Over the course of the last four weeks, I’ve taken you through a lot of information about mindfulness and given you many examples of how it could help you live a happier life. What I’d like to do today is explain why living mindfully means so much to me personally and to also walk you through a few ways that it has changed my whole life. And when I say that, I mean it literally. Ever since starting to practice mindfulness last August, my life has completely changed in the best ways possible.
I’m much happier with who I am.
I’m less stressed about the little things.
I’m not worried about the future.
While I walk you through the next examples of how these changes came to be, I want you to put yourself in my shoes. You may not be able to relate to these stories 100%, but I’m sure you’ve been in similar situations. So, take a minute to read about these examples and ask yourself if you would like to manage fear, stress, and worry in the same positive way that I was able to simply by using mindfulness.
Example 1: Fear
In this example, I’d like to tell you about my recent experience having surgery to get my gallbladder removed. On the night before my surgery, I started worry about how much pain I would be in when I woke up and my brain started coming up with all the things that could potentially go wrong during the surgery. It would have been easy to focus on my fears and get all worked up, but I also knew that I wanted to go into the day of my surgery feeling calm and mentally prepared instead of being a nervous wreck.
Thankfully, my mindfulness practice kicked in on auto-pilot and I was able to pause my fears by pulling myself back into the present moment. I reminded myself that I trusted my surgeon to take good care of me and I also focused on how good I would feel once my defective gallbladder was out. By letting go of my fears about the future, I could instead focus on the current moment.
Once I felt calmer, I came up with the idea to meditate and visualize my first moments waking up in the recovery room. I realized that if I could play it out in my head ahead of time, I would be able to feel more comfortable with the situation when I woke up. I ended up walking through the entire process in extreme detail in my head, focusing on the thoughts and feelings I’d probably be having in the first moments after waking up from surgery. Once I felt more comfortable with what to expect, I was able to fall asleep and get some rest before my big day.
On the morning of my surgery, I woke up feeling calm and ready. My time working on mindfulness the day before had helped me to quiet my fears. I still felt a little nervous, so I reminded myself to take things one step at a time. I quickly realized that I didn't feel very worried about the upcoming surgery and wasn't scared about what could go wrong. I realized I felt so good because I was living in the moment and not worrying about the future.
Now that I knew the trick to staying calm, it almost became like a game. Every time I would start to feel a stab of fear or worry I would simply focus on the moment I was in. There was nothing scary about sitting in the waiting room or meeting with the anesthesiologist. There was nothing to worry about while sitting in the pre-op room talking to my mom and getting my vitals checked by the nurses. In fact, by the time they wheeled me back to the operating room, I was so calm that I was joking while sliding over to the operating table!
Going through the hours leading up to my surgery in such a state of calm was a profound and positive experience. It really opened my eyes to how much ability we have around reining in our thoughts and using them to shape our experiences in a positive way.
Example 2: Stress
Anyone who has bought a house would probably describe the entire process as stressful. Picking out a house and then going through the paperwork process is one of the most complicated and worrisome things you can go through. There’s a lot at stake and we are usually emotionally invested in getting an outcome we’re happy with.
I just started the process of buying a house and it has been stressful from the get go. Within moments of meeting my Realtor she told me that I needed to prepare myself to go against multiple offers on houses. She warned me that I would need to be ready to be all in and make solid offers that would help me stand out from the competition. No pressure, right?
Thankfully I was lucky enough to find a house I loved almost right away. I found it a few days into the house hunting process. In fact, it was only the fourth house I had been shown. I instantly fell in love and knew it was exactly what I wanted. The obvious next step was to make an offer and wait for the seller to respond. Except, when the deadline time came, there was no answer. It appeared that the sellers had decided to reject my offer without any type of response or counter offer.
Needless to say, I was devastated that I had lost my dream house. I was upset that the sellers hadn’t responded and worried that I wouldn’t find another house that I loved as much. But, instead of sitting around and moping about the situation, my mindfulness training kicked in and I realized that it just wasn’t meant to be. I made the decision to let it go and move on, knowing that feeling upset or sad wouldn’t help me find my new dream home.
It wasn’t easy to let go and my mind kept returning to the same thoughts over and over, but I would simply remind myself that dwelling on it wouldn’t make it any better. I mindfully moved on and started looking at other houses online, determined not to give up. As luck would have it, the sellers did respond about 24 hours after the deadline. They apologized for the delay and sent a counter offer for the house.
I was ecstatic! And I also realized that no matter how I had reacted to the initial problem, they still would have responded in the same amount of time. So, I could have either stressed and fumed and been extremely upset for those 24 hours, or I could have done the opposite and allowed myself to feel at peace with the situation. Either way, the outcome was the same but I felt much better by having chosen the second option.
What does this mean for you?
The main point I want you to get from these examples is that life is going to happen how it wants to and there are a lot of situations that we don’t have any control over. We can either choose to fight the process and feel awful, or we can use mindfulness to our advantage and choose to let go of the stress and fear and worry.
Sounds nice, right?
If you think that mindfulness is something you would like to explore but don’t know where to start, please consider joining my free 3-Week Mindfulness Challenge that starts on May 14. You can read more about the challenge here.
I hope this blog post helped show you how much mindfulness can change your life!
As always, feel free to share this post with someone who might enjoy this topic or want to start building more mindfulness into their life.
Until then, sending all the light & love your way,
Interested in reading more blog posts like this one? Here are a couple others to check out: