Using Mindfulness Principles For Better Mental Health
Learning to be non-judgemental
Learning to combat negative self-talk can help us see the world in a more optimistic way. Say you have an important interview/exam coming up and think ‘I’ll never pass this exam’ or ‘I’m not smart enough to do well.’ Trying to become less judgemental is difficult because judgemental thoughts are often automatic. When you notice that you’re thinking in a judgemental way, remind yourself of a more balanced perspective. Mindfulness can encourage us to experience without judgement and to respond with kindness, both towards others and towards yourself.
Sometimes we need acceptance to be able to continue to learn, change, grow, or heal. Learning to cope with losing a loved one for example takes acceptance and this takes time. It can emerge slowly and rarely happens overnight. Acceptance encourages us to see things how they are in the present moment. It doesn’t mean that things aren’t bad or downright awful. It’s about recognizing when something is outside of your control and being able to see it for how it is. It’s also about recognizing when you’re in a situation where you do have control and feeling empowered to take action and make a difference. The next time you find yourself struggling with a situation or circumstances, start by asking yourself whether or not this is something you can control.
Nobody likes waiting, and wanting things to happen now isn’t always a bad thing. Having things in your life to look forward to is good for you and helps build a hopeful outlook. The problem is; good things often take time and hard work. Rushing for a quick fix can be tempting, but practising patience will help you to work towards bigger goals and will make it easier to cope with unexpected bumps in the road. If you’re too focused on what’s coming up, you can miss out on now. Patience helps you to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
Embracing new experiences and being open to learning new things can help give you a fresh outlook on life. It also helps you to accept yourself as you are by recognizing that it’s ok to not know everything or have it all figured out. As children we had no expectations and learnt to deal with new situations. A beginner’s mind is just like a child’s. Developing a beginner’s mind can help you make fewer assumptions about yourself and other people. When you find yourself making an assumption about a situation, gently challenge it and try to let go of any expectations.
Trust is an important attitude for life in general. Believing in yourself and your abilities, and understanding that your feelings are valuable and important can help you build resilience and cope with stress and other challenges. It can be particularly hard to trust yourself when your self-esteem is low. You can build trust gradually over time by being kind and patient with yourself. Lots of people are harsher on themselves than they are with the people around them. If you wouldn’t say something to someone you care about, then try not to think it of yourself.
Life moves so quickly, and it’s not always easy to spend time reflecting on what you’re grateful for. In mindfulness, we are encouraged to give our attention to things in life you are thankful for, no matter how big or small. Experiencing difficult circumstances can cause you to view the world in a more negative way and the positives are harder to see. Practising gratitude can help us see through the difficulties life throws at us and focus on the things that are most important. It can help try to gain a more balanced perspective. Keeping a diary can be helpful. Start small by writing down one thing that you are grateful for every day. Some days you might find it hard to think of something, but be patient with yourself, there’s always something. Once you’ve been keeping a gratitude diary for a while, you can read back through some of your entries to lift your mood if you’re feeling low.