Understand your daily focus
We often hear about mindfulness, but what is it really and why do we do it? Basically, mindfulness is a set of tools you can use when your natural responses are not doing you well. This can be something as simple as deep breathing techniques for calming, exercises to reduce anxiety, or other conscious interventions in the body. In practice, mindfulness is the use of these tools, it’s how we override our nervous system to re-regulate ourselves. Things like anger, fear, and even other, smaller emotions can make us nervous and engage our body in a behavioral pattern. Mindfulness turns off this response and redirects this energy.
In this week’s Daily Focus, I want to look beyond the abstract concept of mindfulness, to practical tools, and what that looks like in basic action. Instead, let’s look at what happens to our mind, nervous system, and life when we start using these strategies unconsciously.
Saturday March 19th
“Unspeakable feelings must be put into words. However, verbalizing very intense feelings can be a difficult task.” –James A Chu
There is a natural disconnect that occurs somewhere between our nervous system recognizing that there is a threat and our ability to articulate what we are feeling. Fear is often just a nebulous mood hanging over things and not something we can control. Part of controlling our emotions and negative thoughts comes from acknowledging them.
Sunday March 20th
“Between every action and reaction there is a space. Normally the space is extremely small because we react so quickly, but perceive and expand this space. In this room, be aware that you have a choice to make.” –Rebecca Eanes
That’s kind of the sticking point for me. Our brains are programmed to recognize and respond to patterns. When something familiar and exciting happens, our bodies already know what to do. But there’s a split second between those two things where we have a chance to reevaluate. The next time you say, “You know what, that’s it,” try opening that little moment and responding differently. Even if you don’t mean it, sometimes going through the motion can provide our brain with a new pattern.
Monday, March 21st
“Emotional regulation comes naturally from the presence of someone we trust.” –Bonnie Badenoch
One of the ways we can begin to open this space is by mimicking the behavior of someone we trust. This is often why a partner, sibling, or parent can calm someone down where other things might fail. Our body and mind recognize the other and find security there. It opens up that split second of reaction and lets thought come into play rather than pure instinct. On the other hand, we should also remember that we can be this for others if they need it.
Tuesday, March 22nd
“Baby deer are born knowing how to run, something that probably saves their lives right away. People are born and only know how to scream. what does that tell you Knowing how to ask for help is the most important thing we can know.”
Sometimes we really need someone to help us break out of our panic, sadness and fear. Sometimes just a hug is enough to make us feel better because we tend to be social by nature. Our greatest strength lies in how we can improve one another, how we can learn from, grow with and encourage others around us. There is so much more in the layers of love, laughter and peace when it’s a shared experience.
Wednesday March 23rd
“You don’t have to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you.” –Dan Millman
It’s kind of a fake-it-til-you-made-it attitude, just pumped up and working in your favor. You don’t have to be completely calm, ready, or feeling good to perform the movements. Sometimes just walking through the plot and saying, “Yes, I understand that I have real concerns, real fear, and real feelings about these things, but I still have to put one foot in front of the other.” That’s it means its Neither controlling nor being controlled by thoughts. Let them come, let them go, and don’t respond directly to them.
Thursday, March 24th
“Meditation practice is not about throwing ourselves away and becoming something better. It’s about befriending what we already are. –Pema Chodron
A good way to be at peace with your thoughts is to stop pushing them away. Sometimes it’s best to just sit with your thoughts, allow them to take shape so you can act on them logically. The best version of yourself isn’t a blank slate, it’s one that takes all the lessons you’ve learned so far and builds on them.
Friday March 25th
“You cannot control the results, only your actions.” –Allan Lokos
Peace comes from letting go. All we can do is be the best version of ourselves, be true to ourselves, respond in a way we won’t regret, let our feelings be heard, and then also understand that it always is There will be things, people and situations that we simply have no control over. And that’s okay. Because we are in control of ourselves, and that’s all anyone in this world really gets.
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