Mindfulness is being open to the outcome

There are moments in life that are hard, painful, scary and difficult to endure. There are times when we feel anger, anxiety, grief, embarrassment, stress, remorse or other unpleasant emotions.

In these trying times we often want to escape the pain, drown it out or push it away somehow. We may begin a mental struggle with the pain trying to mentally talk our way out of it, or we distract ourselves with activities or drown it out with food or drink or something stronger.

All these ways of avoiding pain only perpetuate it in the long run. Avoidance creates suffering and keeps us from living fully, this miraculous and precious life that we have.

Through mindfulness you can learn to turn your difficult emotions into your greatest teachers and sources of strength.

How?

Instead of ‘turning away’ from pain in avoidance we can learn to gently ‘turn towards’ what we’re experiencing. We can bring a caring open attention toward the wounded parts of ourselves and make wise choices about how to respond to ourselves and to life.

Here is a six step process for mindfully dealing with difficult emotions…

1. Stop, Turn Towardsfile000101532435
Once you have become aware of the feeling, stop for a moment. Take a deep breath and then ‘sit with’ the anger, shame, guilt, anger, anxiety, frustration and fear. Don’t inhibit it, suppress it, ignore it or try to conquer it. Just be with it with an attitude of open curiosity and acceptance.

2. Identify The Emotion
Acknowledge the emotion is there. If you are embarrassed, you can specifically recognize that feeling. You can mentally say to yourself, for example, “I know there is embarrassment in me.”

3. Acceptance Of What Is
When you are embarrassed, or feeling another difficult emotion, you don’t need to deny it. You can accept what is present. In his book Peace is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hahn suggest we actually mentally acknowledge to ourselves…
“I can accept that I am experiencing intense embarrassment right now.”

Through your mindful acceptance you can embrace or hold the feeling in your awareness– this alone can calm and soothe you. This is an act of self-compassion and responsiveness to your own distress, and it is so much more effective than punishing yourself for having this feeling.

See if you can open to feeling what you feel. Opening to it means to see what is there fully without suppressing, rejecting, ignoring or trying to be ‘stronger’ than the emotion.

By opening and embracing the emotion you create a mental space around it and witness it instead of being enmeshed in it. Be creating this space you’ll discover that you are not your anger, your fear or your pain. You are much larger
than that.

Think of embracing your difficult emotion in your arms like a mother holding her upset child.

4. Realize The Impermanence Of All Emotions
Acknowledge that all emotions are impermanent. They arise, stay for a while and then disappear. They come and go in you like waves in the sea, cresting and receding.

Your task is simply to allow this current wave to be and to witness, with patience, as it continuously changes form and eventually disappears.

We often take emotions (especially negative ones) very personally but mindfulness invites us to view them as simply mental events passing through- temporary waves in our ocean of awareness.

Psychologist and mindfulness teacher Elisha Goldstein suggests, it can be helpful to say to ourselves, “While this is a temporary feeling, it is here right now, how can I care for it, what do I need?”

5. Investigation & Response
When you are calm enough, you can look deeply into your emotion to understand what has brought it about, and what is causing your discomfort.

It may be that particular kinds of thoughts were the cause. You may have been worrying unnecessarily about something or someone and that generated feelings of anxiety. Perhaps you were ruminating on a random comment a colleague said last week and it created anger or embarrassment.

You may also find that you have particular values, beliefs, expectations and judgments about how you should behave or be seen by others that contributed to the emotion.

Perhaps an event has happened and your response is perfectly natural or perhaps an old habitual reaction. Allow the light of your mindful awareness to help you gain insights into the emotion.

You may then reflect on how you want to respond to what is happening. This may be take the form of simply realizing that your thoughts are not reality and therefore not taking them seriously.

It could be that the simple embracing of the emotion is all you need to do for now, or it could be that a response is needed to a situation that has arisen in your daily life.

Trust yourself to choose the appropriate response.

6. Be Open To Outcome

written by Mellisa O’Brien

Mellisa is a mindfulness teacher, but first and foremost a devoted mindfulness practitioner (who’s still learning, discovering and deepening every day).
Sharing the joy of mindful living is her passion and purpose. She runs regular retreats and courses around Australia and also has a blog on ‘the art of mindful living‘ where she shares simple teachings and tips for everyday people. She lives in a quiet green patch of paradise in northern NSW Australia. You can check out her website at http://mrsmindfulness.com/

Recent Study: More women choose a mindful man over appearance/beauty.

8 Ways Women Control How Happy their Marriages are by Jenna Birch

A wonderful marriage depends upon a lot of things. But the biggest factor just may be you. A new study from the University of California, Berkeley, showed wives tend to control the happiness of their unions, especially when it comes to diffusing conflict. “Women have more influence than they realize,” says marriage therapist Carin Goldstein, creator of BeTheSmartWife.com. “Men are reactive, while wives are introspective and take a more effective approach.” Beyond disagreements, you’re likely to be more adept at helping your marriage in the following areas. Photo by Getty Images.

1. With the in-laws. Besides having an innate desire to nurture relationships, “women are typically better at picking up familial nuances and dynamics,” says Match.com relationship expert Whitney Casey. That’s why it makes sense for you to take the lead on connecting with in-laws. Set times to spend with them (and apart from them) and establish what is and isn’t acceptable with them-and between your husband and them. But it’s not your job to repair flawed relationships your partner might have. Instead, “love your husband through his family issues and do your best to keep him and your children happy,” Casey recommends.

2. With sex. No, we don’t mean only you should call the shots during the deed. To love your sex life, you must “discuss what you both expect,” Casey explains. Since women are usually more comfortable tackling sensitive topics, start the conversation. And if you’re not getting busy as often as you’d like, casually plan on it after scheduled date nights; guys don’t set sexy time in advance because they think the lack of spontaneity takes the “sexy” right out. To feel sexier and enjoy yourself more, prep for a romp with “a manicure, massage or even yoga,” Casey suggests-anything that gets your mind off daily tasks.

Related: Discover 8 secrets of sexually satisfied couples.

3. With travel plans. Women are natural planners-“it’s the gathering mentality,” Goldstein explains-so if your last vacation alone with your husband was your honeymoon, consider getting away again. Goldstein says trips are the most overlooked way to rev your relationship. “Women don’t do it because they’re afraid to leave the kids or afraid they won’t have fun with their spouse,” says Goldstein, who assures these fears are almost always overblown. Sometimes, you need special, focused time to reconnect as a couple-even if you can swing only a night or two away.

4. With conversation. While you’re a pro at gabbing with your girlfriends, men don’t generally share their feelings. Yet it’s a good emotional release for your husband. But he’ll open up only if the atmosphere is right, which is something you can enable. “Men take in information in small doses,” says clinical psychologist Andra Brosh, PhD. “They shut down when overwhelmed. Timing is everything.” Right after any stressful situation, like work, is not the golden hour for chatting. “Ask him if there’s a good time to talk,” Dr. Brosh says, and assure him you don’t have anything serious to discuss so he doesn’t worry.

5. With housework. Little-known fact: Most men want to be useful to their wives. Still, studies show women oversee family chores more often than guys. If you’re not getting the assistance you’d like from your man, “calmly tell him where you need help and why,” advises marriage and family therapist Erin Foster, EdD. “Husbands often don’t know how they can help, and therefore do nothing rather than do something wrong.” He’ll appreciate the hint and likely start pitching in.

6. With time apart. To grow together, you must tackle your personal needs as they arise. But you’re better than he is at detecting when you need a break from each other. Be the one to call timeout. “Time apart creates healthy space for each partner to actually miss the other,” Dr. Brosh says. It can rejuvenate your relationship-and yourself. So plan that girls’ spa trip, and suggest he see his buddies. When you return home, show your man just how happy you are to be back.

7. With the kids. Science says women naturally exhibit maternal instincts, but men may need a nudge into the parenting fold since they see “strong mother-and-child bonds” right from pregnancy, says Dr. Foster. She suggests encouraging your husband to establish loving norms with the kids, from gentle discipline to daddy-daughter/son dinners. “This creates a sense of safety within the family unit,” Dr. Foster says. “When children know what’s expected of them from parents working as a team, they’re less likely to act out.” And that reduces conflict between you and your husband, she adds.

8. With shaking things up. Novelty is the key to a happy relationship, and men especially crave it. “Routines are nice, and why many people want to be in a relationship, but they can also be binding and lead to complacency,” says Dr. Brosh. Concoct a way to connect that you’ll both enjoy-going on a day trip, seeing a concert or simply sneaking up behind him for a long, lingering embrace. The bottom line: Occasionally, just do something unexpected.