Mindfulness and our habits – Step 6

This post is nearly the last one about mindfulness for this month. I will describe the last exercise, which is the last step to fulfil a session of mindfulness action.
If you read a few of the exercises in a row, you probably recognise a pattern: every next phase includes all previous steps. That means when we put the last two steps to all past five we are going to have one full session of a mindfulness act. OK, let’s go:

Step  No.6

This one is about habits. I wrote about habits earlier here and how one can change them. Today the topic of exercise No.6 is similar:  how to deal with our feeling despite our habits.
I write consciously “despite” because I’d like to put your attention on the resistance that you probably are going to feel trying to act mindedness.

Why does this resistance appear?

Because of our habits, which are part of our personality. Those are the habits which we learned like children already. This is the way how we are used to acting when we are sad, or when we are happy; how we act in publish spaces and how we react at home— those are the habits that we learn in our family. They can be adamant which meant the resistance against mindfulness acting could be adamant as well.
For example, some people learn that adult never screams on each other. If you are angry, you have to put your anger under control and then talk to the other.
Or, some other people learn that it is not allowed to be disappointed. Even if you don’t get what you want, it’s not allowed to cry or to be sad; you have to stay polite and friendly.
When a person with this attitude becomes furious because of a disappointment, and it is not allowed to show this, it is like a presser cooker without the outgoing air vent. It could be a disaster.

So, what is the solution?

First: become aware of your old habits. If you know yourself well, and even better if you know your family, then it is quite easy to figure out what you have been learned about feelings.
Second: when you are in the “cooking” situation, try to remember the mindfulness steps.
Try it at least to call them to the top of your mind, even if you not able practice them at this moment.
And then: count to ten, before you do anything.
This is not in the book of Jessica Wilker, it is my experience, which helps me a lot. It is a good way to avoid complications when you are high emotional and expressive person.
Humour is a good solution, probably the best one anyway. It doesn’t work immediately, but after a few moments, you could probably see the current situation as funny, sarcastic or ironical or in a way that makes you smile.
You can try to laugh even if you don’t find anything humorous. Studies show that stretching the face muscles as if you are laughing makes one feel better and this person could even start smiling naturally. So, try a smile!

And how the 6th exercise works?

Start in the morning again when you wake up and get aware of the position of your body, how does it feel in the bed, on the mattress, under the blanket.
Then become aware of your feelings, if they are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. As next become conscious of the way, your feeling shows in the body, where does it show.

When you are ready with this, make a decision what you would like to do next, probably get up or stay for another five minutes in bed.
Then try to do what you decided as mindfulness as you can. For example folding back the folder, sitting up, putting one leg on the floor, and then the another.
At the end of the exercise bring the attention back to the body and its current position and feelings.

Repeat the exercise during the day, whenever it suits you.

Be aware of body – Be aware of feeling
Be aware of feeling in the body
Be aware of judgements
Make decision
Act on decision with mindfulness
Be aware of body
Finish exercise

by Jessika Wilker

This is the exercise, but how this affect our habits?
Becoming aware of what happen to us because of our feelings, we have the opportunity to decide how to act. To change habits which we’ve got since childhood is not an easy job. But becoming aware of those and aware of the way how they affect our acting and thinking is a first step on the way of creating more space for us to act differently than our habits. At the moment when we start a little bit different than usual and possible with good results, we start to create a new path, our body and mind start to learn something new and this an opportunity to get something change.

For this reason: keep practising and stay aware.

Yours, Eva


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