By Dan Blair, a marriage counselor and family counselor.
While there is plenty to do to deal with unavoidable divorce, the emotions are usually avoided with thoughts of anger. Take some time each day to make room for the emotional side underneath the thoughts. Due to the transient nature of thoughts and emotions, the goal of mindfulness is to be aware but less reactive to your thoughts and emotions. It can help you make better decisions, albeit an uncomfortable process. It can lead to becoming less preoccupied. Here are some tips to be practiced 15-30 minutes a day:
- Mindfulness is awareness and acceptance of your perception of what is happening and what you feel about it. Negative feelings include anger (He or she is a _____.), fear (What am I going to do?), sadness (multiple losses) and guilt (Am I a failure?). It is a time of openness to your experience, a curiosity, and not judgment of yourself or spouse. Non-judgmental awareness allows more information versus triggering fear and avoidance. Awareness is valued, instead of being locked in to your usual responses in life and to your spouse.
- It uses awareness of breath. When feeling fear, rumination or avoidance of thoughts and emotions, refocus on awareness of your breathing to slowly change thought and behavior patterns. Learn to relax muscles. See what happens over time.
- It decreases unhealthy responses and slowly builds confidence.
- Mindfulness is a willingness to experience what you experience.
- You may find that experiences and emotions come and go, and that you can handle it.
- A judgmental approach, instead of acceptance, locks you into a fight or flight mode and decreases awareness.
- Mindfulness is a skill that needs to be practiced.
- It is not a technique to achieve a certain outcome. It is a way of being that does not make demands on outcome.
- Mindfulness is a way to connect with family, friends and God.