When you mention mindfulness, many people immediately imagine Buddhist monks, sitting in the lotus position meditating. If you are unaware of how mindfulness can be incorporated into many aspects of life, it can seem impractical in the midst of the pressures, demands and hassles that most people encounter every day.
However, practicing mindfulness– defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as the process of paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally– can have a significant impact on our functioning. It can improve your ability to focus, as well as your ability to manage intense or painful emotions.
Often people spend much of their time at the mercy of their emotions. They feel rejected and spiral into loneliness and despair or they feel slighted and become stuck in thoughts of anger and retaliation. If you often feel trapped in negative emotions and would like to transform them, try the following mindfulness exercise. This is an exercise that typically would require some previous mindfulness practice.
Have you tried this exercise or an exercise like it? How did it work for you? Have you been able to transform habitual negative emotions with mindfulness?
I would be interested in your reaction to this exercise in the comments section.p>
Photo by Mike Baird, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.
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Last reviewed: 25 Jan 2011