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Mindful : October 2019
Tune In to Act Wisely The practices of attending and attuning will begin creating the space to help you respond to emotions in a new and more resilient way. Regular practice will make it easier to shift from negativity to positivity. Apply the principle of little and often. Practice again and again until these skills become the new habits of perceiving and responding to your emotional landscape. Then you can choose your response. ATTENDING This practice can deepen your capacity to become present to and consciously aware of your experience without needing to leave or push it away to maintain your emotional equilibrium. 1 Sit quietly in a place where you won’t be interrupted for at least five minutes. Come into a sense of presence, knowing you are here, in your body, in your mind, in this moment, in this place. 2 Whatever body sensation, feeling, or thought comes up, simply notice it, acknowledge that it has shown up on your radar, allow it to be there, and accept that it is there. At this point you’re not wondering about it or trying to figure it out, just attending to it enough to register the experi- ence in your awareness. 3 At this stage in the exercise, you have come to a choice point. You can let go of attending to the experience of the moment and refocus your attention on the quiet, spacious awareness, or you can attune to the felt sense of the experience to decipher its message. ATTUNING This practice entails dis- cerning the particular flavor of an emotion. It helps you learn to label complex, subtly nuanced emotions, such as those of feeling lonely or suspicious, which builds your emotional literacy. 1 See if you can identify any feeling or sensation in the experience you were attend- ing to in your body. Begin to label it—shaky, tight, churn- ing, bubbling, contracting, expanding. Try not to create a story about it. Just feel it and name it. 2 Sometimes it’s a challenge to put your finger on the exact nuance or flavor of the message. So just try to find a good enough label for now: “This is contentment,” “This is aggravation,” or “This is despair.” Whatever feeling you are attuning to, and however you choose to label it, this feeling is what it is. All you have to know at this point is that you can know what it is and label it in a way that is useful to you. You can trust in your ability to know and label a feeling even if you change your mind later about what it is. Once you can name an emotion, you are on the way to making sense of it and taking wise action toward dealing with it. — Linda Graham PRACTICE 52 mindful October 2019