Welcome to the third of our 5-part series on mindfulness meditation. This time, we’re focusing on mindfulness of emotions. Not only will you be able to tame the fluctuations of the mind to experience more clarity, but will also be able to process intense emotions.
As I write, we’ve been sheltering-in-place to slow the spread of Covid-19 for over a month now. Emotions are intense, but it’s not just because people are afraid of getting the disease. We are now dealing with the emotional and mental repercussions of being isolated from others, dealing with financial hardships, and for many, a loss of purpose.
How is Meditation Good for Emotional Health?
It’s important to recognize that no emotion is innately bad! We humans are emotional beings and our capacity to feel is what makes life so deep and meaningful. So meditation is not meant to remove any emotion from our lives.
However, where we get stuck is when we become reactive, impulsive, or defensive because of being caught up in our emotions. This is more harmful to us and our relationships than the emotion alone.
Meditation give you a wider perspective where you can see your emotions clearly. You’re able to pause and give intense emotions space. Quite often they diffuse into something less intense when you can see them alone, separate from the story that you feel caused them. Meditation helps you to live with all emotions regardless of whether you like them or not.
Guided Meditation: Mindfulness of Emotions Instruction
Is this your first time with mindfulness meditation? You may want to look back on our last two sessions Mindfulness of Breathing and Mindfulness of the Body for helpful tips on what to expect.
Find a place where you won’t be disturbed. Create the ambiance for your practice that will promote relaxation and strengthen your resolve to meditate.
For this mindfulness of emotions meditation, I used the doTERRA Adaptiv Calming blend. It helps to bring you into a relaxed, parasympathetic state of being. It keeps the heart open, allowing for more space to feel.
Meditation Instruction: Using the Emotions as an Anchor
Come to sit in a comfortable position on the floor or in a chair. Let your hands rest on your knees or thighs with the palms turned up or down. Set a timer for at least 10 minutes and close your eyes.
There’s always an overlap of anchors in mindfulness meditation. First, bring your awareness to the breath, letting the mind settle as it watches the smooth steady flow.
Next, feel the breath deep in the body. Allow your mind to settle down with the breath. Feel your whole body breathing. Expand and open with each inhalation. Release tension with each exhalation.
Finally, bring your awareness to your physical heart space. Which emotion is most on the surface here? Can you name it? See if you can sit with this raw emotion with out getting into the story of why you feel this way.
Do you notice anything else as you’re feeling this way? How is your body responding to this emotion? Are you tense? Is your breath constrictedIs your stomach queasy? Do you feel palpitations as your heart beats faster? Again, just stay with these raw feelings and do not react by turning your attention away.
Be as present and as accepting with these emotions as a loving, peaceful parent would be with a child who’s having a meltdown. (Seriously, this perspective really works to create more self acceptance and compassion).
If you do notice that your mind has drifted, go all the way back to feeling the breath moving deep in the body. Rest here for a moment, and then slowly return to the heart space.
Repeat this over and over for the amount of time you’ve committed to being here. When you’re ready to come back, return to deep breathing. Allow the sense organs to slowly open to what’s happening around you.
Before you get up, take note of how you’re feeling now vs. how you were feeling when you began. Any change is progress! Remember this to help you commit to continuing for your personal benefit and those you’re in relationship with.
How did you feel after doing this meditation? Did you notice a shift in your mood? I’m eager to hear about it in the comment below!
Please share this meditation with a friend, since there are many who can use emotional support right now! Thank you for considering it! Well wishes…
When you’re ready, please try our next meditation in this series, Mindfulness of Thoughts.