I had a Galantine lunch with my friend Lisa and we shared how we didn’t always treat our selves with loving-kindness but we were seriously working on our self-talk. Valentine’s Day has passed yet it’s not too late to find ways to have a healthier loving relationship with our own minds and bodies.
You may notice that your response to your mind and its thoughts are not always rooted in love and kindness. Traditionally, loving-kindness is practiced toward another person but you can direct this same sentiment toward yourself and your mind. With practice, you can learn to respond to yourself with greater acceptance. This helps you see more clearly and not get caught up in reacting to each and every thought.
- Sit in a way that feels healthy and conducive to mindfulness.
- Listen to your body and make adjustments to find a comfortable posture.
- Bring your attention to body breathing. Take 5 relaxing and deep breaths in through the nose and gently blow out through the mouth. Whenever you get distracted, go back to your breath.
- Open up to your thoughts.
- Keeping your awareness of breathing as your anchor, simply notice when a thought arises.
- You may label it or note its contents but focus on responding to it with gentleness. Don’t try to block or judge your thoughts. Just notice and let go.
- Whether the thought is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral, try to bring some acceptance to whatever it is and then, like seeing smoke evaporate into the air, let it go.
- When a thought arises, offer a phrase of loving-kindness towards the thought. You may try using one of these phrases:
I completely and easily accept my self.
I am at ease with my thoughts.
It is a thought. I let it go with love and ease.
- Reconnect with the intention to respond to your thoughts with kindness over and over again.
- When your mind wanders off, just come back to breathing and pay attention when a thought comes up.
- Gently offer a phrase of loving-kindness and return to your desire to be at ease with your mind. You may even try offering a phrase to the wandering itself. When you complete this practice, make a dedicated effort to carry it with you during your day.
Pause and offer your mind and thoughts a few phrases of loving-kindness when you’re waiting in line, walking to your car, or checking the mail.