Try This Practice for More Calm, Less Stress in 2022
Practicing mindfulness in everyday life can help us feel less distracted, reduce anxiety, improve memory and concentration, and better manage crises like dealing with the pandemic, research shows. Could it even help us keep New Year’s resolutions?
I believe the answer is yes, when we make self-compassion part of our mindfulness practice.
Studies show that people who are compassionate toward themselves are more likely to try again when they fail to achieve a goal. They don’t see failure as a blow to their self-concept. They recognize that everyone fails, and view failure is an opportunity to grow.
Speaking of goals and resolutions, “Try new forms of self-care” is No. 5 on Prevention’s Healthy Ways to Welcome 2022, while “Meditate more often” is No. 14. For me, practicing self-compassion is a key part of self-care.
Years ago I took a class on Mindful Self-Compassion and it was transformative. I learned skills to soothe myself when times turn tough. My depression vanished as I learned how to manage my issues with anger in a completely new way.
Self-compassion is the basis for my S.N.A.P. method. Make it part of your self-care routine as you set out to achieve your goals and resolutions in 2022, and see where it takes you!
S: Soothing Touch – Place your hands in a supportive location; that might be your chest, belly, hugging your upper arms, or cradling your face. Try different locations and see which location feels soothing. This supportive touch will allow oxytocin and endorphins to help calm your nervous system.
N: Name the emotion – This calms down the stress response, and gives you time to locate the feeling in your body and soften around it.
A: Act – Choose a tool to help yourself feel better. Asking the crucial Mindful Self-Compassion question — “What do I need right now?” — is the best place to start. Then do what can reasonably be done with what you’ve got in the moment. If you are driving, it might be controlling your breathing, with your exhale being longer than your inhale to slow your blood pressure and heart rate. I often put one hand on the wheel, and the other hand on my heart! With toddler tantrums, or teen drama, it can be helpful to drop your attention to the soles of your feet as you control your breathing to slow the whole show down. With teen or adult family drama, try to stay in your body, breathing in compassion for yourself because it’s so difficult, and breathing out compassion for them because they are suffering (even though their behavior might be disturbing). This can help calm your nervous system. Depending on your work situation, you may have more options for in-the-moment relief if you can close the door (even if it’s in the bathroom stall) to give yourself a few minutes of quiet reflection. You can ground yourself with a polished stone that you keep on your desk, ground through the soles of your feet, take a break at the water cooler, or exhale longer than you inhale for a few rounds of breathing.
P: Praise – Thank your practice for helping you manage the stress! Thank yourself for showing up day after day, trying to do your best. Thank the universe, or your spirit of choice, for giving you the strength and courage to keep on keeping on.
With New Year’s resolutions, you can use S.N.A.P. to pick yourself up, rather than beat yourself up, if at first you don’t succeed
Perhaps you will want to try a more attainable goal, break your goal into baby steps, or give yourself more time to attain your goal. Whatever course you choose, you will be more resilient, and more likely to keep trying, when you are kind to yourself.
Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.
Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM. Access early to hear Panache's monologue - around 8:30 AM.
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