Explore your emotions
Meditation helps us see an emotion for what it is and choose how we respond.
Emotions are challenging we spend a lot of our energy trying not to be emotional or to get rid of emotions. But where would we be without emotions: nothing would bring us to tears, cause us to belly laugh, or get up and dance. Nevertheless emotions can reek havoc in our lives especially when a mood arises out of nowhere. You’re fine then next minute your screaming at your spouse or your kids. Emotions are consequences of a situation plus a reaction. The ABC’s of how you are feeling is based on mindfulness cognitive behavior therapy. It start with an activating event that our mind evaluates either rationally or irrationally forming a belief which leads to a consequences such as a an emotion or an action. Scenario of running into friend; sad thoughts, then boss at work, more upset. Mindfulness will help you see that B (the thought that feeds the belief) more clearly and help us be less reactive. We can choose how to act rather than react.
What to do with disappointment.
People say "don’t have any expectations and you won’t be disappointed". The most common source of disappointment is not getting something you want or getting what you don’t want. Disappointment may show itself as sadness, anger. Expectations and disappointment go together. The expectation is something in the future (meaning you are not living in the moment) and the disappointment is triggered when you don’t get what you expected and aren’t able to appreciate what you have now. Disappointment is about judging ourselves and others. Do you blame others when things don’t go your way. In the moment, take a step back and see it for what it is...in scope of things will it matter in 10 years? Or is it an opportunity for you to try something new? Breathe through your disappointment, take a minute, be kind to yourself and others. Be the best self you can be. Anticipate what can go wrong so you’re not caught off guard.
Notice how you spend your time thinking about the present, the past and the future.
How do your thoughts shape your expectations. The point is to be aware of your thoughts. Not to manipulate them. Are you creating unrealistic expectations only to result in disappointment? Have you focused solely on the past and it has resulted in disappointing expectations. While mediating give time and attentions to thoughts of present, past, and future. When you have thoughts of the past does it set you up for expecting something similar in the future? If you are expecting something in the future and it doesn’t happen, are you disappointed? Do you worry about next time?
When you think about the present are you distracted by the mess on the counter and who’s going to clean it or can you take a moment and notice the snow falling outside the window, or the laughter from the kids as they play nicely together? Think about how your thoughts influence your expectations either positively or negatively. What can you learn about yourself. How can you be gentler with yourself and others? In the end do you really know what you want? What’s really triggering the emotion?
Having a positive outlook can help extend your life. You’ve heard laughter is the best medicine. Well research supports that optimistic people tend to make healthier lifestyle choices, have a glass half full outlook which supports better coping mechanisms, and when you roll with the punches it reduces stress levels. Stress is a known risk factor for many lifestyle diseases and health conditions.
GOOD NEWS – Optimism can be cultivated with mindfulness. You choose to be happy. You choose to move forward. You choose to let it go.