Our body’s response is an important component of an emotional reaction to any event. If you’ve ever been criticized in public and found your face heated and your heart pounding, you’ve experienced your body’s reaction to shame or humiliation.
When you mention mindfulness, many people immediately imagine Buddhist monks, sitting in the lotus position meditating. If you are unaware of how mindfulness can be incorporated into many aspects of life, it can seem impractical in the midst of the pressures, demands and hassles that most people encounter every day.
However, practicing mindfulness-- defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as the process of paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally-- can have a significant impact on our functioning. It can improve your ability to focus, as well as your ability to manage intense or painful emotions. Continue reading “Can Mindfulness Transform Feelings?” »
The ability to put verbal labels to behavioral, environmental and emotional events is essential to both communication and to self- control. Choose an experience that often makes you emotional and practice putting that experience into words. Describe to yourself what is happening and put a name on your feelings and thoughts. If a feeling arises, say to yourself “I am feeling sad/mad/happy” etc. If you have a thought, say to yourself, “I am having the thought ‘I can’t do this’” Or whatever the thought might be. Applying verbal labels to internal thoughts and feelings, as well as behavioral and environmental events helps us to separate ourselves from the situation. We lose our reactivity and can choose which thoughts and feelings to respond to and which to allow to pass by.