Sometimes life leaves us hanging in limbo. Maybe waiting for an acceptance letter, a return call from a loved one, or news of a promotion. You might feel some frantic energy around something even more anxiety provoking, like the results of a medical test, or waiting for a family member to heal from an addiction or make better life choices. Your mindfulness/letting-go practice can be tremendously helpful when you feel like you are waiting for the results of an important decision or outcome.
Here’s how to use mindfulness to embrace uncertainty:
1. When your future feels really uncertain and anxiety is exceptionally high, it can be counterproductive to try a sitting meditation. In these times you may want to experiment with a moving meditation, walking, jogging, gentle yoga, or an alternate breathing exercise to help balance the nervous system.
2. After using one of your mindfulness tools to release the tension from your body, ask yourself what your true intention is for the situation. Instead of getting the perfect job, you might see that your true intention is it to take care of your family. Of course we all wish for good health but since some health issues are chronic or long-term, maybe our true intention is to make sure a sick loved one feels deeply cared for. Instead of getting accepted to a first choice college, we can see our deepest intention is to training for a career that helps others, or fulfills some other deeply held value. When we focus on our intention and values, instead of a specific outcome, anxiety automatically decreases, and many times, creativity and wonderful alternative plans come to mind.
3. Take a few minutes to write about you most deeply held values. Need help identifying values? Take a look at the VIA Signature Strengths survey at the UPenn Authentic Happiness project. This survey will help you clarify your strengths and move toward action that creates more happiness and less need to control outcomes.
4. Next, create an values-based intention statement. Here’s an example:
“I’m never truly in control of a given outcome but my intention is to __________________________________.
By keeping this intention in mind, I will be following my highest values, including_________________________.
By following my highest values, I feel more centered and calm. I am better able to let go and trust the outcome”
Are you waiting for an outcome? How has mindfulness helped you wait with less anxiety? Share your mindfulness success stories.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!