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Dealing with Difficulty

When facing difficult emotions, we have the power to care for them and see the situation with clarity. It does take time and practice though. This will help you handle difficult emotions vs. pushing them away or letting them take over (can be in the moment)

Reality is that we will face difficult emotions, and when we do, we often try to find ways to change how we feel or outthink the emotional experience. It takes patience and compassion when attending to these moments. But when we care for the painful experience vs. put our attention elsewhere, we allow ourselves to feel it and see it with clarity.

This exercise will help you practice being with the difficulty vs pushing it away.

  • Start this practice when you are experiencing something difficult - emotionally, mentally, or external (bad workday, family struggles, etc)
  • When you notice you are having a difficult moment, bring your awareness to the experience instead of pushing it away.
  • Place your hand over your heart (this stimulates your vagus nerve, activating your parasympathetic nervous system). This acts as a counterbalance to fight/flight response and relaxes your body.
  • Recognizing the pain and keeping your hand on your heart, offer yourself a few phrases. These will help you recognize the difficulty, turn toward it and respond with compassion:
  • This is a moment of pain (discomfort, difficulty, etc)
  • I cannot avoid all pain in life
  • I care about this suffering
  • Repeat these phrases to yourself with the intention of caring for the difficulty. If your mind tries to fix the pain or solve it, just return to the phrases and self-compassion
  • Spend 5-10 minutes with the let go phrases and remove your hand. 
  • The difficulty may not be gone, but the phrases are accessible anytime and this will help you approach with self-compassion and brain clarity.