Mindfulness has been my focus word throughout 2015. In the first four months of the year, I faced tremendous personal, professional, and educational stress. I believe that my mindfulness practices helped me survive that time, but I was in no way thriving. In mid-May I had a breakthrough that a friend attributed to my focus on mindfulness this year.
Breakthrough part 1: I was in a friend’s car, on the way to a concert. My friend was driving (since I hate driving and will always accept anyone’s offer to drive me anywhere!), traffic was a mess, and she was getting stressed out and emotional. That is usually my normal state of mind, especially when driving. But in this moment, I was able to step back and calmly remind her that we were early, we had plenty of time to get there, and we were not in a rush at all. I was calm, I told her that this wasn’t something that needed to stress us out, and I said that it was my goal to focus on the fun of the evening ahead of us.
This may sound like no big deal to you, but to anyone who knows my hyper-fast, neurotic usual self, this is a HUGE breakthrough. To be able to step back from a situation and calmly assess it’s importance (or lack there of) is an important step for me. I appreciate another friend being able to attribute this new attitude to my mindfulness practice, which must be working!
Breakthrough part 2: After a very long week at work, some colleagues and I realized we had gotten to a very negative space. We were spending far too much time dwelling on the problems and not enough time on problem-solving solutions. I decided I needed to reset my physical space in order to reset my mental space. I went out and bought three bouquets of flowers. I brought the flowers into the office and told everyone on our team to help themselves to a few flowers to brighten up their desk. Not only did this make me happy to do, but every time I walked by someone else’s desk, I was immediately happier because I saw their flowers. This was such a simple gesture that made a big impact on my day, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
This article reminded me that the images we portray of our lives on social media are often only the best and brightest, and we cannot live comparing our unique real life to others’ highlight reels. As I continue to develop this habit of mind, I will make a continued effort to celebrate successes, no matter how small, and honor the moments when I am able to slow down and be happy in the moment.
Previous mindfulness updates:
It’s interesting how our physical space can impact our state of mind. I need to be better at attending to the aesthetics, for myself…my colleagues and my students! Thanks for the reminder!
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