The world seems to be filled with chaos of all kinds. Every minute of the day we can be bombarded with words, images, feelings coming from all directions. Chaos exists in the things we want to control but cannot. We can expend an enormous amount of energy trying to desperately control everything around us and be consumed by what we see, hear or experience in the world. Mindfulness allows us to calm ourselves and focus our energy on the present moment inside our own mind and bodies. Mindfulness allows us to be proactive instead of reactive and allows us to have margin instead of being overwhelmed. Mindfulness can be accomplished in a variety of ways including meditation, paying attention to your body and your thoughts, focusing on your breath, active listening, and acceptance of the present moment among others. Hopefully, these quotes can get you started on practicing everyday mindfulness.
Practice mindfulness daily, make a habit of it and find your way to less chaos and more peace.
These are uncertain times and our minds can be full of worry and fear. Uncertainty breeds fear. The unknown can be a very scary thing.
Even in times like these, we can find ways to have a mind full of calm. With all of our social-distancing and quarantine, many of us find ourselves with time we need to fill. We can fill it with worry and fear or we can fill it with calm.
Many people still view meditation as some foreign concept that they believe they cannot do. They see it as getting rid of all thoughts, which they feel is an impossible task. It is something very much different than that, however.
Meditation is about the recognition of thought, the acknowledgement of thought, and the releasing of thought. In much the same way as imagining thoughts on clouds and those clouds being allowed to go on their way.
Meditation is about knowing the thoughts we have, confronting them, but not allowing them to take root and take over our minds.
Meditation offers a place of calm in a sea of turmoil.
Many of my younger clients, who are accustomed to constant input and digital interaction, think meditation is boring. It can be difficult to get started, but like any other habit, it can be done just a little at a time and increased slowly becoming a habit over time.
There are several apps that we can use for meditation and these seem to really work well for our digitally oriented minds. Perhaps if you give one of these a genuine try, you might find a mind full of calm for yourself.
I am not in any way affiliated with any of these apps. All of these apps are free to download and use and offer other in app purchases to expand their use.
1 — Headspace. Possibly one of the most well known of the meditation apps offering guided meditations of varying time to get you started on your journey. Meditations of as little as 1 minute can get you started on your way to a mind full of calm.
2 — Calm. Another well-known meditation app. It also offers guided meditations as well as seven and 21-day programs for beginners.
3 — Insight Timer. This app offers both guided and unguided meditations. You can set a timer and sit without guidance or choose guided meditations with mindfulness teachers.
4 — Aura. This app features daily meditations, mood tracking, and nature sounds. You can also set timers to take breaks and do breathing throughout the day.
5 — Smiling Mind. This app offers simple, 10-minute meditations that are broken down by age group. It covers age seven to adults with these meditations. So this app is a great starter for younger kids and teens.
Starting with just a single minute a day, you can find ways to manage your fears and worries and calm your mind.
Navigating the uncertainty and managing social-distancing and quarantine can be made easier if you have a mind full of calm.
It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos. ~ Donna Karan
I am reposting this piece as I think a lot of people are currently struggling with this due to fears of the future surrounding coronavirus case increases.
Most people and their minds spend time in two places – the past and the present. Very few, spend time in the right now. Even when they think they are in the right now, what they are thinking, feeling, and doing is informed by their continued issues with the past or their fear of the future.
The right now is rarely separated out, alone, to become their focus, their only focus.
When we feel overwhelmed it is usually because we have allowed events, feelings, memories of the past to “infect” our present. We have not processed these things and we continue to carry them with us making them our reality. They all have a starting place usually not one of our own making but we make them our truths. And we are convinced that everything we are experiencing right now is a result of the past.
We unpack the bags we carry all that stuff in and start attaching the stuff to everything going on in our lives. Sometimes consciously sometimes unconsciously. It just becomes who we are.
We become accustomed to the pain of things and afraid to live our lives without it.
We also pretend we are psychic and can see into the future. We predict the outcome of everything that is happening to us. We make it bigger, more scary, more upsetting. We go to worst case scenarios. We believe our lives will always be the way they are now.
We predict everything including death as we make catastrophes at every moment of our lives. And we believe that this future we create is actually going to happen as if we have some magic machine to make it so.
Guess what? We don’t and we can’t. It’s all made up.
What if we lived in the right now? With nothing added. Trimmed down to the barest essence of this moment. How would we change our stress or depression or anger? In any moment ask yourself the following:
What am I feeling right now? Name it, acknowledge it, examine it, do not grow it, entertain it, live in it. Do not make it about the past or future. If you are upset, why right now are you upset, what happened exactly right now? What can you do about it, anything,nothing? Let it go.
What am I doing right now? Standing, sitting, walking, driving, working. Name it, describe it, notice it. Notice your senses right now what do you see, smell, touch, taste, hear right now.
Breathe slowly. In through the nose out through the mouth. Breathe in hold for 4 seconds then breathe out for 7 seconds. Notice the breathe, notice your body, notice your feelings.
Do not unpack the baggage of the past or predict the future. Stay in the right now.
We suffer first because of what we experience due to either our own choices or the choices of others. We experience suffering thereafter because of the way we live in the past and predict the future. We extend our own suffering and become used to it, sometimes even comfortable with it. We can even become afraid not to have it because we feel we deserve to be angry, sad, scared in order to be who we have come to be.
If we let that go, who will we be then without it?
If you want to find out who that person is, live in the now. Only the right now. Once you do that, it is easier to look at the past objectively and work through it and it is easier to see a future that is a blank slate waiting for you to write on it.
Most of the time, our minds are on automatic pilot. The every day activities we repeat over and over are done without thought. Even in the doing of them, we do not think about WHAT we are doing and HOW we are experiencing it. Have you ever been driving from place to place and you cannot remember anything about the drive – the other cars, buildings, signs, traffic signals? Taking a shower, eating, getting dressed, cleaning the house, cooking, being on electronics are just some of the examples of automatic pilot living. We do it, but we experience none of it.
The other way our minds exist most of the time is trapped in our own thoughts, especially negative thoughts. These are also automatic or they become automatic over time. They take up all the space in our minds and we have room for nothing else. We experience nothing in our daily lives outside of these thoughts. They keep our mind full and prevent us from being MINDFUL.
Mindfulness is not the absence of thought. Mindfulness is not a single thing such as meditation or breathing. Mindfulness is not a religion. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in a particular way and doing it on purpose or by choice (action) in the right now (this moment) without making judgments. Paying attention in a particular way can be using breathing, muscle relaxation, grounding, eating, and many other ways. Doing it on purpose requires that a choice be made to do it and action done for the experience of it – a conscious effort. In the right now, is this moment in time, not backwards or forwards, now, this second. Not making judgments means that thoughts come and go, emotions come and go we do not hold on to them, we do not form judgments about them positive or negative, we notice them and we let them go.
Mindfulness does not have to be a time consuming process. But it does need to be done regularly. If you are mindful once a month, it will make little difference to your overall state of being. If you want to change certain things about your life, you must change what you do. Mindfulness can be incorporated every day, little by little, starting with a single automatic pilot activity. Change starts with a single choice, repeatedly done, until the change becomes our automatic way of being.
These links can help you get started with becoming more mindful, living in the present moment, and being less judgmental about yourself and your thoughts/feelings:
Mindful Montana Wellness, LLC Professional Counseling Services Blog
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “Most folks are as happy as they make their minds up to be.” When I present happiness as a choice to many people, they will many times look at me as if I have lobsters coming out of my head. As if this is an absolutely false statement and that there is no way people can choose to be happy.
While they are looking at me in disbelief, they are also telling me all the reasons they cannot choose to be happy. They were sexually or physically abused, their parents divorced or their parents abandoned them in some way, their family was or is dysfunctional, they were or are being bullied, their relationships with family and others were or are bad or difficult, they believe they are bad or damaged or ugly or stupid or any number of other negative thoughts and lies they have told themselves, people have done or are doing this and it MAKES them unhappy, or any number of other things as a reason for why they cannot be happy. They go on to say how they just can’t let that go and choose to be happy.
Why not? People choose to be unhappy. They choose to let the past, events, people, their own thoughts make them sad or anxious. We aren’t born sad. We become sad because we let the things that happen to us and around us make us believe negative things about ourselves. We feel responsible and blame ourselves or we feel victimized and blame others or events. Then we become unhappy. We are made unhappy by our own thoughts about people and events.
I am not saying that traumatic events are not sad or upsetting, they are. It is natural to feel these emotions at the time of the events and even for some time after, but when they become the thing that drives every emotion, every choice, every thought after that every day of your life – you are making a choice every day when you wake up that unhappy is how you will feel. No other emotion or thought is given a chance to see the light of day.
How then do you choose happy? You come to the truth of what started you on the path of unhappiness. You process exactly what happened, who was at fault, and how to walk through it not live in it. Sometimes people need help to do this and that is where counseling comes in. Once you have made this journey, you can then begin to let those things go as rulers of your life and mind. And replace them with what is happening right now, this moment and making the choice every single day and yes every single moment to choose happy. Just as the choice was made up to this point to be unhappy over and over millions of times a day, the choice can be made to be happy over and over millions of times a day.
Today, when the negative thoughts and emotions you have return, take a few seconds and counter them with a positive. There are always, always positives if you look for them, notice them, say them, write them down. They can be big or very very small things. Today, for every negative thought, emotion, memory insert something positive. If you have hours a day to spend on negative things, you have hours a day to spend on positive. It is all in what you think, what yous say, what you do, what you let go of, what you replace.
You have the power, not events, not people, not the past, not the future, to make you happy or unhappy. Choose happy.
Until next time,
Mindful Montana Wellness, LLC is accepting new clients in Billings Montana (and video/online clients in all of Montana) – girls and women – for professional counseling. To schedule a FREE initial consultation call 406-413-9904, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Facebook page Mindful Montana Wellness on Facebook
Mindful Montana Wellness, LLC Professional Counseling Services Blog
Humans are content to remain in the comfort of the familiar. They dislike change. They dislike the unknown. They fear letting go of what they know. They fear letting go of what they are used to. Where they live their lives.
If you let go of the things that have taken up residence in your minds, in your hearts, in your emotions, what then takes the place of that? If you let go of negative things that you have built your life around, what comes next? Something worse or something better? The truth is, until you let go of the things you are familiar with, you will never know what waits for you. You will make assumptions about what it is, and they will take the form you choose, negative or positive, but the truth is not discovered until you let go of what has become comfortable. What is familiar. What you have decided to live with, blame yourself for, hurt over, be sad over, be stuck in.
How do we gain the strength to venture into the discomfort of the unfamiliar? By peeling off the layers of the familiar in which we live. Years spent in adding more and more to what we are comfortable with, what we allow ourselves to wallow in, what we choose to feel every day, what we never stop thinking about. How do we undo this damage? One layer at a time.
In my practice, I always have a worst first approach. If you cannot work through the worst thing first, you cannot get beyond anything that comes after. Everything else is informed by what happened first – what affects you most – what worst is for you. Everything else follows along after that, is added to that, is layered on to that. It is the hardest place to start and it is the most important for letting go, for learning lessons, and for moving on.
The comfort of the familiar is very difficult to change because it is frightening. The layers we have added provide a way to not look at the things that started us on the path we walk over and over day after day going nowhere. If we remove the layers, then we have to look at the truth and the truth is scary, difficult, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar.
Freedom is the only condition for happiness – letting go gives us happiness. If we truly desire to be free of events, thoughts, emotions that keep us stuck – we must let go – to move towards happiness.
Until next time,
If you feel stuck in the comfort of the familiar of your past, perhaps counseling can help you find freedom. Call 406-413-9904 or email email@example.com or click the BOOK button on Facebook to schedule a FREE initial counseling consultation.
In all of the universe there is only one thing any of us can control – ourselves. Our circle of control resides inside our skin bag and there alone. Any other belief that we can control anything else is a lie we tell ourselves to attempt to either make things easier or justify our actions.
Most of our lives are spent in the false belief that we can control other people, events, or emotions. We spend so much of our time and energy focused on how we can alter how other people behave or feel, change things that have happened or alter things that will happen. We rarely take the time to realize that our circle of control is again only that which is within ourselves. The belief that we can shape other people into what we want them to be is one of the main causes of our internal struggle that leads to anger, depression, anxiety, and frustration.
When the urge to control things outside of ourselves takes over, we must confront it with the acceptance that we cannot control anything but ourselves and our own reactions. We cannot change anyone else. We cannot change how they feel or how they behave. We can only control our reactions to what they do. Also remembering that nothing anyone does or says is about us – not taking anything personally.
It can be very difficult to master this letting go of control. Humans as a species are genetically wired to take control of any environment, dominate it, shape it to their needs, however we cannot control as much as we would like to believe. It can be very hard to let go of this idea of control and focus on only what we can do. We let our emotions drive us. We love someone, even when it is not good for us at times, and we want to change them so we can keep loving them, but they won’t change. We end up in a constant battle of knowing we cannot succeed and banging our head on the wall continually trying to make it into what we want. This only causes us more suffering, more frustration.
Control yourself. Two words. It sounds easy enough but it is in fact one of the hardest things to do. It takes work, it takes sacrifice, it takes practice to let go of the belief that we can control everything and everyone around us. If we can, we can minimize or even eliminate much of the pain and suffering we cause ourselves.
Control yourself – your emotions, your reactions.
Never take anything personally – nothing other people do or say is about you.
Let go of control – everything and everyone else outside of yourself.
Until next time,
If you are feeling that you need help learning how to control yourself and let go of control of others, you can make an appointment for a FREE initial consultation by calling 406-413-9904 or email firstname.lastname@example.org