Personally, on a practical level, I’ve noticed that I am far less reactive (and I AM an Aries, so that holds some serious weight). I just don’t get as pissed about things as I used to. I’m more even tempered and chill overall.
I notice my feelings sooner, and through my practice am able to regulate them quickly. This is especially helpful in parenting, because I’m able to notice my triggers and manage them through self-regulation before I do something I regret like yelling at my son. This also has 2 other big benefits: 1) I’m teaching my son how to regulate by modeling how I do it in front of him. 2) Regulating and calming myself helps co-regulate his big feelings helping them move through his body. (As an aside, regulation skills are critical for success in life because we need to know how to get through big feelings like anger, stress, frustration, and disappointment to accomplish anything in life. This is so important to be teaching to our kids not only for emotional intelligence, but for their future achievement in life.)
I am able to show up as the parent I most want to be for my son. Now this doesn’t mean I don’t get triggered, I am VERY human and I absolutely get triggered. However, it does mean that MOST of the time I am able to calm my emotions through self-regulation and show up responding to what is happening rather than reacting. That means that all those parenting scripts and tools I’m constantly collecting to be the best parent I can be for my son, I can actually use. Mindfulness has widened the space between the trigger and reactivity so that I’m calm enough to pull them out and implement them.
I experience the “living moment” so much more. Those are the moments that when we are fully present see the awe, wonder, and magic of this life. Sometimes it’s noticing the way the evening twilight light shines across the snow capped mountain when I’m driving to get groceries. Other times it’s fully seeing my son, and partner Dave, in the living room playing “farm” with Playmobil’s strewn all over the floor and I soak them in like a deep inhale.
I notice that even when I am triggered, I am able to have compassion and empathy for the other person, and myself. THIS IS HUGE. How many of us immediately disconnect and see the person who triggered us as the “other” instead of seeing their humanity. This is critical in all relationships, whether that’s your child who just proudly spread bum balm all over their body, rug, and bed (like my son did when he was 2), or your partner when you’re in the middle of an argument. The typical response for many of us is to either blame them, disconnect from them, or see them as their immediate behavior instead of the full whole person that they are. Mindfulness allows us to hold both, the anger and the person without having to disconnect from them.
We can also fall into the trap of judging ourselves just for being triggered at all. How many times have you said to yourself, “How could I have done/said/thought that?” or “I’m a terrible mom for being triggered by the bum balm all over Magnus’s room, why can’t I just be more patient?” Instead of, “Wow, I’m feeling super triggered by this mess. It makes sense that I’m feeling overwhelmed right now, anyone would. I’m still a good mom even if I’m triggered.” Compassion is critical to take us out of the shame cycle of: trigger > yelling > shame for yelling > pressure to be “better” > which builds overwhelm > lowers our tolerance > we get triggered again > yelling and the shame cycle continues. We can interrupt this cycle by stopping the shame, and holding ourselves with compassion and understanding, which creates space for a new behavior. (I teach more about this in the Mindfulness For Moms Course)
I have a deeper connection to my Self. Some people call this their soul or spirit. Some people call it the universe or source. In Buddhism they simply call it awareness or the observer. My experience is that it’s all of these things. It’s the part of me that was born into my body that is timeless. It has a deep wisdom, and when I get quiet, I can access it. It also is the part of me that is not separate from anything or anyone else when my head tells me different. It grounds me and reminds me that I will always be okay.
But if you’re curious of what the research the American Psychological Association has to say about it’s benefits, here’s just a small part of a long list:
- Increases happiness
- Lowers stress (and cortisol levels)
- We get to know our true selves
- Improvements in working memory
- Improves how we handle and recover from stress
- Can change the brain in a protective way against mental illness
- Better control over process pain and emotions
- Helps us when we’re not even practicing it (the amygdala is changed, which is the region that responds to emotional stimuli)
- Body awareness, self awareness, regulation of emotion and regulation of attention
- Less judgmental, more self aware, and better listeners
- Makes us better people: compassionate
- Boosts immune function
- Helps you sleep better
All these benefits (and more) are from practicing Mindfulness for as little as 8 minutes a day and for only 6 weeks. What’s really intriguing is that these results long after the 6 week program because Mindfulness rewires your brain through neuroplasticity. In fact, neuroscientists have found that monks who spend years meditating actually grow their left prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most responsible for feeling happy. Isn’t that amazing?
One of the reasons I love this practice so much is that you can get huge results from very little effort, and once you learn the practice, you’ll notice more and more areas of your life open up and transform. Just imagine how if you only had ONE of those results, how you and your family might benefit from it. My clients all say this practice has completely changed their life, and I know it will for you too.
If you want to try Mindfulness out for yourself click here to join the Mindfulness For Moms Waitlist and get the first 5 minute meditation for FREE. You’ll also be the first to know when the doors open and get access to special bonuses.
I’m curious, do you practice Mindfulness? If so, I’d love to hear how it has impacted your life, so tell me in the comments below!