A healthier relationship with your thoughts and emotions.
| A healthier relationship with your thoughts and emotions
At the beginning of a journey toward a more mindful lifestyle, it is common to be somewhat unaware of many thoughts and emotions. You may realize that you are unhappy, but you may not be aware of the reason for your feelings. Or you might well be aware of the root of your emotions, but are trapped in a spiral of repetitive thoughts about the problem. Being unaware of ourselves can lend to the manifestation of certain illogical and unflattering behaviors, for example engaging in a pointless argument or perhaps not greeting someone because you are lost in your thoughts. This is not something to beat yourself up about, but it is certainly something to address. When the mind and heart are being suppressed they tend to express themselves in whatever way they can. Remember, you are not your emotions, and you are most definitely not your thoughts. Both of these elements within us are subject to continuous change. It is possible to break free of a negative mindset or mood. However, without conscious attention to thoughts and feelings, we reduce the amount of control that we have over our reaction to any given situation.
So how can we learn to identify and accept our thoughts and emotions? To start with, it is useful to consciously check in with them every day for at least a few minutes. In the midst of our busy lives, it can be easy to forget to listen to our deeper thoughts and feelings. That is why it is a good idea to think about your daily routine, and pick a set time when you will check in with yourself. Perhaps you have some time to think on your commute to work, or maybe you can connect with your inner being while waiting in line at the supermarket, you may even find the time to briefly reflect while you are using the rest room. Whenever you have a moment to spare, try to use this time to check in with yourself. Consider your daily activities now, and try to pick a time that will work for you each day. You are the one who can decide where and when to check in.
Now that you have figured out a time to fit in a short period of reflection, let us take a look at how to go about the process of identifying thoughts and feelings. Begin by taking a deep breath and thanking your thoughts and emotions for being a part of you. Try not to be afraid of engaging with them, for without them, you would not be able to hear the messages of your soul. Shift your perspective toward regarding them as your closest friends, visitors that pass through your consciousness. Become aware of "who" is visiting you at that moment and remember that you are the host of these guests. Greet them with respect and listen to what they have to say. Respond to their needs and desires to the best of your ability, providing some with encouragement and others with affirmation. Some may even need your reasoning and logic skills to direct them toward a higher understanding. Whatever they are saying and feeling, do not judge them, simply accept them as they are and try to lift their spirits as much as possible.
At times, it will be easy to identify your thoughts and emotions. At other times, they will be more elusive. When you are having difficulty pinning down the way that you are feeling and making sense of what is in your head, try to work with the following template:
Begin by describing your situation in every detail (when, where, who or what)
Take note of your initial "automatic" thoughts
Pay attention to your mood and try to name it within your vocabulary of emotions
Become aware of where you feel these emotions in your body
Assess any impulses to take action that you may have
It may be of benefit to you to keep a list of this strategy in your phone, that you may access it at any time of need. By using this template, you will be better able to understand yourself thereby improving your chance of responding to any situation with dignity, grace and honor. By treating your thoughts and emotions as friends, you will be able to achieve a state of inner harmony and gain deeper insight into your values, beliefs and life purpose. Through addressing our feelings and our minds, we can attain a state of balance while remaining authentic and kind. When we learn to master ourselves in this way, we are practicing self-respect which in turn will be mirrored through our actions to anyone who crosses our path.