In Episode 13 of Mindful Venturing, I spent some time reflecting on what works for me when dealing with challenging situations. In particular, why I'm stronger and more resilient as my mindful practices improve over time.
On reflection, I'm not surprised I found it challenging to articulate what happens to me in those moments. I don't video record every minute of my life, so I rely heavily on my recollection of past events. And as we all know, our memories can be misleading.
But whilst I can't press play on a recording of a past experience, I can recall my initial reaction to more challenging times quite vividly.
I believe that by practising mindfulness, I've developed an almost pre-emptive awareness of my initial reaction. It's almost as though I'm marshalling my brain to start thinking about which mindful practice I can choose from my toolbox to deploy:
- Will I need to meditate soon?
- Or just be still?
- Go for a walk?
- Talk to someone?
- Focus on my breath for a few minutes?
The list goes on, and what's fantastic is it has become automatic to start brainstorming a mindful reaction because in the past, doing so has proven effective.
Now, I can't examine or ask my brain. Still, I can feel and experience the difference my mindful practice has made in these challenging situations. Because what I don't do anymore is act impulsively to:
- Look for solutions
- Analyse the problem
- Act quickly
And any number of other, perhaps more severe & unhelpful responses. I've trained myself to replace action, with returning back to the present moment, and finding practical ways to put some distance about what I am going through, and what to do next. Rather than just act quickly, which almost always does not produce the best outcome.
This realisation motivated this episode, and I hope you are inspired to be more mindful yourself in those challenging moments. Because, as I outline in the episode - there is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows that mindfulness and meditation help override our most unhelpful impulses and give our minds the opportunity to act more thoughtfully and ultimately, more effectively.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Research shows mindfulness works - Headspace.com
- What Does Mindfulness Meditation Do to Your Brain?
- Resilience for the rest of us - HBR
Keep Calm, and Venture On!