you are more likely to have positive life experiences,” Dr. Yeager explains. Basically, you need to put effort into truly valuing all the good and positive aspects of your life so that you are not overcome by the negative. Even if you are facing a multitude of objectively negative situations, you can try to appreciate the positive aspects of your life, regardless of how small they may be.

Other ways to counterbalance our proclivity towards negativity? Grant Brenner, MD, Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center (New York), advises:

  • Be poised to gently recognize what is happening when negative patterns start to get activated and practice doing something each and every time—even something very small—to break the pattern. If you are inclined to overanalyze parts of conversations that you assume are negative, figure out a hobby or habit that keeps you from overanalyzing, like reading, going for a run, cleaning your house up, or creating a music playlist that makes you feel happy.
  • Notice your negative self-dialogue and substitute positive approaches. “You idiot!” becomes, “I wish I had made a different choice, but I will remember how I wish I had acted and apply it to future situations.”
  • Another tactic that might feel strange at first, but can help to approach your mean inner voice with kindness, is talking to yourself as you would a friend. When negative thoughts intrude ask yourself, “Are you ok? What’s wrong? Why are you so angry? Are you feeling hurt?” The idea is to good-naturedly interrupt yourself whenever you start to trash talk yourself. It’s kind of like The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” except it involves treating yourself with the same kindness and compassion that you treat the people you love.
  • Perhaps most important, notes Brenner, is to “cultivate a gentle, curious and patient attitude with yourself. Learn to celebrate small victories [over negativity and self-recrimination] while understanding that you may have days of back-sliding. It’s all a natural part of the learning and growth process.”

Mindfulness and Difficult EmotionsIt’s never too late to apply the skills of awareness.By Sharon Salzberg

Practice: Meditation on Calling Up Difficult Emotions

The article:https://tricycle.org/magazine/mindfulness-and-difficult-emotions/

Sit comfortably or lie down, with your eyes closed or open. Center your attention on the feeling of the breath, wherever it’s easiest for you—just normal, natural breath. If it helps, use the mental note in, out or rising, falling. 

After a few moments of following your breath, consciously bring to mind a difficult or troubling feeling or situation from the recent or distant past, a scenario that holds intense emotion for you—sadness, fear, shame, or anger. Take a moment to fully recall the situation. Doing that isn’t likely to feel comfortable, but stick with it. At any point, you can return to following your breath for respite. 

What bodily sensations accompany the emotions this scenario calls up? See if you can tell where in your body you feel these emotions. When you observe the emotion that has arisen, does your mouth go dry? Are you breathing shallowly? Are you clenching your teeth? Is there a lump in your throat? Whatever is happening in your body, note it. If you can feel the emotion in the body (and we can’t always do that), it gives you a concrete way to disengage from the story and observe the emotion’s changing nature. 

Bring your focus to the part of the body where those sensations are the strongest. You don’t have to do anything about them except be aware of them. Once your attention has moved to the bodily sensations, perhaps say to yourself, it’s okay; whatever it is, it’s okay; I can feel this without pushing it away or getting caught up in it. Stay with the awareness of the feelings in your body and your relationship to them, accepting them, letting them be, softening and opening to them. As you sit with them awhile, do the sensations change? How? 

Remember that often what we are feeling is not just one emotion; grief may include moments of sorrow, moments of fear, of powerlessness, maybe even of relief, anticipation, or curiosity. See if you can break down the emotion into its component parts. Notice all the different things you feel. Are there any positive mind states mixed in with the mostly negative? Any negative mind states flavoring the positive? Staying with the feeling and untangling the various strands may lead you to realize that what you thought was a thick wall of misery is a constantly shifting combination of emotions. The perception alone makes the feelings more manageable. 

You may notice yourself resisting these difficult emotions and the bodily sensations that accompany them—pushing them away and feeling ashamed of them. Or perhaps you find yourself getting pulled into them—replaying an argument, or reliving feelings of rage, helplessness, or humiliation. 

Perhaps the emotions that the thought or situation call up are so upsetting that you start to cry. If you do, that’s okay; it’s part of your experience. You can become aware of how you’re relating to the tears—how your body reacts, what blend of emotions accompanies the crying, what stories you tell yourself about crying. 

If you feel overwhelmed by emotions, use awareness of your breath to anchor your attention in your body. This helps you return to the present moment. If you find yourself thinking I will always feel this way, or If I were stronger/more patient/smarter/kinder I wouldn’t feel this way, return to the simple truth of the moment—sitting and being aware of your breath. See if you can recognize that the emotion is a temporary state, not your total self. 

And when you are ready, open your eyes. Take a deep breath and relax. 

During the day, if a difficult emotion arises, see if you can apply these skills of awareness to it.

Deep Relaxation from Five Good Minutesby Jeffrey Brantley, MD and Wendy Millstine

How often do you wish you could calm down or just relax? Everyone has a built-in capacity for deep relaxation, but they may not appreciate or know how to access it. This practice will teach you a way to connect with your own ability for deep inner relaxation.

  1. Breathe mindfully for about a minute.
  2. Set your intention. For example, “May this practice of deep relaxation bring me health and ease.”
  3. Focus mindfully on the sensations of your breath, in and out.
  4. Imagine that you are inhaling calm and peace. With each
    out-breath, exhale any unnecessary tension in your body.
  5. Breathe this way for a few more minutes. Let the actual flow of your breath support you, bringing in peace and carrying out tension.
  6. End by opening your eyes and moving gently.
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