Using Every Day Situations to Boost Mindfulness.

Little things can be our Best Mindfulness Teachers

By contributing writer, Karen Fabian, Certified Baptiste Yoga teacher, founder,  barebonesyoga.com.

I recently had an uncomfortable interaction with someone at a local doctor’s office. Running late due to traffic, I arrived five minutes after my scheduled appointment time. Upon arriving, the receptionist said in a very derogatory tone, “We need to rush you now because you were late.” I felt my body immediately tense up, and I was ready to go into defensive mode. I stopped and took a deep breath and tried to let it go.

We all have these moments during the day when we can either go into battle or relax with what is happening. Here are some everyday scenarios where the use of mindfulness can help us reframe.

Long lines: We all encounter long lines in our day. Whether at the post office or our favorite lunch spot, a long line can send us into a stress attack. These days, lines are time you can check up on your email if you have a smartphone. You can also practice good posture; stand up tall, close your eyes, relax your shoulders and take five deep breaths.

Rude customer service: Dealing with others in a customer service capacity is another part of our day. The bank teller, the cashier at the coffee shop, the woman at the dry cleaner; these interactions can be stressful if you feel ignored or treated rudely. Rather than trying to be ‘right,’ look for a way that you can leave in peace. That may mean letting something go, even when you were “wronged” but if it helps you stay centered, it’s worth it. Also, rather than reacting, silently send the person a dose of compassion. Imagine that they must be in pain to be reacting so poorly and send them a thought of peace. It will help you feel better.

Driving in traffic: Driving in traffic is part of life, but it’s one of the routine things that can push our buttons. Have a go-to CD to play in the car for distraction or songs that you like to sing.  Use the time to scan your body for tension. If you routinely encounter traffic, buy CDs that can be used to learn a language or a skill and use the time to expand your horizons.

Social Media Blunder: We live in an age where we’re interacting with people all day on-line. Sometimes, a posted comment can push your buttons, either because it’s insensitive or hurtful. Or, a post may trigger angry feelings depending on the topic. If one of your friends posts something upsetting, move on rather than respond. You’ll keep your sense of peace, and it will help you keep the situation in perspective.

The misunderstood email: Email communication, while common, is one of the worst ways to share information. Depending on the skills of the writer, information can be confusing and unclear. Prevent stress by making a phone call when you have anything to share on an emotional level. Use email more to inform, educate and share details. If you get an email and start to feel your blood boiling, rather than sending back an angry reply, call the sender with the mindset of “I seek to understand.” Use this approach and ask questions. Pretend you are a reporter trying to get the facts. This approach will help you get clear about the person’s intentions and stay away from highly charged emotions. This will keep your stress levels low and allow you to stay calm.

We wish you 20 minutes of mindfulness every day!

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