😐 When we try to suppress or push away negative thoughts and feelings, it can make them stronger. 😳 Acknowledging them, and allowing them to be there, might start to loosen the grip that resistance creates. Noticing any sensations in the body associated with the thoughts and feelings, (eg clenched jaw, tense shoulders, frown, tight feeling in throat, churning in belly) and maybe saying to yourself "it's ok to feel sad / angry / anxious". AND "it's ok not to like feeling this way". Placing a hand to chest or belly, as a gesture of self support. ✋ Then along with this, can you become aware of any other body sensations that feel more neutral, where there may be a sense of steadiness or ease? Eg feet touching the floor, the movement of the breath, buttocks touching chair, sensations in the hands. 👣 Gently expanding to take in the wholeness of experience. Sensations of warmth, coolness, sounds you can hear, the colours and textures of the world around you. Any smells or tastes. 🌍 Maybe the sadness / anger / anxiety / whatever can coexist with other aspects of your experience, rather than taking it over completely? ❤️
This is one of the most challenging, but rewarding elements of mindfulness practice. Instead of the habit of pushing away what we don't want, and trying to pull towards us what we do want, we practice noticing all these thoughts, feelings, and sensations, and gently being with our experience, just as it is.
We can also notice that although our thoughts are powerful and real, they are not necessarily true. As the saying goes, "thoughts are not facts, even the ones that say they are". By noticing our thought patterns, allowing them to be there, but gently naming them, gently disengaging from being so immersed in them, we can potentially get less caught up in unhelpful analysing, ruminating, over-thinking, being self-critical, beating ourselves up, etc etc. This is a gift of self care that is potentially profoundly healing and empowering.
The best way to learn this and embed it into your daily life is to do an 8 week Mindfulness course - learning these skills in a supportive group, with a trained and experienced teacher. Sound good? My next course will start in September 2019 in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Click here for details.