Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - WELL BEING -

The idea be­hind mind­ful­ness isn’t to learn how to turn off emo­tions but to learn to be okay with them, no mat­ter how hard the punch: l You can do this ex­er­cise any­where – on the bus, in the shower or pole danc­ing: Fol­low your breath go­ing in and out. If you sense an emo­tion, home in on the area of your body where you feel it most. La­bel it with just one word (anx­i­ety, fear, rage) – don’t make up an en­tire story. When you la­bel an emo­tion, a space opens up around the feel­ing and the in­ten­sity of the emo­tion low­ers. You’re step­ping back from the feel­ing and be­com­ing an observer of it. Re­mem­ber, you’re not try­ing to get that emo­tion to go away; you’re just sit­ting with it as you would with a friend who is strug­gling and whom you’re help­ing to find the right word that says it all. If the emo­tion be­comes too in­tense, go back to the shower. l A few months ago, I woke up gripped by the throat with anx­i­ety. In the past I wouldn’t have been aware of what the feel­ing was and for the rest of the day I’d try to hunt down some­one or some­thing to pin my anx­i­ety on and blame them for it. This time, when I woke up feel­ing anx­ious, I took note of my in­ner state and gave it the la­bel ‘anx­i­ety’. It hadn’t been caused by any­one or any­thing. Af­ter do­ing some mind­ful­ness prac­tice, I re­alised I was anx­ious be­cause of a dream I’d had – a moose was chas­ing me down Kens­ing­ton High Street. Once I could la­bel it, the emo­tion re­ceded. It was such a re­lief, I could even laugh about it.

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