Empower Yourself

What does it mean to live mindfully and trust that you are living mindfully?

Living mindfully is applying our full awareness both mentally and emotionally to our life circumstances so that we can live our lives as fully and as meaningfully as possible. To be able to tame our emotional reactions with intelligence is a strength that is highly prized both in work and in our personal lives. Deepak Chopra says that “Mindful living is the highest form of human intelligence.”

Is it wise to trust your mind?

How often have you thought that you’ve understood something – acted on it – only to find out the hard way that it was all a big mistake. If you can relate to this, you probably trusted your ‘gut reaction’, which is usually our immediate response, but sadly not always the sensible response.

So what is the sensible response?

For starters it’s helpful to have an idea about how the brain works. Understanding the role of the amygdala (reacts immediately) with fight-flight-freeze responses will help you to understand why you feel the way you do and also to accept your feelings as they are in the present circumstance. But more importantly, knowing that you can regulate these feelings so that you won’t intentionally offend anyone, or yourself for that matter is hugely empowering . For this to happen you need to use the part of your cerebral cortex, the frontal lobe, which is responsible for modifying the emotions coming from your limbic system (reptilian brain).
This process will translate your feelings into rational thoughts, which can then be communicated in the best way possible, with the least possible fallout. It’s our rational brain that can decide on the future consequences of our actions and on the tone of voice in which we will respond; for example, in an irritatied voice or a kind voice.

Daniel Siegel, psychologist and author, in his book entitled “Mindsight” describes Mindsight as “a kind of focussed attention that allows us to see the internal workings of our own minds.”
Another way of saying it is to stand back (in your mind) and observe yourself, as if you were watching a movie, with you being one of the actors.

• You would be witnessing a particular episode in your life (that was somehow troubling you).
• You would first become aware of your feelings/emotions and name them.
• You would not judge these emotions.
• You would be compassionately curious about your feelings.
• You would try to understand what brought on the feeling, how the feeling feels (name it)
• You would know that you are not your emotions, for example you feel sad but you are not a sad person.
• You would be intent and focus on different scenarios; imagining how you might act differently and how others might act differently in return.
• You would then try acting differently the next time you’re in the same situation.

If the next time you succeed in reacting differently and you get a better response from the people you are with, you should feel assured that you have mastered the art of mindful living. And reward yourself.

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