Mindfulness isn’t about being happy all the time. It’s about accepting the moment we are in and feeling whatever we feel without trying to judge, criticize, resist, or control it.
Focusing too much on happiness or the expectation of happiness, can actually be counterproductive, leading to an unhealthy attitude towards negative emotions and experiences. Practicing mindfulness does not mean avoiding negative emotions or always looking on the bright side. It means accepting both positive and negative emotions and sitting with them. Accepting the dialectic; positive and negative feelings can share the same space at the same time. Our culture tends towards an “either / or” mentality. I feel either happy or I feel sad, yet reality is that we may feel both, as well as confused, overwhelmed, motivated all at the same time.
Practice today. Spend 5 minutes breathing mindfully and observing your feelings. Notice your tendency to begin applying judgments or solutions to the feelings you observe in yourself. Gently bring your mind back to just observing and describing what your feelings are. Many of my clients find that using an affirmation such as “just be” as they breath in and out can help keep them in a space of neutral observation. I find that this exercise of observing without judging can be applied during yoga practice as well. Whether we apply it to our feelings and thoughts about our emotions, our bodies, our relationships, there is power in mindfully, intentionally sitting and holding space for the feelings that are!
Happy Weekend to You!