Mindfulness meditation can be immensely healing, especially if you’re on a path to self-love. As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, I’m working to overcome negative internal dialogue spurred by multiple situations in my life. I discussed accepting the need to make a change and how you too can remove yourself from the cycle of negativity brought on by others.
My healing process is rooted in being mindful and aware of the present (rather than worrying about the future or overthinking the past) through meditative practices. In simple terms, the goal of meditation is to acutely focus on the present, listen to your intuition, and acknowledge thoughts, good and bad. You can do this through mindful, focused movements, breaths, and visualizations.
Being fully present and listening to your inner voice will make you calm, collected, and truly part of each moment, rather than being distracted by negative talk. Can you add one of these self-care activities to your day?
Being Mindful with Breath Work
Focused inhales and exhales help manage our body’s physical stress response, and in turn, lowers blood pressure, according to Dr. Naomi Fisher, an endocrinologist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Taking a deep breath before replying to a negative comment is all it takes to realize it’s not worth your energy to perpetuate the situation with retaliatory remarks.
Sit in a comfortable position, and take a long inhale through your nose. Notice how it feels to fill your lungs. Can you feel the air moving up your nostrils? Do you smell any scents? Can you feel your chest rising? Pause for a moment, then exhale slowly. Can you feel the air moving across your top lip? Do you notice your chest relaxing? Do this three or four times with complete attention on your breath. If you can’t tune out the world around you, add in guided mediation.
Finding Clarity with Guided Meditation
One of my yoga teachers started a recent class with a guided mediation that has stuck with me. We visualized getting rid of the things cluttering our minds so we could focus on the present. I thought it seemed odd at first, but now I do it daily to give my full attention to each situation.
With your eyes closed, imagine yourself in a doorway. One by one acknowledge what’s consuming your mind. For me, the list initially included things like what I was making for lunch, upcoming project deadlines, and wondering if I said the wrong thing in a recent phone conversation.
I created visuals of each thought, accepted them, then placed them in a little bubble and blew them away from me. As they drifted away, I felt lighter. None of those things needed my attention at that moment. By the end of the guided mediation, my mind was open. Once you can do this, your intuition becomes loud and clear. You’re no longer suppressing the helpful guidance your mind and body give you.
Staying Positive with Daily Affirmations
I’ve decided I no longer want negative feelings to rob me of my joy, so I repeat positive words to myself daily. I enjoy mantras, intentions, or affirmations. They’re simple phrases you can repeat to yourself throughout the day to stay rooted in mindfulness. Some of my mantras include: “be here,” “slow down,” “let it go,” and “stay focused.”
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by negative thoughts and feelings, repeat your mantra and remember that we often can’t control what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond.
Trying Mindful Movement
For something extra, go to a Yin Yoga class that’s highly focused on meditation and slow stretches. You don’t have to keep up with a flowing sequence or know any poses to get started. Yin classes are often mentally difficult for beginners because you’re challenged to sit in silence, without fidgeting. This type of structure is usually what we need most when we feel inundated with negative thoughts.
Using these tips for staying mindful, grounded, and present in your life, you’ll be well on the path to self-love. It’s a long process and requires hard work and internal reflection, but it can help you feel more positive and focused. In the third and final article in this self-love series, I’ll discuss finding balance in your life between tough daily situations and practicing mindful activities.
We’d love to know how you’re controlling negative thoughts. Have you started a mindfulness meditation practice that you’d like to share? Tweet us using #GoodMatters.
Image source: Angela Tague
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