When Dawn first did exercise above her mind was very judgemental . She had a sense of wanting to resist being in the present moment and, when she did focus momentarily on her hand on her belly, she was taken aback by how crtical her thoughts were. ‘I am overweight , gross ; I need to lose weight . I’m not getting this. Everryone else can do this, but I can’t – I keep being distracted.’
When we are being mindful we open ourselves up to the present moment as it really is , without getting sidetracked by our usual pattern of negative thinking or self-recrimination, or by our tendency to dwell on the past or future. This is not to say that thinking will stop -it won’t . because thinking isv what our minds do.
Instead , mindfulness means that when we do have judgemental thoughrts about ourselves or anything else , we learn recognise these as just thoughts that, if left alone , will pass by without our needing to react to them , in the same way that we can sit and watch waves roll in and out at the seaside . This new mode involves observing how thoughts arise in the mind. With kindness and acceptance , we begin to avoid getting caught up in negative spirals and to steer ourselves back into the present moment.
With practice, it becomes easier to understand these negative thoughts for what they are: they are simply thoughts . They are not reality and we do not have to respond to them.
We are our own worst critics and probably far harsher with ourselves than we ever would be towards someone else . We even berate ourselves for not being able to ‘fix’ our depression , despite numerous and courageous attempts. Through practising mindfulness , we learn to be more compassionate and less judgemental , opening ourselves up to the concept that it is Okay to stop seeing depression as a problem to be solved . In fact , it can be helpful to stop[ trying to’fix’ our depression, because our usual ways of fixing our problems often make depression worse.
As we pause we give ourselves the time and space to choose what is best to do for ourselves . Sometimes, this means finding a solution that feels right in our minds and hearts. Alternatively , choosing to leave matters alone, for now , can be the best solution.
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