What does it actually take to operate from a mindful, considered, 'grown-up' place, on a day-to-day basis? With the increasingly popular mindfulness practices, meditation apps, and 'being in the present moment' concepts, all written and talked about wherever we turn, shouldn't we be getting good at it by now? – It all sounds really good, and simple, but sometimes it’s easier to put into words than to put into practice! Especially when we're presented with life’s assorted messes, when the proverbial .... hits the fan and when our buttons are pushed by other people – again and again! It’s not easy, that’s for sure!
But as with anything that’s difficult or 'easier said than done', a few brief guidelines or tips to hang on the fridge can be more practically helpful than the most convincing, eloquently written book or even app.
Short, simple, practical tips can go a long way towards helping us be the mindful, considered person we’d like to be, -in the office, in traffic, at the breakfast table- no matter what others get up to!
Here’s a few such tips I have found to be helpful:
Be in ownership of your emotions. For example, when you feel disturbed or annoyed, label your own feelings rather than people (i.e. ‘I feel frustrated right now.’ rather than ‘You’re so lazy!’)
Be mindful of your own physical needs: Have you slept enough? Are you dehydrated? Hungry? Exhausted? If so, take care of your needs. Once the physical needs have been met, you’ll be better able to manage your emotions.
Be in acknowledgment when your negative emotions aren’t serving you.
Take a Time-Out so you can Take a ‘Time-in’. (A ten-minutes break from a situation, for a few slow breaths and calm self-reflection, can help you self-regulate to problem-solve or at the very least de-escalate the situation.)
Do look for learning and growth in your negative emotions. In the words of my grandmother: ‘Nothing is so bad that it’s not good for something.”
Do respectfully validate other people’s feelings, regardless of what you think of them AND regardless of their age. Nobody's feelings are wrong.
Do place your own agenda aside for just 30 seconds in order to step into someone else’s shoes. What must it feel like to be them right now?
Do not play the blame game or ‘send someone on a guilt-trip!’ It never ends well!
Avoid judging or criticizing others. Whenever you can, acknowledge everyone’s unique path and emotional reality – nobody’s reality is the same.
Do not try to control or change others. (It ain’t possible! Honestly!)
Last but not least, make sure you're having some laughter and play in your life! (Have you noticed how often the Dalai Lama is caught on camera laughing?)