Self-care at a time of difficulty

Last week I discussed the FOFBOC, a short meditation to use as a punctuation point in the day. What happens though when there is a more difficult emotion to deal with? This weeks’ practice looks at how to bring self-care to oneself at a time of difficulty. You might notice as you pay attention to your inner voice that there can be a harsh ‘tone’. See how it is to cultivate a kinder tone, as if you were speaking to a good friend, notice how you can consciously choose to speak to yourself in a different way.

The practice starts by acknowledging that “this is a difficult emotion” – turning towards it and naming it rather than trying to push it away or get overwhelmed by it…..saying instead “yes, it’s difficult to feel…….(whatever it is you are feeling)”. This gentle naming of it and acceptance that this is a difficult emotion allows you to ‘lean in’ to experiencing  what is here rather than fight it or feel overwhelmed.

Next there is a recognition that we are not alone in this difficult emotion, saying ourselves “in this world of billions of people how many others are feeling like me right now?” – letting the difficult emotion connect you to your shared humanity rather than make you feel alone and isolated.

After this we bring in some physical self-care, resting both hands on the body, one on the heart, the other on the tummy. Or if in public you can rest one hand on your forearm. Then as you sit feel this contact…..the warmth of your hands, the kindness in the gesture towards yourself.

As you sit like this start to feel into the sensations in your body, noticing where you feel the difficult emotion – does it show up as a sensation in the tummy, the chest, the back or in some other area? What is the sensation like? Is it moving or still? Heavy or light? Does it have a temperature? Is it different on the surface to how it is inside or the same?

As you tune in to the sensations start to imagine you can breathe into the middle of this place. Breathing into it, then breathing out. At the same time imagine you are surrounding the sensation with a kind holding, and that this space gets larger if the sensation needs to expand or contracts if the sensation diminishes. You’re not trying to fix the difficult emotion or make it go away, but as you bring this kind attention to it, breathing into it and out from it you may notice it changing.

 

The video above guides you through the self-care practice. This practice forms part of the 8 week mindfulness programme so if you find it helpful or would like to explore in more detail how to benefit from an intensive mindfulness training please click here

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