Mindfulness not only makes you a better mom, it makes you a better everything! A better partner, friend, worker, daughter, son, you name it!
Let’s back up a bit and get clear on what “mindfulness” is. Often mindfulness is used as a synonym for meditation. They are not the same thing. Meditation is a way to become more mindful but you can be mindful without ever meditating. Mindfulness is pretty simple actually. It’s about being aware of what is happening in your mind. What are you thinking? How are those thoughts making you feel? What do you do when you feel that way? How does being aware of what our mind is doing make us “a better everything”? Here are four ways:
- We are more emotionally balanced. When we are aware of what we’re thinking, we can see how those thoughts are making us feel. In being aware that the thoughts we’re choosing are creating our emotions, we are less likely to react impulsively. What does reacting look like? Yelling at our kids because we’re stressed from work. Eating all of the ice cream because of an argument with our spouse. Procrastinating on a project because we are afraid of the outcome. When we become mindful of our minds we enter into emotional adulthood. This allows us to think: “Hey, if I’m stressed because of work, I might be more likely to irritable with the kids.” The very act of being aware of this allows us to be less reactive.
- We are less judgmental when we are mindful. Judgement is a coping tool we use to avoid having to face something in ourselves. We are only judgmental of things that we are insecure of in ourselves. When we become mindful of our mind, we can see where our judgment is coming from. Why am I criticizing that mom’s involvement in the PTA? Probably because I think I should be doing more than I am. We put up a shield (judgment) so we don’t have to face something in ourselves that we see as lacking. Now, whether or not we “should” be doing more with the PTA or not is up for debate and can be addressed with a coach. However, in taking the first step to become aware of where your judgement is coming from, diffuses the intensity of the judgement.
- We are less defensive. Defensiveness is another coping tool. It serves us by protecting us from something. Often it’s a shield we use because we think there is something lacking with us. Sometimes it protects us from others. Regardless, it’s a tool. We can use it to continue to hide or as an opportunity to grow (See last week’s blog). When we realize we’re defensive, stop and ask: “Why? What’s going on here?” Do we need to dig a bit inside an open up to an insecurity or do we need to protect ourselves by setting some boundaries? For example, if someone is saying something about us and we’re defensive; we can remind ourselves that what they’re saying is just their opinion, not a truth. Is this a destructive relationship? Open your mind to possibilities.
- We are calmer. When we become mindful of our mind, we learn that we are responsible for what is happening in our lives. We become emotional adults. We become aware of the assumptions, beliefs, and habits that influence us on a daily basis. We can choose which to keep and which to change. We become less judgmental of others and of ourselves.
Next week I’ll dive into the two most effective tools to become more mindful. For now, rest easy in the great news that, by merely reading this post, you will discover that you are more mindful this week. You will find yourself to be more aware of your thoughts, of when you’re defensive, judgmental, or reactive. Let me know how your week unfolds.
Mindfulness has changed my life. As a mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Coach, I love working with clients to empower them in their lives also. Sign up for my Weekly Wellness Newsletter to get weekly tips and tools to help you live a life you love.