Mindfulness Practices for Calm, Self-Compassion and Happiness
By ELISHA GOLDSTEIN, PH.D.
Three key mindfulness practices that can help you pause, break out of auto-pilot, step into emotional freedom and even open up to a source of connection that is ultimately healing to ourselves and the world.
Use these short mindfulness practices to help you be more present to your lives:
S – Stop.
T- Take a few deep breaths.
O – Observe your experience (Body, Emotions, Thoughts).
P – Proceed with the question: “What is most important for me to attend to right now.”
This practice is great for gaining emotional freedom. Go deeper into investigating and becoming intimate with the difficult emotion that is there. Ultimately you arrive at a place where you are no longer identified with it, there’s some freedom there.
R – Recognize the feeling.
A – Allow it to be as it is, without resisting or clinging to it. “Breathing in, allowing, Breathing out, letting be.”
I– Investigate and become intimate with the emotion just as it is. This is not an analytical inquiry, but instead a sense of feeling into the experience. Here is where you may apply a warm and caring attention to see where it is in your body. Notice how big it is, what the shape of it is. You might ask, “What does this feeling believe?” or even “What do I need right now?” Here we can arrive at some perspective and wisdom to decide how we might go forward with it.
N – Non-identify is a natural state that arises in this process. We’re no longer identified with the feeling, it is occurring within our awareness, but it no longer controls us.
We all need to feel safe. When we don’t feel safe, our brains don’t allow for our natural states of joy, calm and happiness to arise.
S – Soften into the feeling. This is akin to the “R” of rain, but implies a type of gentle attitude to bring with it. “Breathing in, opening to the vulnerability that is there, breathing out softening into it.”
A – Allow it to be as it is, without resisting or clinging to it. This is the same as in RAIN.
F – Feel into the emotion with a kind attention. This is the same as the “I” of RAIN, but clearly states the experiential aspect of feeling into the experience. In doing this we can still drop in the questions, “What does this feeling believe” and “What do I need right now?” When we discover this we might send that internally. For example, if we sense that we need to feel loved and to feel safe, we might say, “May I feel loved, May I feel safe, etc…”
E – Expand awareness of all people who also experience this vulnerability. The fact is this vulnerability of difficult experience is also a human experience. This is the big differentiator from the previous practices and a core component of self-compassion. Here is where we understand that we are not alone and that in this very moment there are thousands if not millions of people who are experiencing this very same feeling. The “E” of SAFE is where we inspire connection with the rest of humanity. In this practice we can also take what we learned from the “F” of SAFE and send it outward saying, “May we all feel loved, May we all feel safe, etc… SAFE is a complete practice that I find myself and many others discovering transformative moments with. You can practice gaining freedom, insights and self-compassion from what’s vulnerable or difficult, while also while inspiring a sense of connectedness outside of yourself that is ultimately healing.
You are welcome to play with any of these practices as an experiment and spread them around.
May they be a source of healing and joy in this life.
As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is author of The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.
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