A friend recently asked me, “How long is it going to take to figure out this life stuff?”
I said, “I don’t want to sound demoralizing, but it’s really a lifetime practice managing your emotions and your stress and your sorrow. It takes a lifetime.”
Mindfulness is a tool that can help us manage these challenging aspects over the course of our lives, and it helps if we don’t take ourselves so seriously all the time.
To acclimate your brain to tapping into mindfulness during challenging times, practice by focusing your mindful attention on what you’re doing during more uneventful times — such as chopping vegetables for a meal, brushing your teeth, taking that first sip of morning coffee, and so on.
Focusing your attention mindfully gives your brain a break from the ruminating you may otherwise be prone to. And the more you practice it during casual, everyday moments, the more easily you will be able to tap into it when more difficult circumstances arise.
And don’t forget humor!
Humor is another self-soothing tool you can use in a mindful way.
If you can learn to crack yourself up (like I do!), it can help break you out of the loop of stressful thoughts and emotions.
For example, one morning a woman I work with told me she would go to church and light a candle for me in support of something I’m going through in my personal life. My reply was, “It might take more than a candle. You might need to burn the place down!”
We both started laughing, and I thought, “Thank goodness for humor!” Sometimes, it really saves my life.
I wish for you tools that work, and light and love and peace! And please, don’t forget to laugh.