Psychology Well Being

Mindful March: When Life Gives you Lemons

April 1, 2019

So, this post is overdue. Mindful March was supposed to be a series of posts every Friday of March for 5 weeks. So now it’s April 1st and we’re on post three. Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s right on track with the theme of today- resilience and over coming stress.

My last month didn’t go as I planned. My plan for all my posts was going so smoothly and then life got in the way. But who the hell cares? Mindful March sounded great but that doesn’t mean that the information isn’t valid in April so I will continue and finish out what I started… just a little later than planned.

Today’s theme- mindfulness and stress. Becoming more resilient to the things life throws your way.

So first and foremost– what is resilience? It’s that beautiful capability that helps us to thrive, push through, keep on keeping on. The ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ stuff.

It means being able to face our stressors head on and deal with them using healthy resources. And we can better our ability to face our problems by becoming more mindful.

When we are faced with a problem or a very stressful situation we have a choice on how to react. Either we can fall into despair, anguish and anxiety and let the stress rule us. Or we can try to understand, accept and rally. The latter is much more difficult, but the former rarely helps to resolve the problem.

In order to better our resilience and ability to manage stress we have to be mindful of negative thought patterns. Where do your thoughts run to when you are stressed? Do you build up the catastrophic situation in your mind before anything has really happened? I definitely do- it’s so easy to blow things out of proportion and let our negative thoughts run through us like poison- ruining the day. So what can we do to be more mindful and create more resilience to stress?

Notice the negative thoughts as they come

When our dear pal stress pays us a visit, take a deep breath and be aware of the whirlwind of thoughts that get into your head. Only if we are aware of these thoughts can we do something about them.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

S**t happens. We’ve all been there. Whether you have lost your job. Missed a flight. Failed an exam. Made a big mistake at work. Been robbed. Have financial trouble. Unfortunately the list of the problems we face in life is endless but for starters we can be a little kinder to ourselves. We must stop judging and beating ourselves up for our misfortunes and our mistakes.

Fact or Feeling

We’ve got to learn the difference between facts and feelings. Let’s take the example of losing your job: in that moment you may feel like a failure, you may think it will be impossible to find another job, you may be terrified to tell your spouse or worried about money. These however are all just feelings inside us caused by this stressor. The only true fact is that you no longer have a job. Once we distinguish the facts from all our messy feelings we can direct our attention and reflect without being consumed by our fear based reactions.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Accept.

Easier said than done. But once we have acknowledged the stress we feel and why we are feeling it, we can start to do the hardest part- accepting. Instead of working so hard to fight reality, we have to accept that we can’t control everything. Once we accept that something has happened and we can’t turn back time, we can start to focus on healthier defense mechanisms that can be used to help us solve the problem.

When life gives you lemons…

…Add tequila & salt.
…Squirt life in the eye.
…Make lemonade.
…Say thank you.

You get it right? When we face stress we have to be creative with what we’re given. We have to remember that life is full of bumps and hiccups and it’s all about how we react to them. We’ve got to find the silver lining in the worst situations.

When Life gives you lemons Mindful Task: Take a piece of paper and fold it into two columns. Make a list of all things in your life that cause stress or problems you are facing. Then on the other half- write down ‘the silver lining’, something positive or even what opportunities can come from these ‘problems’. Be creative and literally create the bright side for yourself this week.

Author: Ali @ Sustainable Psyche

My name is Ali. I am an American living in Italy. I am passionate about delicious food that is also ethical, healthy and sustainable. I love pasta and pizza, traveling, horseback riding and exploring the vibrant city of Milan that I call home.

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