I'm angry too. Mindfulness can help.

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It’s been a rough week.

The political divide of the midterms, the constant bombardment of political ads- often competing ads back to back, the attempted bombing of civic leaders, and the senseless murder of people trying to pray has left many of us angry, confused, sad and numb.

And then to cap it off, the dog I’m watching for my daughter, peed on my bed. After I took her for a walk.

How are we to continue when our minds don’t know which way to turn? First, just stop. Stop and make a point to return to the present moment away from anxious thoughts. Then breathe. Take several deep breaths, with a longer exhale than inhale to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and slow down your heart rate. Then gently observe what’s going on inside you. What is your body telling you? Where do you feel the tension and stress in your body? Can you consciously release that stress? Keep breathing.

Continue the gentle investigation observing your thoughts. Are the thoughts facts, or stressful and anxious wanderings of the mind? Chances are they are not facts. Be kind to yourself when you observe this pattern of thinking. It’s difficult to construct a wise path forward in the midst of turmoil. Give yourself some space to notice, without judgment, the thoughts and feelings living inside your mind.

There is tremendous power in noticing, in awareness. Harness that awareness and proceed mindfully. Not in autopilot mode, but with a conscious decision, the best decision you can in that moment. It doesn’t have to be the best decision ever in the recorded history of man, but simply the best one you can do with full awareness of your thoughts and feelings, allowing compassion to fill the space where judgement lived.

S-T-O-P. It’s a simple formula. With enough practice you will notice how it changes the way you interact with yourself, and the world.

It’s been a rough week. We all have them. Difficult days and moments when nothing seems to go right. I can’t change the world, but I can change the way I think. That, might make a difference.

Shalom, Peace.