When a relationship ends, regardless of whose decision it was, there is often a sense of loss accompanied by a period when we question our choices and our values. This sense of loss is perhaps a disappointment in ourselves for our perceived ‘failure’, possibly due to our concern for our children, or potentially due to undeniably missing the intimate bond we once had with our partner. This sense of loss and the questioning is human nature and to be expected. The bad news is that we can occasionally get caught up in the emotions affiliated with the questioning. Rumination (over-thinking) ensues and our inner-critic is cued, both of which can lead to self-doubt, anxiety and depression.
The good news is that you have the ability to prevent these ruminations and manage your emotions in a manner that boosts your confidence, stabilises your thoughts and can even help you sleep at night. This ability lies in the practice of mindfulness and its’ capacity to empower you is limitless.
Defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is ‘the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgement’. The simplest way to begin practicing mindfulness is through breath awareness, although it can be practiced through essentially any activity by simply focusing your attention on what you are doing. Initially during this process, your thoughts will refuse to be tethered, behaving like little pests popping up regularly. These thoughts will attempt to distract you, but only as much as you allow them to. This is completely normal, and part of the process ~ you simply recognise the thoughts, dismiss them and return your attention back to what it was you were focusing on.
Starting a mindfulness practice can be easy for some and challenging for others. The first thing is to understand that the aim is to become aware of distracting thoughts, not to switch them off. Next follow these helpful tips to start your mindfulness journey.
Tips for Beginning a Mindfulness Practice
Select a time of day that works for you and dedicate this time each day.
Start small with 2 minutes and build up to 20 minutes over a few weeks or months.
Persist in the face of obstacles & distracting thoughts.
Try applying to any routine activity such as showering, brushing your teeth or eating.
Try a few different APPS and see which one works for you.
There are plenty of APPS that can help with guided meditations ranging from breath awareness to body scans. Headspace is a popular paid APP that keeps track of your progress and offers various themes through life’s transitions. Smiling Mind is an Australian based not-for-profit APP that also maintains your profile and offers you themes to work with. Insight Timer is free, maintains a profile and offers a variety of meditations from teachers across the globe
Mindfulness has countless benefits and plenty of scientific evidence supporting its’ effectiveness, despite recent mainstream media review. Many organisations are now using mindfulness to increase productivity and performance, to bolster stress management programs and elevate employee engagement. Mindful Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program that offers those from all walks of life an 8-week course-based approach with others, to learn about mindfulness with a practical foundation that teaches the basics. Alternatively, you can source a one-on-one coach to help you begin your mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness is a gift that we all have and can utilise throughout life, regardless of what we are going through. I’ll leave you with a quote from Eckhart Tolle that helped me understand the core of mindfulness and truly resonated when I was going through a transition:
“What a liberation to realise the voice in my head is not who I am”.
Having a one-on-one coach to support you during this transition can assist with the feelings, emotions and uncertainty you may be faced with. Contact Kirsten today to harness your strengths and empower you during this challenging time.