In 2006, I thought that I might have a brain tumor. The wrong words kept coming out of my mouth: “captino” instead of “cappuccino,” “maginal” instead of “magical,” “bunkey burvey” instead of “topsy turvy.”
I went to a neurologist fearing the worst; after a thorough exam the doctor asked me about my life; what my days consisted of, my family constellation, my schedule, and volunteer work. I was a typical baby boomer, sandwiched between three adolescent kids (including identical twin daughters) and aging parents.
He asked me whether I had ever heard of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
He suggested that mindfulness training was what I needed to improve my health.
After eight weeks of MBSR training, I knew that there was much more for me to learn. The scientific research studies showing the positive results of mindfulness were compelling, and the neuroscience behind Mindfulness was fascinating. I took more than ten courses online ranging from brain science to meditation, meditation with compassion, overcoming obstacles to mindfulness, awakening joy, and meditation from several different disciplines just to name a few.
Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), based on the groundbreaking research of Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer was created in 2011. I took the course and I was hooked.
Mindful Self-Compassion was transformational.
Taking mindfulness and adding common humanity and loving-kindness for you is brilliant. It allows you to notice what is arising without judgment (the mindfulness part) and then the common humanity part lets you know in your body that you are not alone in these feelings, which helps prevent feelings of isolation that can lead to depression.
The miraculous part is that you learn 28 different techniques to hold yourself with love and compassion. When you do that, the difficult feelings have a way of softening and sometimes melting away. The point really isn’t to make the bad feelings go away, it’s to be loving and kind to yourself because you feel bad; but I have to admit, feeling better happens a lot of the time!
I have been teaching MSC and my hybrid of MSC, Mindful Methods for Life, since 2014.
When my kids were teens, I would walk away as soon as I could if there was a difficult conversation going on.
I also made a HUGE effort to do things that gave me joy.
Make a list.
Make a list of all the big and little things that give you joy and when the sh*t hits the fan, look at the list and pick something easy that makes you feel good. Some of my easy ones are taking a bath, calling a friend, taking a walk, and listening to music.
You can pick any of the breathing exercises. Breathe in for 5, hold for 6, breathe out for 7. Or in and out for 4, or some other breathing exercise with complicated math. The point is, you are focusing your attention on your breath and counting, so your mind is not on what is bothering you at that moment. You are giving your brain a break.
Download the FREE Insight Timer. Put on your headphones and follow the voice. Choose your duration from 1 minute all the way up to 20 minutes. Pick a voice you like and a title you like and relax.
Do guided meditations when you are in your car (parked!). When you are in the pickup line at your kid’s school, listen to a loving kindness meditation. You will be calmer and less reactive when your little one climbs into the car.
Parenting isn’t for sissies. It helps to have a toolbox filled with Mindful Methods to get you through the day!
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