Wellness – A Way of Living

Turning Good Intentions into Action

Anger Management & Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness

Mindfulness practice is not about ‘taking action’ it is about ‘learning more about yourself’ so that when you do take action it can be a more positive experience for everyone.

Anger management at its core is about how well we manage ourselves in response to people and events. So it’s our ability or inability to be self-aware (understand what makes us feel the way we do) and self-regulate (manage our emotional responses effectively).

One of the most talked about and studied ways to accomplish self-awareness and self-regulation is through practicing Mindfulness.

For the purposes of this blog we will be using the term Mindfulness as it is defined in Psychological Mindfulness – a non-elaborative, non-judgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises is acknowledged and accepted as it is.

Several studies have found that mindful states facilitate our self-regulatory ability and increase our sense of well-being.

Mindfulness as a means to cope with Frustration:

Most people experience feelings of frustration when someone or something hinders them in some way. And most individuals react to the feeling of frustration by wanting to force the “other” to give in to their demands.

When feeling frustrated, instead of getting angry at the situation or at others, sit back, relax, and wait. Say to yourself:

  • “As things develop, I will, through listening to guidance from my unconscious, adapt to changing circumstances and grow with them.”
  • “I may not get what I want when I want it; I trust that things will work out in their own good time, for my ultimate benefit, as long as I remain calm and peaceful.”
  • “I may not get what I want at all, and yet, in remaining calm and attentive, I may discover something else that I need even more than what I thought I wanted.”

These ‘thoughts’ represent an awareness of the situation, an acknowledgement of the ability to change things or not, and the realization that instead of ‘pushing’ your agenda that you should be more patient and look for the ‘win win’ in the situation.

And all of this requires you to be self-aware (acknowledge of your feelings) and self-regulate (manage your reactions).

Five mindfulness exercises you can adopt to increase your self-awareness and help you to self-regulate your emotions: 

Meditation

Meditation brings many benefits in its own right, one of them being self-awareness. Meditation becomes easier with practice, but it need not be difficult for beginners. Simply find a comfortable place, free of distractions, and quiet your mind. Do this for 5 minutes every day and gradually increase your time to 30 minutes. Don’t despair if you can’t get it right and your mind races or wanders back to the laundry list of things to do…give it time and practice trying to clear your mind every day…even for just 5 minutes. 

Deep Breathing

Mindfulness can be as simple as breathing. This is one of the simplest ways to experience mindfulness, which can be done as you go about your daily activities (convenient for those who feel they don’t have time to meditate), is to focus on your breathing. Breathe from your belly rather than from your chest, and try to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focusing on the sound and rhythm of your breath, especially when you’re upset, can have a calming effect and help you stay grounded in the present moment. This is a good exercise to improve your self-regulation skills. 

Listening to Music

Listening to music has many benefits — and it makes a great mindfulness exercise. You can play relaxing classical music, or another type of slow-tempo music to feel the calming effects. To make it an exercise in mindfulness – focus on the sound and vibration of each note, the feelings that the music brings up within you, and any other sensations that are happening “right now” as you listen. This is a good exercise for promoting your self-awareness. 

Cleaning House

There are two ways to do this – physically cleaning up your actual house and mentally getting rid of “emotional baggage.” Both can be great stress relievers. Untidiness has several hidden costs and can be a subtle but significant stressor, cleaning house and de-cluttering as a mindfulness exercise can bring lasting benefits. To bring mindfulness to cleaning, you first need to view it as a positive event, an exercise in self-understanding and stress relief, rather than simply as a chore. Focus on what you are doing as you are doing it — and nothing else. Feel the warm, soapy water on your hands as you wash dishes; experience the rhythm of the vacuum cleaner as you push and pull it along the floor; enjoy the smell of the laundry as you fold it. There is no better way to get to know yourself better than to clean your house and ‘purge’ yourself and your home of those things that no longer serve a purpose in your life. 

Observing Your Thoughts

Many stressed and busy people find it difficult to stop focusing on the constant flow of thoughts running through their mind, and the idea of sitting in meditation and holding off the many thoughts that come into your mind can actually cause more stress! To use this to your advantage try the mindfulness exercise of observing your thoughts. Rather than working against the voice in your head, sit back and “observe” your thoughts – don’t become involved in them, just observe them. As you observe them, you might find your mind quieting, and the thoughts becoming less stressful. An alternative to just observing your thoughts is to write them down…journaling is a great way to process all your thoughts so you can review them objectively and let go of what is not important. This is a good exercise for promoting your self-awareness and learning to self-regulate. As you sit in the ‘observer’s position’ you can learn to ‘not engage’ with all the thoughts and feelings you experience and take a more objective view of the situation.

If these exercises do not resonate with you, try creating one or more that fit into your lifestyle. The idea is that anything can be made into a mindfulness exercise – it just requires you to move into the ‘observer position’ for any task you are doing and experience all the thoughts, sensations, and feelings that come up as you do the task.

The next time you feel that you are not ‘managing your anger well’ – remember that mindfulness exercises can help us to manage our anger and its expression better by providing us with the necessary information about ourselves (self-awareness) and our reactions (self-regulation) to help us make better decisions and respond in a positive manner regardless of the circumstances.

Not sure if you need a Wellness Coach? Contact me and arrange a free consultation call – and decide for yourself.

Michelle Potvin H.T. Coun.,

Wellness – A Way of Living

(Connect & Contact on Linked in – http://ca.linkedin.com/in/michellepotvin)

Wellness, a state of mind, body and spirit!

2010/12/07 Posted by | Behaviours, Lifestyle, Mindfulness, Wellness | , , , , , | Leave a comment

When in the Pull of a Habit, it’s as if our Self-Awareness goes Temporarily Numb

Quitting Habits When They No Longer Serve You 

Quitting Habits

Habits are largely unconscious behaviour patterns.  Bringing conscious awareness to that which once was unconscious changes the experience altogether. 

To demonstrate this let’s choose the habit of smoking.  People trying to quit smoking know all the arguments and reasons; it is not that they haven’t heard them before.  Now let’s try a different approach to quitting this habit.

Instead of trying to quit, let’s try to begin to smoke with conscious awareness.  To do this we can make a ritual out of smoking – treat it as a special practice. 

What can you do with smoking to make it a ritualistic encounter?  Look to Native Americans – they brought ritualistic consciousness to their tobacco ceremonies.  They brought full awareness to the act.  Smoking was not a casual unconsious act but something that was based in ceremony and ritual.

Whatever you do, do it with awareness.  If your habit is smoking, instead of ‘sneaking’ a smoke, smoke in full awareness.  Smoke and feel the sensations totally, and experience this in complete awareness  Stay completely aware of the whole experience, the good and the bad.   Feel the rush of energy that comes from the nicotine and the smell of the tobacco on your skin.  What is the taste of the smoke in your mouth?  What is the sensation in your chest and lungs? 

As you bring full awareness to your smoking, you stay with it while it serves you, but there will come a time when it no longer serves you.  There will come a time when the benefits are outweighed by the detriments, and then the behaviour drops of its own accord.  You are not trying to quit; it simply drops because it is no longer serving you.

With overeating it is the same thing.  When you try to push the behaviour down, it becomes stronger. You find yourself gulping food as if you could sneak it past the one who is watching.  Eat in full awareness.  Bring your full awareness to every bite, feel the sensations of taste.  Slow down the experience of eating and experience the full taste of each bite.  What happens? Satiation comes easier.  Instead of sneaking this  past your awareness, bring your awareness to it and you will find that satisfaction comes sooner, fullness is felt, and the need for overeating subsides.

Take part in the experience you are drawn to, but do it with absolute awareness.  If it is something you have outgrown, you’ll have the experience, become aware of its lack of value, and that is that.

Not sure if you need a Wellness Coach?  Schedule a Wellness Evaluation Call and decide for yourself. 

Michelle Potvin H.T. Coun.,  

Wellness – A Way of Living

(Connect & Contact on Linked in – http://ca.linkedin.com/in/michellepotvin)

Wellness, a state of mind, body and spirit!

2010/11/02 Posted by | Behaviours, Change, Lifestyle, Stress, Wellness | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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