I’ve been reflecting on how each of us has our unique struggles and the different ways we meet them. Each day there can be any amount of joy and challenge. But typically, it’s the challenges that can throw us off balance and create stress in our minds, emotions or bodies.
Each one of us can relate to struggles with work, family, relationships, health or situations in your life. Any of these can cause habitual reactions such as worry, anger, feeling hopeless, self blame, criticism or even reaching for comfort in food or other behaviors.
And we know that life is always going to bring us these challenges.
Engaging the experience allows us to change the response and empowers us to feel differently no matter what the circumstance may be.
So how do we do that?
Here is something that I know works.
Instead of beating yourself up, giving up or just moving on with your day as usual; imagine softening and staying with what you are feeling. Can you try to stay present with what is happening? Take a breath and bring kindness to meet it with curiosity?
Choosing a different approach means we interrupt our habitual response and develop a new habit that is softer, kinder and helps cultivate more possibility.
The next time you find yourself reacting to a situation
- Identify what is happening and stay present. This helps you create space. You can develop feeling more neutral towards the situation and less reactive. (Connecting to your breath consciously is a simple tool to assist you in staying present.)
- Develop a kind and curious relationship to the situation and reaction. This helps you to stop fighting what is happening and accept the situation. This acceptance is an active practice to stay present without judgement and acknowledge it is temporary.
- This practice trains your awareness and allows for so much more possibility in how you respond and feel in any circumstance.
Directly engaging yourself in the midst of the habit allows a different region of your brain to join the conversation. It’s a region that helps you stay clear in simply witnessing what is happening without getting overwhelmed or triggered. This means you can feel more rational and less emotionally stuck.
The next time you notice you are experiencing a situation with a response that feels unpleasant, stressful or defeating, try saying this to yourself:
“My dear friend, I see this situation is challenging. Take a deep breath and just relax into your body a little bit. Let’s take a moment to simply notice what’s happening. There might be other perspectives we can discover.”
This is a simple place to begin engaging the moment with clarity, kindness and resource. You can continue with gentle questions to learn more about this habitual response or revisit the event when you have more time to reflect. (Feel free to substitute any of the statement words above with some of your own.)
Listen to anything your mind and body bring forward. Be open without judgement and remember to also trust your intuition.
Notice how your body feels when you can interrupt the habitual reaction, breathe and create space in the present moment. Continually observe the process and find your own guidance towards what next steps might support you cultivating this new relationship. Remember that whatever you choose is perfect for you right now.
Life inevitably has challenges…but how we feel about it is optional.
Thank you for reading.
So much love, Jacqueline