Developing an at Home Mindfulness Practice to Manage Triggers




Welcome. We’re going to talk about how to develop an at-home breath work practice to manage triggers. So before we talk about mindfulness, we want to talk about some obstacles to mindfulness, which to me, this is essentially the obstacle to being able to be truly present.

So I’ve come up with a little diagram. And what this is about is being able to understand our relationship to what’s going onand understanding how that affects how we relate to our surroundings. So what mindfulness can really be seen as is our ability to have this mental discipline, to be able to be truly present in the moment.

So I’d like you guys to look at this little screen right here and these different axioms. So up here we have where we tend to escape to more positive things or things of a positive polarity. And here is more when we have these negative escapes, when we escape the negative polarity, and this is all departure from the present.

So we have a tendency to go to any one of these different realms. So if it’s a positive escape to the past and the direction of the past, it’s more maybe nostalgia thinking about the glory days, thinking about maybe more positive times in your relationships that could even be where we tend to go back and wish, I wish it was more like this, of course all of these things that we do, it’s okay to do. But just know every time that we do this, we do depart from the present moment. And so that’s really the problem here is that if we’re wanting to find our power, which the only place that we can find our power is in the present, then we need to train our minds to be able to recognize when we start to depart from that, because there’s nothing wrong with nostalgia.

But if we get caught there that can often be more of an escape than something that adds to the value of our lives. So we can go to the positive past, but we can also go to the negative past where we go to regret, where we go to thoughts, such as, if only I would have done this, then my life would be different than it is now, or we resent other things that other people have done and we go to that regret where we wish we wouldn’t have gotten into this relationship and whatever that may be.

And once again, all of our emotions and feelings, when we depart from the present, they’re always valid. But the only problem is we’re not in our power because we’re using that mental energy to go in different directions.

So as you’re looking at this, just notice where your thoughts go, where you go, oh yeah, I do that. Or I do this and you may even start going there. But my intention of sharing this is just even, understanding how often we go to these places and how much that can be an obstacle from being present.

So the next one is the positive, escape to the future. And this is a really interesting one because anytime that we have any sort of drive or ambition, such as me thinking about wanting to do this presentation later today, which is now when I’m preparing for the future. I’m actually not really in the present anymore.

I’m not really devoting my energy to what’s right here and now, and this doesn’t need to be a terrible thing, but if we’re always in prepare mode, if we’re always in, when I do this, when I can finally achieve this and we’re just moving, we’re not really here. And that’s really what’s problematic about that is we could be creating a po- a better future every day, but we never get to live that future because we’re always preparing for it.

So these things aren’t bad, but this is just where our minds go. And we want to at least be a little bit more mindful about this, just noticing, huh? I have a tendency to go here. So the next Axiom is where we go to this escape to the negative. Which is fear, worry, anxiety. So we’re thinking about what could happen, what might happen, anytime that we’re essentially creating more of a dark future.

That would be how we depart from the right here and now, and start to go into worry. Now, one thing that Brené Brown says is we have this feeling where we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. So maybe we land into a good present moment at some point in the day, and then we go, yeah, but it’s not going to last.

And naturally we might go to that fear, worry or anxiety. And especially if, if we’ve experienced trauma, there’s a great tendency for us to go here. here and here, because it’s so hard to be here because we don’t necessarily want to be here. This is not what we want our lives to be like. And that’s totally okay to feel like that, but just know the more that we can devote ourselves to the present moment, that’s, what’s going to help us to address these issues that we’re faced with in our lives.

And that’s why this practice of mindfulness can be so helpful. So any questions so far about how to understand this diagram here,

if not, then we will just March onwards. So what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is being present without judgment. Just to put it simply. So maybe you’ve heard a lot of things about mindfulness. Maybe you have a mindfulness practice of your own. So this may be a little bit different. We’re just working with the bare bones here, because if this is your first experience with anything like this with a meditation, this would be a good foot in the door, at least for a simple understanding.

Mindfulness is presence without judgment. So it’s being able to be right here right now. But we’re not casting any opinion on the present moment. One word that I like to use is notice. Often we become attached to our ideas about what’s happening such as right now, you could be going, oh, this presentation kind of stinks, or this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Or you could be thinking about something else. And you’re going to, I hope that I don’t have to deal with this thing later or whatever it may be, but often even when we’re present, we’re not actually present because we’re casting judgment on the present, which may mean that we’re not open to what the present has to offer.

And so if we can enter the present, without any judgment, what we’re trying to do there, if you attended or watched the video of the last, practice that we did, that was breath work. And now this is the mindfulness class. We talked about the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system, which the sympathetic nervous system is the fight flight or freeze.

It’s the trauma response and parasympathetic is the healing response. When we’re mindful, we go into the parasympathetic, which is the healing, and we slow things down and we open up our lens. We literally open up our hearts because we can’t heal. If our hearts aren’t open, that’s just the reality. And so when we’re in the present without any judgment, it’s an attempt at opening up to whatever the present has to offer.

So the first practice that we’re going to do. Is, we are going to go into a sensory mindfulness practice. So all that, this necessitates is your ability to just notice what is going on around you. But first what we are going to do, we’re going to close off some of the senses. So get into a nice, comfortable position.

And then I’m going to have you close your eyes.

Once your eyes have closed. Start breathing in deeply

deep, inhale, deep exhale. And first we’re going to take our awareness, noticing the sounds

so using your sensory awareness, just notice. The sounds around you, maybe even the sounds within you,

just noticing

now, bring your attention, your awareness to noticing your sense of touch. Where your body is meeting your seat. If your hands are on your lap or crossed wherever your body is in space, notice any sensory going on with and without your body.

And now we’re going to go within the body. Now that you’ve noticed your feet on the floor, your seat, we’re going to notice different aspects of the body and doing a little body scan, just noticing. What each part of your body feels like starting with your feet, your ankles, your calves, your knees, your upper legs, your seat, your stomach, your chest.

Your shoulders. Your arms again, just noticing any sensation, not casting, any idea of, be it positive or negative, but just noticing such as I noticed tension, I noticed X sensation and to your wrists, to your hands now, noticing your low back. Your upper back. Your neck, your head,

your mouth. Your nose, your ears, your eyes.

Now we’re going to move to an emotional way. Awareness, just noticing what’s going on for you emotionally again, no judgment. You’re just an observer

as though you’re looking on a third party and just noticing I notice anxiety.

I noticed sadness or whatever you notice.

I noticed peace.

There’s no judgment. Just noticing.

And as you notice these things just know you don’t have to do anything with them. Not yet. There’s nothing you have to do. Remember mindfulness, it’s just being present without judgment. Sometimes it’s empowering to just notice an emotion. And not have to do anything with it. Therefore there’s no threat.

Therefore you’re in power. You’re the one in control. So just noticing these emotions and now we’re going to bring that awareness even further in, we’re going to bring our attention to our thoughts, observing the observer, the one who thinks.

I noticed I’m having this thought.

I noticed my attention is going here

all the while. Just noticing.

And noticing how it feels to not be so attached to your thoughts. Attachment takes us from the present attachment is a form of judgment. So coming back to noticing being the witness. Just noticing

now you can open your eyes. Notice your surroundings.

Notice the room, notice the colors, objects in the room. Again, just noticing you find yourself going to judgments such as my room is dirty. Just notice I noticed that there are things on the floor.

I noticed there are things on my desk, just noticing, nothing to do just being the observer.

So that was the first practice of sensory mindfulness. So we can, I use just a few of the senses as far as touch, see, smell all those. So any of those can be used to heighten your sensory awareness, but since this is more of a therapeutic. We’re wanting to focus more on what’s going on the inside, but sometimes it’s hard to do that if we’re not able to settle in to the room, to our surroundings.

So sometimes it’s helpful to acknowledge those first, just knowing I’m safe. So maybe that trauma brain can relax a little bit. I’m safe where I am and now I can go inwards. So any thoughts or questions about this first practice? Anything that you noticed? Again, you’re not obligated to share if you don’t want.

I just wanted to ask, I try to be mindful and then something happens and I go down a,unwind. are there like common things that break the mindfulness or is there some way to, to stop, to like work on that a little bit. So working with the triggers?

So even just doing this, the nice thing is that anything that gets you out of reactivity is a potential solution. So we can get in our heads of I need to do a certain mindfulness practice. I need to do breath work, but as long as you’re coming back to a little bit more of a neutral stance within your mind, if you can get into any form of observation, rather than feeling like you are the object, because that’s really what we’re playing with here.

We were used to being the object of our existence, such as I am anxiety right now. I am. That’s what we feel like when we’re triggered. I am trauma. I am betrayal trauma, and that’s our experience. But as soon as we can go, I notice trauma. I would just say, just practice that, just practicing. I notice, because we can use acronyms.

We can say, okay. be curious, be open, accepting, loving. That’s what we call the COAL approach. But honestly, I don’t want to, over-complicate it just train your brain to, to speak in terms of noticing. Instead of just experiencing so that, that can help you to get out of the first party awareness to the third party awareness of self, which will help to mitigate that trauma trigger response.

So I appreciate the question. Thank you. So this next, mindfulness exercise is more of a loving awareness mindfulness. Now, this might be a little bit more difficult in terms of when we’re triggered, because it’s hard to go from a place of fear, to a place of love initially, which is why I like to practice first, this sensory mindfulness, because essentially what we’re working with here is just instead of trying to feel a certain way about anything, we’re just noticing.

But this loving awareness, mindfulness is giving ourselves the opportunity to see things in a more positive light. we’re not trying to convince ourselves of anything such as I, I like this thing when I really don’t like it, but we’re really just trying to engage in, in a space of mindfulness that is more appreciating what’s going on instead of just noticing it.

So we’re going to get a little bit more deeper. So we’re going to go right back into that mindful state, where I’m going to have you find a comfortable position and closing your eyes just as you did before getting into the breath, deep, inhale, deep exhale.

And first we’ll start with just noticing. It’s always good to start with noticing your body, noticing the functions of the body, such as the breath

and notice as you’re going into this awareness of your body.

Take your mind to all of the things that your body does for you,

without you even knowing it, such as your heart, pumping blood to your extremities,

your lungs, expanding and contracting without you telling them to. Keeping you alive

your feet. To help you to stand, to take you places,

your legs to move you.

Your arms to carry.

Your hands to hold,

noticing the shift of awareness,

how differently you experience your body when you’re using this loving awareness?

If you come to a place of your body where it’s hard to love, just notice that.

And if you can’t genuinely say in this moment, I love you to this part of your body. Maybe you can even say, I’m trying to love you. I’m learning how to love you. I want to love you, whatever feels true.

Just noticing the body and loving it for every thing that it does.

Now, you can take this opportunity of this loving awareness. Maybe go to this different aspects of who you are such as noticing your strengths,

loving them. I love my creativity. I love my courage.

I love my devotion.

I love my healing.

I love my willingness to heal.

And when you feel like you’ve given yourself that love to everywhere that needs it everywhere, where you want to send it, wherever feels genuine to you, bring your awareness to people, places, objects. In the room you’re in house, you’re in city or in a state country. Anything, anyone around the world that you would like to send some loving awareness to

noticing an image of them come into your mind. And using that awareness, the send it love. It’s an amazing power. You have power to love what an amazing gift

and notice as you are within this loving energy. Any shifts going on within you, any emotions. And if you notice those emotions and you like them,

maybe you could love them too.

Maybe if you don’t like them.

Would it still be genuine to say that I love you.

So we’re using this loving awareness to notice and notice how our power of awareness can shift our frame of mind. Our emotional state

and our ability to create change.

I’ll give you a few more seconds to send love wherever you want to, whatever feels genuine.

And then when you’re ready, you can open your eyes.

what did you notice?

Any thoughts, insights or questions?

Yeah, I feel like I’m not appreciative enough. it was neat to look around and think of all the things that I have that work or provide me pleasure. And where I live, the state I’m in, everything and it was over abundance of it. So it was nice. That’s awesome. Super cool.

Yeah. It’s an amazing power we have. And we don’t live in a world that really acknowledges that power of appreciation that much. And maybe one thing that I’ll say is, especially if we’re in a healing journey, a healing process, it’s really hard to feel appreciated. I know it, like I would be out the door if my therapist just said,you just need to be grateful for where you’re at.

it just so invalidating. But if you notice we’re just being soft with it. We’re not forcing anything. If you’re not grateful for something currently don’t force it. Don’t tell yourself you should be grateful. You should be appreciating. There’s no “supposed tos” here. We’re just noticing.

whatever you can though, the power of mindfulness is the principle is whatever we focus on grows. You focus on love on appreciation. It doesn’t invalidate the pain. It just gives more space for healing. That’s the idea. So whatever feels obtainable, if you’re trying to do the sensory awareness, moving to a loving awareness, whatever feels obtainable, I can only be grateful for.

Food today. Fine. Let it be food, but then appreciate it. Be mindful with it. Don’t just, just chow it down whenever you can be grateful for that’s the power of mindfulness. So mindfulness initially is just presence without judgment, but then the second step of mindfulness is moving to more of a loving awareness because that’s our true nature.

That’s why it’s true. Mindfulness, the way. Good see things, not that we should as in supposed to, but should isn’t meant to the way we’re meant to see things is with this loving awareness. So I hope that you’ve gained something from this today, from these practices. I apologize for the initial technical difficulties.

Thank you for telling me my slide. Wasn’t working. So I’ve got a homework assignment for you guys. So just notice when you’re not in the present, anytime you depart from that. Beautiful present moment. If you notice yourself going to regret, maybe asking what can I learn from what happened to create a better now nostalgia?

What can I do to recreate, to bring back the feelings that I’m missing? If I’m seeking pleasure, how can I feel good in a way that’s meaningful and fulfilling? So that would just be that positive escape. If I’m feeling shame, negative escape, what can I do to move towards the future? I want for myself, how can I feel the way I’m wanting to.

Feel, now. And then fear, worry, or anxiety. What aspect of these things can I control and influence now? What are the things I can control that I can let go of? So the homework is then when you find yourself in those places, departing from the present to just notice that, and then for five minutes, a day, going to a sensory or loving awareness, mindfulness for five.

if you guys can do that, I promise you’ll feel the effects and that you will find yourself in a better place in your recovery and that it will allow for more space for healing. So thank you so much for joining me today. We don’t have too much time, but if anyone has any last minute questions, I will gladly answer that.

I just wanted to, say that. In what you taught today, I’ve been doing for a while and in communication when I’m dealing with something that’s difficult. If I ask myself in my mind first, am I coming from a place of love as I’m communicating, it just helps me. To do what you just taught us because it’s not easy to do what, when you know, things are not in a good place, but if you’re, if you practice asking yourself, am I coming from a place of love after a while it becomes a natural thing.

I love that. Perfect. That’s a great question to ask. And just noticing, if you notice I’m not coming from a place of love again, the practice would be just not judging that, just going, okay. I noticed that’s what’s going on, but then where we’re wanting to gear that as if it’s not what I want it to be, how can I move towards that?

That’s what I call more active. Awareness active mindfulness. It’s more of the I’m noticing, but now I’m doing something with it. We did that a little bit with the loving awareness meditation, but now it’s actually if I’m not being loving, how can I be that? How can I embody that if I’m afraid and I don’t want to feel afraid, how can I move towards faith?

How can I move towards courage? What feels obtainable? Not pressuring myself, not forcing myself, but just what’s that next step. Perfect. Thank you guys so much and hope to see you at our next, live bloom class, which will be, I believe on the 16th. You’ll have to verify that. but it will be a mindfulness and breath work class.

So have a great rest of your day and take care.

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