Some events can put us in situations where we feel completely overwhelmed with feelings and emotions. Negative feelings like sadness, embarrassment, anger or positive ones like happiness, relief, enthusiasm, we get affected by them. Usually so much so that we cannot get out of feeling them. They take our whole mind space, and there does not seem to be a way out other than expressing them, talking and acting them out of our system. For positive feelings, we really cannot complain. For negative ones, on the other hand, it would be nice to have a way of dealing with them nicely.
We can get rid of the negativity causing these feelings in two different ways. First, we can remove this negativity from around us – this is where we should start, let the negativity we can let go, go – toxic relationships, sad job, etc. The issue is, we will never be able to remove all the negativity around you because it is not up to you – external events are out of your control. Which is why once we have removed as much from our life, we need to learn to deal with the rest internally.
Meditation will not tell you to deny, avoid or hide your feelings. Rather, it will teach you to acknowledge your feelings, lean into them, get to know them and be at peace with them.
Dealing with feelings
Feeling is normal and natural. However, what if you could have a bad day at work and let it go as soon as you get home? What if a friend of yours embarrasses you and you could fully control your reaction? This is what being at peace with your feelings is like. Knowing, right this moment, what you feel like, acknowledge it and come back to the present moment. Having, not control, but power over what comes in and out of your head.
How can you be an expert at anything if you refuse to have a look at something? This is why meditation teaches you to get in there with these feelings and notice when they arise.
Living in the moment
Living in the moment, or mindfulness is something that many people have given wrong interpretations to – like going on holidays when you want to, never letting an opportunity pass you by, getting a tattoo, planning etc. Living in the moment – being mindful – is not about doing anything in particular. It is simply about being present now, thinking only about what you are currently doing. Not thinking about the next or the previous second – thinking about the current one and being 100% focused on what you are doing now.
When you get annoyed or frustrated, take a deep breath and come back to the now. Do not stay in what happened 5 minutes ago or what you fear will happen 10 minutes from now. The only moment you control is the current one.
Your boss comes over and tells you he will need you to restart what you are doing, only this time using the method you suggested in the first place that he did not agree to. Frustrating, right? Here is how to deal with it. First of all, it is work, you have to do it to get paid so it should not annoy you, the work you have to do is not up to you so let’s not get frustrated over it (removing as much negativity from the external event). Having said that, we are still here, annoyed at our boss. Take a deep breath, close your eyes, acknowledge the frustration, focus on your breath and reopen your eyes. Now start working as if it never happened. You are at work, doing the work your boss gave you. Nothing has changed since the time before your boss came to talk to you. There is still work to do – frustration does not get the job done, do not let it impact you. Come back to the present moment.
Where to start
I use an app that was recommended to me called Headspace. I personally think it is the best out there, and when you start noticing the value of these daily exercises on your personal life, you can choose to get a bundle of sessions. For the first 10 sessions though, it is free. 10 sessions are enough to make you realise how good the impact is on your day-to-day life.
Meditating will take you from 5 to 10 minutes per day (or more if you feel like it, of course). You will need to do it consistently to start noticing a difference on you and on the relationships with people around you.
Remember that nothing comes from bad feelings. It only wastes your time.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Buddha
On a related note
Note: One thing to notice is that you can use meditation to lower down your stress levels. Another way to do that is to live a simpler life and get rid of the sources of stress first, before working on dealing with the remaining stress itself. Otherwise, that would be the equivalent of cleaning your place while it is still messy. Tidy up first, then clean. Read on this at Have less and be happier.