“They bit off more than they could chew, and then they chewed it.”
Â Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin,Â The Longevity Project:
Surprising DiscoveriesÂ for Health and Long Life
from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study
In this exercise, weÂ attend to our unpleasantÂ thoughts,Â feelings,memoriesÂ or physiological states by harnessing the power ofÂ our gentleÂ and observant mind.Â It turns out that if we identify and make room for theÂ unpleasant,Â it loses some of its hold on us!
- When you firstÂ notice an unpleasantÂ thought or feeling or body sensation,Â invite it toÂ be present while you focus on it.Â Â SimplyÂ allow it toÂ exist… without any judgments or evaluations… without denial or resistance. After all, if you noticeÂ it, it already exists!
- Next,Â assignÂ a light and looseÂ labelÂ to the unpleasant state.Â Â Give itÂ a name like “pain” or “irritation” orÂ “stomach ache”… even “Ouch.” Â Frequently, namingÂ an unpleasant experience frees us from beingÂ stuck with it demanding our attention.Â Remember, ourÂ brain likes closure… and naming providesÂ aÂ bit of closure.
- AfterÂ you recognize and name your unpleasant state,Â explore its impact on you.Â Â How does the unpleasant state feel in your body?Â How does it move you to think…Â feel…Â or act?Â What doesÂ it Â teach you about YOU?
- Finally,Â recognize that unpleasant states areÂ part of our human existenceÂ and “Of course” weÂ don’tÂ have to likeÂ them!Â Â Breathe in and out as you say to yourself something like, “It’s okay” or “I’m okay” or “This, too, shall pass” … anyÂ mantra that brings youÂ greater ease.
Remind yourself that you have tolerated unpleasant states before and will tolerate them again. In fact, there is growing evidence to support that you are stronger forÂ having faced them.
According to psychologists Friedman and Martin, it’s one of the waysÂ weÂ build the strength to live the life that matters to us!
Â© Copyright 2014 Maria Hunt