As a therapist, I am constantly finding ways to evolve not only professionally, but as a human being. My evolving process is holistic – spiritual, mental, physical and emotional. Being mindful requires me to be in the present, live in the now and sit with whatever emotion I may be experiencing based on something I perceive as negative at that moment.
When I am not practicing mindfulness, my mind wanders between the past and future instead of focusing on what is happening right in front of me. This can trigger an unproductive, negative reaction.
For example, you go on a job interview and leave feeling like you aced it. Your mind begins to think about the future and all the things the new job can bring. A couple of days goes by and you hear nothing. Your mind now goes to the past, replaying the interview and asking yourself what did “I do wrong?” Since you really wanted “this” job, emotions are running high from not knowing if you got the job or not. Now, you retreat without having all the facts. With all of this going on, it can be hard to be present in your life, flexible in your thinking or not controlled by your emotions. Instead, you are stuck in last week when you had the interview.
When I find myself in this or any related situation, I find a space to sit and do a self-check. I identify what I am feeling mentally (anger, frustration, irritation, etc.). Next, I do a body scan. I ask myself what I feel inside out. I take deep breathes and sit with the emotions instead of fleeing or distracting myself. I do not judge what is going on or what I am feeling as right or wrong. When I do not want to sit with my painful feelings, it is okay! At the least, I recognize them and what they are/mean so that in the event it happens again, I am better equipped at handling myself inside out.
This is definitely easier said than done because the mind can wander, so what I like to do is vent to a nonjudgmental friend &/or instantly write my thoughts down. Every day, I write 30 things that I am grateful for. This helps me stay present.
For every negative, find a positive.Focusing too much on the future causes worry and staying in the past creates guilt and/or regret. None of these emotions add to my well-being although pain is a part of life. However, mental, emotional and physical pain can be reshaped by practicing mindfulness.
No one can change yesterday and tomorrow is not promised. Constantly going between the past and future can be draining and daunting. You deserve peace within your body, mind and spirit.
How mindful are you?
First published on LinkedIn - 4/3/17
I am a determined, loving, loyal and perceptive therapist that helps professional women of color build their self-confidence to build a career and live a life worth living. I listen quietly and attentively remembering details to tell truths that need to be spoken.