Leverage mindfulness in times of challenge

In the face of life’s challenges, our automatic response is our natural stress reaction, which 99.9% of the time does not serve us favorably. Those initial stress reactions aren’t necessarily bad—they’re designed to keep us safe—but often, they only provide a false sense of security.

Stress reactions can leave us:
1. Grasping for control
2. Pushing people away
3. Escaping the situation, rather than working through it
4. Avoiding the situation—or life all together

All of these options reduce our ability to build meaningful relationships and live out our purpose.

One of life’s most important lessons is to resist making long-term decisions based on short-term emotions—especially stress emotions.

During times of stress, the most effective long-term approach is to press pause and become
mindful about the situation. This may not be easy, especially when painful emotions or negative thoughts are involved. But the process of becoming fully present can help you transform or diffuse a difficult situation.

Follow these four steps to apply a greater mindfulness to a current challenge or your most common pressure point:

Step 1: Reflect on how you're currently responding.
Consider how you’re responding to a challenging situation with your mind, body, and spirit. Are you defaulting to a stress reaction? Identify the specific thoughts, energy, and emotions you are bringing to this pressure point right now.

Step 2: Think about how you can change that response
We have the power to choose how we react. Consciously replace negative thoughts with
positive ones. Zero in on the positive emotions you can apply to the situation. This shift in
mindset is not easy—we want to resist and simply stick with that initial stress reaction—but with time and consistent practice, cultivating a mindful reaction will become more natural.

Step 3: If you were to make a decision in this area based solely on purpose, love, and passion, what would it be?
After applying mindfulness, you’ll find clarity regarding your best next step and be ready to
create change. It’s time to bring your purpose and talents to this pressure point. Pinpoint what kind of emotions and energy you want to give to the situation. Decide what that looks like and how you’ll live it out.

Step 4: Begin carrying out this decision in your life.
Choose to take purposeful action. This type of action allows you to shine your brightest, even in dark or difficult moments, and create an impact. You’ll gain confidence to show up as who you are and who you want to be. Consistent, mindful decisions will move your life above the line. When life’s pressure points create stress and anxiety, we often make hasty decisions that move us away from the present moment. Today, begin with mindfulness:

  1. What is a current or common pain point in your life right now?
  2. How are you currently responding to this challenge? If your response is a stress reaction,
    how can you shift your response to a more mindful, positive one?
  3. Out of this mindfulness, what new decision can you make to bring purpose to this challenge?

If you’re looking to grow in mindfulness and take purposeful action, dive deeper with Fit Within’s Foundational Growth Experience. This transformative program will walk you through exercises that get to the heart of your purpose and help you live it out every day. Join today!

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TAGS: Personal, Relationships, Professional