Chapter 1 – Where Am I?
She described telling herself each night there was nothing in it for her and, consequently, mentally checking out as she was reading. I didn’t even know that was possible before having kids – thinking of something else while concurrently reading aloud – and now I do it ALL the time! I love the author’s hypothesis on why this behavior is so common, “By the time we have children, many of us have become so achievement-oriented, so goal-driven, so addicted to busyness that we lose our ability to relax along with our capacity to notice what is going on in the now”.
Notice tendencies to rate every experience as pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral
Once I started paying attention, I realized I do this constantly. Worse yet, when I rate something as unpleasant, it’s often not that I’m actually bothered but that I’ve taught myself to think I should be bothered.
One mother featured in chapter one, Kim, said something that especially resonated with me, “At times my inclination is to see the day like a big checklist hoping to get to those parts that I ‘enjoy’, like my walks or my art. But then I am only really living for an hour a day! With mindfulness practice I am so much more alive, even during the so-called tedious times.”
Realize you have a choice in the way you interpret situations
- I will relax into it.
- I will find comfort within the situation by looking at what I didn’t originally see.
- The situation will change.
For example, they may be exposed to someone coughing in the same room and asked not to leave to wash their hands and face. At first their anxiety skyrockets, but then, slowly, and without any action, it naturally goes down. The effect of the anxiety going down on its own doesn’t allow the person to attribute the reduction of stress to the compulsive behavior (like hand washing) and in turn weakens the need for that behavior. I realized that, on a much smaller scale, I could stay in my discomfort with any given situation and by natural forces my anxiety will loosen and I will begin to relax.
And if you’d like to get in on the action, it’s not too late to get your copy of the book. You have two weeks to catch up and read chapter two, which we’ll be covering on Tuesday, August 7th.
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