Mindfulness, meditation and awareness, can help us avoid being drawn into a bad mood spiral
By its very nature, our mood is highly volatile. And yet, brief moments of negativity often end up going on for days, because of how we deal with them. In fact, contrary to what we might think, as soon as we feel a bit sad, anxious or irritable, trying to break free from this bad mood or pushing ourselves to find out why it is happening, only makes things worse; it is like being stuck in quicksand: the more you struggle to climb out, the deeper you get pulled in. This happens to us because our minds sift through our memories to find one that reflects our current mood: for example when we are threatened, our brains will remind us of other times we have been in danger, so that we can look for similarities to find a solution. This is a survival mechanism, but sometimes, a little sadness can trigger a cascade of unpleasant memories, negative emotions and harsh judgements they provoke in us. Mindfulness meditation, however, allows you to recognise harmful thoughts as they arise, and to remember that they are not real and that they do not define us. Observing negative thoughts the moment they emerge, letting them sit for a while and simply watching them while they evaporate before our eyes, can bring extraordinary results: the empty space that they leave behind will be filled with happiness and peace. Meditation helps to unlock a different way of relating to the world; it removes the need for language, and therefore for analysis, because it allows the heart, rather than the mind, to get to know – or to become aware of - birdsong, the scent of flowers, and a loved one’s smile.
The key ideas of "Mindfulness"
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