Mindfulness for Mothers: Feel those feelings

Be honest with how you feel.

The gift of motherhood is also a gift of awareness. With becoming a mother, you may become deeply connected to feelings of unconditional love, compassion, patience, gratitude and deep respect. You will also come in close contact with deep sadness, loneliness, grief, guilt, jealousy, pain, fear, and anxiety. Be honest with whatever feelings arrive at your doorstep. We often demand from ourselves to feel good. We feel anxiety when we don’t feel all that good. We often question our sanity in our moments of darkness. However, there is no why. There never is a perfect answer for any ‘why’. So instead of getting hooked onto these feeling states let them wash over you, watch them come and go without becoming a victim.

Here are some ways that help.

Journal your feelings

I do this ALL the time. Recently I had become consumed by jealousy and guilt about my one year old baby girl’s behaviour. For all of the month of October she had become pro-daddy (for me this read anti-mamma). She didn’t want to go anywhere without her dad. She wanted him no matter where I was. It felt like she preferred her daddy over me. And what turmoil I put myself through! I felt she didn’t love me, I felt I wasn’t doing enough and that’s why she chose her dad over me. I journaled about these feelings in an honest way. Not to find out reasons and causes for these feelings but to just look at them straight in the eye. Eventually I realised the self-centric nature of these feelings which moved through me. I was able to acknowledge a sense of under appreciation for myself.

While this may seem a bit too intense and perhaps not too logical, that’s what emotions are. They are NOT logical. In fact, emotions are activated by different brain- regions than logic. So don’t fret about the acceptability of what you are feeling. Be honest with it without acting out (and hurting yourself and others) and it will pass through you. It will.

Sit with your feelings

 

A great way to be honest with your feelings without acting out on them is to sit with them. In meditation, that is. There are several kinds of meditation practices. The practice of focusing on the breath is one of the most powerful one’s. Sitting on a flat surface-a mat or the couch, all you have to do is watch the breath as it happens. To start with it is great to sit for as little as five minutes, increasing it as you progress in your practice. Another Buddhist practice of loving kindness is one of the most potent forms of meditation practice to open your heart, become compassionate and  loving.

Focus on the present moment

If your feelings seem to overwhelm you while you are at a task then bring yourself to the present moment of doing the task. Over and over again bring your awareness to the task at hand. If you feel that your feelings seem to find its way into action-an act that might be destructive then walk away. Focus on something that needs doing (in case you cannot just “sit” with them). Go do the dishes, and pay attention to you how your hands move. Load the washing machine and become aware of your body’s movements. Chose an activity and stay with it, completely.

Write a gratitude journal

Emotions and feelings can often sweep us off the floor. It is important to stay grounded in the face of difficulty. One wonderful way to do this is to start a gratitude journal. Write about three things every day that you are grateful for. If you are struggling with self-acceptance, with feeling not good enough write a gratitude journal thanking yourself for all the wonderful things you do for yourself and others.

 

POINTS TO CONSIDER

 

Feelings and emotion states always vacillate, and that is OK. In order to overcome a negative feeling, feel it completely rather than pushing it away.
1. Journal: Write about your overwhelming emotions, at the time of feeling it or at the end of the day. Write about it as you felt it, rather than trying to scrutinize it, beat yourself about feeling that way, or trying to find out why you felt that way. Towards the end of your journaling, take a moment to breathe in space into the feelings you wrote about. Perhaps you can end with “may I allow space around my feelings of ___________” This helps with accepting all parts of who you are.
2. Practice sitting meditation
3. Take yourself out of the situation that is causing your emotions to become overwhelming and focus on a task fully-this is meditation in movement.
4. Journal Gratitude: Three things you are thankful for today? Three things you are thankful for about yourself?

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