Be a baby. Be in the moment

Be a baby. Be in the moment.

If you follow me on Instagram you might know that the other day my little one was stung by a wasp.  She couldn’t tell me what happened because she is a little over a year old and doesn’t have the verbal skills to do so. Detective work told me she was stung and it was horrible. She screamed for about 15 minutes and I couldn’t seem to sooth her. Finally she stopped and almost immediately when back to her happy self.  It was eye opening for me to witness this phenomenon.

I then reflected on how as adults, we often hold on to things for a long time.  Someone cuts us off in traffic on the way to work and we are still pissed when we get to our desk.  Or maybe you get to work and realized you left your lunch on the counter and now you have to buy lunch… and your mood just doesn’t bounce back as you are constantly reminded by the bad thing that happened…

Often times, when something bad happens our negative thoughts start flowing and our day is ruined.  We often look back at the event of the day and say it “ruined” the day. Such as the asshole driver, or you for leaving your lunch at home.  But it isn’t the event that ruins the day, it’s the mindset that happens as the result of the event.

What if we handled the situations differently and looked at them as opportunities?

Maybe the asshole driver is a challenge to practice compassion.
Maybe leaving lunch at home allows you to grab lunch as your favorite cafe and gets you outside for a bit.

Opportunities can only be enjoyed if we are IN THE MOMENT

It’s hard to enjoy that sandwich at the cafe if you keep thinking about the lunch left at home.
It’s hard to smile and enjoy yourself when you keep thinking about the asshole driver that almost caused a car wreck.

This is when you take advice from a baby and notice only what is going on at the time.

In the moment you were cut off driving to work, be mad.  You’re pissed that guy cut you off.  That’s fine and human to honk at the guy and let him know that wasn’t cool. IT’S OK TO BE MAD! (even if your coping skill is flippin that guy off. It’s a skill and it works).

Then when you get to work its time to use your mindfulness skills.  You’re no longer driving and beeping at that guy, it’s time to focus!  Might have trouble shifting gears?  That’s alright, use some relaxation or a fun distraction to hit your reset button!

Lets take our lunch example. IT’S OK TO BE SAD THAT YOU LEFT YOUR LUNCH AT HOME. Be sad, be angry, let it out.

For some reason we say, “it’s silly, its little, I shouldn’t be sad.” This just adds more judgement and frustration and you unconsciously are assigning your self worth to this mistake. But guess what, your self-worth doesn’t lie in remembering to bring your lunch to work.

Just because you left your lunch at home doesn’t mean you don’t DESERVE to enjoy your lunch out.  That’s another faulty belief we get caught up thinking. We often keep ourselves upset by punishing us to not enjoy the alternative when things didn’t go as planned!

Time to use the mindfulness skills again – when you’re having your new lunch, enjoy it!  Be in the moment by noticing the flavors and textures, how it feels in your mouth and in your belly.

Whenever I am around babies I’m constantly reminded to be in the moment.  One minute a baby is straining to get a poop out, and the next minute he is smiling at the ceiling fan. Or like my little one, one minute its the end of the word because she was hurt, or didn’t get what she wanted, but when the pain stops or the new stimulus starts, she isn’t bitching about what HAPPENED, she is focused on the new awesome thing.

Next time you find yourself holding on to an event in the past think to yourself, “what would a baby do?”

How does anger benefit you? Blog post man screaming in megaphone

How does anger benefit you?

This isn’t a trick question. If you’re like me, you have seen quotes on the internet about why not to be angry and how damaging anger is. Basically I get the sense that everyone recommends that you are not allowed to be angry.

This angers me…

Anger is an emotion and it is OK to have
Sadness is an emotion and it is OK to have
Joy is an emotion and it is OK to have

Do you see a theme here?

Living every moment in anger and anger being your main emotion is not healthy. It is OK to be angry and it isn’t a BAD thing to get angry sometimes.

So instead of saying “Oh I’m Angry and I shouldn’t be angry…” …”bad, bad, bad….” and judging yourself for being angry, ask yourself what the benefit of your anger is?

There is a benefit?

Sure there is!!

We human beings are pretty smart and complex. Our emotions and behaviors are often serving some type of goal. We have a very complex psychological system inside and it usually does things for a reason.

“My anger protects me from feeling hurt”

“My anger keeps other people away”

“My anger hides my insecurity”

The list can go on and on, but you get the idea. Your anger is beneficial to your psychological system in a variety of ways and can be very different for different people. Therefore I’m not one to denounce anger as this “bad” emotion that should just “go away” and say “stop it.” It is an emotion to be explored. It is there for a reason! If you stop using it abruptly, the whole system could fall apart and then we have a big mess to clean up… and frankly, I’m not one for cleaning :-/

By looking at the benefit your anger is serving you, you can learn more about why you are pissed off. You can understand why that person chewing so loudly is bothering you so much. But really, Why are they chewing so LOUDLY?!?! The loud chewing is not likely the root of your anger. Your anger is serving you something in that moment. Maybe you were triggered and are anxious and scared? Maybe it is protecting you from other feelings? Maybe it is doing a job that is was trained to do when you were younger… so many functions your anger could have at any given moment.

Sometimes my clients worry that as their therapist I don’t want them to feel certain ways or that I’m going to just take everything that seems negative and say this needs to go out the window, when in reality I’m not about to take something that is helping you and rip it out from under your feet.

First we need to understand the purpose of your anger. Where it is coming from, what is it really about, and then we can move on from there.

So bottom line is when you get angry don’t think to yourself “Oh I shouldn’t be angry,” stuff the ange,r and feel bad about getting upset. Think, “What is the benefit of my anger? How is it serving me?”

The answers can be enlightening!