Nurturing Yourself: A Mother’s Day Mindfulness

nuture yourselfOne of the most important tasks of any mom is to nurture and care for her children.  You may have a great relationship with your mom today or, for any number or reasons, experience strain and tension in your relationship with your mom.  Regardless of your current relationship with your mom or the amount of nurturing you received as a child, it’s important to be able to nurture positive qualities in yourself.

This mindfulness is about identifying a quality that you want to nurture, either in yourself or in your relationship with someone (maybe your mom) that will improve how you feel about yourself or how you relate to that person.  Maybe you want to nurture forgiveness, generosity, kindness, creativity, patience, follow through, determination or loyalty. Or maybe you’d like to nurture openness and communication without defensiveness.

Mental images can influence our actions and abilities.  When tested, athletes who mentally simulated shooting baskets each day out-performed others who hadn’t simulated shooting baskets.

By focusing on a quality you want to nurture you can create a mental image that makes you more likely to act in ways consistent with that quality. Nurturing a desired quality can enable you to align your thinking with your will and behavior.

  1. Find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted and get settled and comfortable.  Sit with either your eyes closed or your gaze focused on one spot to reduce distraction.
  2. Think to yourself about what quality in yourself or your relationships you want to care for, foster or encourage.
  3. Once you’ve identified a quality, focus on your breathing. Tune into your breathing as it comes into your body and leaves your body. Your breathing may naturally slow and deepen, but it’s not necessary to try to change it in any way.
  4. While inhaling think to yourself “I am nurturing X” with X being the quality you identified in the first step.
  5. When you exhale think to yourself “Mindfully breathing.”
  6. After breathing and thinking thinking “I am nurturing X” for several minutes, shift your attention to imagining that you already possess this quality.  Imagine what it feels like to have this quality.  For example, imagine the thoughts you’d have when experiencing this quality, how do you respond to others, is your body tensed or relaxed?
  7. If you are distracted, bring your mind back to the phrase.  If thoughts are triggered about this characteristic, bring your mind back.

Often we turn our care and attention to others and neglect to nurture our own needs.  Taking a few minutes to focus and imagine positive qualities can help you make them more a part of who you are.

Photo by Daniel E. Bruce, available under a Creative Commons attributio license.

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