Mindfulness through Life Changes
When things are changing in our lives, we tend to want to hold onto the past or hurry up and get to the next stage, or the conclusion. We end up missing the present when we are so focused on the past or the future. We also end up feeling very stressed and uncomfortable due to constantly trying to resist the change or control things that we don’t have any control over. We can’t go back in time and change things. And we can’t hurry up time and get to the future any faster. And because our feelings of stress don’t get the results that we want, we feel ineffective and disappointed.
Mindfulness is simply being present in this moment. Present with your body, your sensory experience, your thoughts and emotions that are happening right now. Using mindfulness during life changes can help ease stress related to what we hoped would happen verses accepting what is actually happening.
Ways to Use Mindfulness
1. Work on acceptance
o Accept that things are changing in your life and that resisting the change is not effectively stopping the change.
o Accept where your life is right now and see the value in the process.
o Accept that we might not get all the answers to the questions we have about why things are changing.
2. Take an action
o Stop deciding what you should have done or could have done in the past – you don’t know that those decisions would have had different or better results
o Stop trying to react to every possible thing that could happen in the future – those things may never happen and worrying about them ahead of time doesn’t prevent them from happening
o Figure out what you can do now – either make amends for something in the past or prepare or plan for something in the future
3. Change the way you feel about the change
o Find a lesson in the change or the circumstances that caused the change
o Intentionally think about the positive outcomes, not just the things that can go wrong
4. Simply notice your breathing, sensory experience, thoughts and feelings in any given moment.
o Take 10 deep breaths
o Notice the things you see, hear, touch, or smell around you
o Write down your thoughts – even the completely irrational ones
o Notice what you are feeling – not just the surface level emotions
o Notice any tension in your body