Mindful Moment 8

Be Kind to Yourself

Shauna Piscitello, www.soulutionsforbalance.com

This time of year sets about new energy for what we’d like to focus on and maybe make adjustments to some bad habits.  In yogic science this year is a ‘3’ year, which means it is a year of transformation. Whether we like it or not, change is coming and why not be proactive instead of reactive?  Mindful awareness gives us the attentional skills to focus on those things we want and  redirect our attention when we notice  we are spending mental energy on things we don’t want.  When we recognize the imbalance in the two (focusing more on what is wrong vs being inspired to take action on positive change), we can utilize our mindful self compassion skills to remind ourselves that this is what suffering through change feels like and it’s not easy for anyone.  Being kind to ourselves is not usually the norm. Speaking from my own past experience, I would usually ridicule and chastise myself for my weaknesses and failures.  I’ve gradually learned over time that this critical voice only sabotages my goals and pushes them further away.  In fact, there is growing evidence to the motivational power of self compassion.  Self compassionate people set high standards and bounce back from setbacks much quicker than those who are not.  As Dr. Kristin Neff says, “Self-compassion is not the same as being easy on ourselves. It’s a way of nurturing ourselves so that we can reach our full potential.” 

As one of my intentions for this year is to get laser focused on my health, I’ve decided to add to my daily practice gratitude for my physical body.  Each morning I take just 2 minutes to be grateful from head to toe.  This practice can be done in any manner you prefer, my preference is to close my eyes and take my hands to each part as I repeat:

I bless my head, I bless my brain, I bless my eyes, I bless my ears, nose, mouth, throat, neck, etc all the way to my toes.  By touching each part while repeating “I bless my…”, I consciously shift any negative thoughts I may have and focus on what is right in my body.

I recently had a physical and because I am over the age of 50, my doctor has reminded me of several tests and dis-eases I need to be proactive about.  After leaving her office, I felt quite fearful of my body.  It deflated my new year’s intention to be more conscious of my health.  I recognized how sad I felt and connected this to others who go through health challenges everyday.  Our emotional well-being is so important in our outcomes.  Fortunately, this daily gratitude blessing practice has helped remind me of the great health I do have and how nurturing it in this way is emotionally healthy too.  Yes, I’ll be getting the required exams, but with a much different outlook and mindful presence of what is here and true right now.