Month: March 2016

Expecting

ExpectingExpecting perfectionism from others

Expecting others to have the same standards as you

Expecting what you give, you will get

Expecting to be disappointed

That eventually others will let you down

Expecting negative outcomes

Expectations are inherent in all of us, perhaps one of the main contributing factors to our suffering.

No matter what happens, expectations are rarely met.

You are forever stuck in a spiral of negative emotions, seeking out negative outcomes at every corner.

People, whose expectations are high, find themselves unable to delegate, lacking in trust, and are notoriously unhappy and anxious.

Those around these people can be stripped of their confidence, as they are not trusted to meet the high standards, or feel they are never good enough.

Expectations zap life’s vibrancy, the very essence of happiness, from both the one expecting and the one being expected of.

Expectations are judgments.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. See how:

 

Eliminating expectations mindfulness exercise

Since all of us having varying degrees of expectations, start with noticing when you are expecting.

Then take a deep breath, close your eyes and visualize a white board with that specific expectation written on it.

Take the eraser and wipe it off, take another breath and visualise write, “ I expect nothing”

You can continue saying silently to yourself “ I expect nothing”.

With time and patience, your expectations will diffuse making life about being, rather than the future impulse, to expect.

Criticism

Criticism

Why is it that most, if not all of us, hate being criticised?

‘Constructive’ or not, all criticism feels the same;

Icky: condemned to the naughty step, vulnerable, disapproved of, outcast.

How can such a simple word, from a ‘significant’, or ‘not-so-significant’ person have enough force to ruin your day, challenge your self-worth, or send you into a rollercoaster of emotional loops?

Yet they are just words, as the children’s rhyme goes: “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

Let’s be honest, words hurt like hell, you can heal from physical wounds, though words can stick with you for a lifetime.

I am told criticism is essential for personal and professional growth…really!!!

Why then do I cringe when I sense a criticism on the horizon, by the use of a “but” after a complement, a shake of the head or a frown, if it is supposed to be so good for you?

It is understood that our reptilian (old) brain interprets criticism as a threat.

Disapproval, back in the hunter/gatherer days, meant you might be cast out to fend for yourself. Back then humans relied on small communities to survive a harsh existence.

Nowadays, being disapproved of generally does not result in alienation, though it still makes us feel bad.

How can you learn to minimize the effects of criticism?

Try this simple mindfulness tool.

Awareness is the starting point!

Bring your attention to the feelings emerging when criticised.

Sit with them and let them float around inside you until they begin to soften.

Attempting to scrutinise the feelings, push them away or blaming the source of the criticism will only exacerbate the negative feelings.

Remind yourself, you are safe, and this does not make you a bad person or a failure.

There will always be criticism there is no way you will be free of it, all you can do is step inside yourself, where it is safe and loving. .

Flexibility

FlexiblityWhat is flexiblity?

How flexible are you?

In your Mind? Body?

It’s so easy to say ‘I am not flexible” or “My body is stiff”

Yet flexibility transcends the physical, it is a state of mind, as we attempt to make sense of our thoughts.

As our bodies tighten up over time, joints become stiff and movement limited, so does our mental or emotional flexibility. We become entrenched in our ways.

Our mind and body are inextricably linked like it or not.

Children are naturally fluid, unimaginably stretchy, tend to be curious, open minded, able to go with the flow, as their mind develops and grows.

Us adults, with our fully formed brain, become rigid in our mind and body.

Often stuck in the rail tracks of life, reducing our capacity to be flexible.

As our bodies stiffen with age, so do our minds willingness to take risks and accept things as they are.

If this is the consequence of aging, then what can you do?

I suggest you:

Start with the body, it’s easier to work with than the mind.

Take a good stretch, hold your body in positions long enough to work out the kinks,

Stretching hydrates the joints, loosens the tight spots; your body will then move with greater ease and allows the mind to follow suit.

Releasing the body’s tension through stretching enables the mind to relax and soften, providing opportunities for curiosity and flexibility to emerge.

Take time to stretch your body daily, give it the gift of a good stretch.

Your mind will be much more flexible.

Sweet spot

Sweet spotFinding your Sweet Spot

What is a sweet spot?

Sweet spots are moments in time when something feels right, pleasurable or satisfying.

It can be felt physically, emotionally and on a spiritual level.

These are moments that can be blatantly obvious or hidden deeply away. The sweet spots, which are the hardest to notice, are the sweetest ones of all.

These illusive moments occur more frequently than the experiences, which are more apparent.

Sweet spots occur all the time, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

You can experience one at work, on the bus, washing dishes, exercising, relaxing, having sex, holding your baby…

My sweet spots occur in my yoga practice, listening to music, eating and dancing. Though I have had them during my writing sessions, during a grueling spinning class, conversing with a friend and walking into a warm flat out from the cold.

How can you find your sweet spot?

You need to be still and fully aware of your body’s subtle messages. Pay attention to your whole body, not just the sore or grumpy parts, pay attention to the spots that are screaming to be noticed.

Pay attention to tingling in your toes and fingers, to your heart as it pumps, your lungs as they expand.

Place your hands on your belly and feel the pleasure deep within, the calmness and even the butterflies.

Feel the satisfaction as your shoulders release the burden of the day and your legs as they move with ease.

Pay attention to your pelvis as it wiggles from side to side loosening the tight muscles and tendons.

Notice the softness emerge around your heart when sadness is acknowledged.

Feel your inner smile as you turn the corner of your lips up and relax your jaw.

Sweet spots hide behind the achiness and boredom of daily life. Your mind is drawn not to the sweetness but the uncomfortable.

Concealed below the humdrum and suffering are a raft of sweet spots waiting to be noticed.

Imagine how different your life would be once you find your sweet spots.

RJMindbody

RJMindbody