This exercise activates awareness, and awareness is the most potent tool you have in changing unwanted behaviors. It helps you wake up, and when you wake up to what no longer supports happiness, everything shifts.
What does it take to stop cycles of behavior that have us stuck in suffering? Learning how to pay attention is the first step. This practice will help you with that.
Commit to looking at what shows up. Tend to the feelings that surface and keep going. It is so worth it.
- Stop Notice what it feels like to be triggered by an event, a person, or your environment. Don’t try to figure it out or build a storyline around your feelings. Just be aware that something has happened that feels unsettling. Now start to breathe deeply. Continue to take long deep breaths for as long as it takes to calm your emotions. Assess whether you are able to have a supportive conversation now or wait. (I give myself at least a day to gain perspective.)
- Look When you drop the need to defend your own actions and understand that we all fall short of perfection at one time or another, our hearts open—to ourselves and to others too. The lens of life magically opens, no longer restricted by blame, anger, and expectations. From there we can embrace the situation and take “right” action. No regrets to deal with, no hurt to rectify. Just forward positive momentum. Note that this can be a really challenging step, and it requires that you offer yourself a huge amount of compassion before you move on.
- Listen Bring your attention inside. Drop into the nonreactive place of your spirit. Place your hands on your heart center, right hand over the left hand, and take a deep breath into your energetic heart space. Mentally vibrate this mantra: Everything is safe in this moment.
Feel the response of your body, mind, heart, and spirit. Even the smallest shifts count. Journal the experience and take note of how different it feels to respond gracefully rather than react defensively.
Each time you practice this, you are retraining your brain. When you pause before reacting, you mindfully navigate through information and decide what deserves your attention and what to let go. This honors personal energy and is a generous act of self-love.