Mindfulness and the Ripple Effect

Picture this scenario: you walk in the door after a long, stressful day of work. Your partner starts grilling you with questions, and you scan your house to find it in complete disarray. Do you let your emotions take over and quickly become exasperated? Or, do you take a few deep breaths and respond to the situation in front of you with a different approach?

If you anger quickly, you run the risk of your partner becoming defensive or hurt by your reaction. Just like anger and frustration can quickly send us into a tailspin, taking the high road and utilizing mindfulness in fact has a ripple effect. 

A model of mindfulness defines it has having two key elements

  1. Self regulation of attention (the ability to observe and be aware of one’s thoughts, feelings or sensations from one moment to the next)
  2. Exhibiting a particular attitude toward one’s experience and being able to take a stance of acceptance. In the context of mindfulness, acceptance relates to the ability to experience events to the fullest extent as they are.

You don’t have to be practicing mindfulness for years in order to reap the benefits. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness even in the short-term can lead to physical, psychological and social benefits (Mindfulness Without Borders). 

By taking a mindful approach in the above scenario, you might experience a few things: your partner will be less likely to react to your “hot” emotional state and you will be better equipped to navigate the situation at hand. Perhaps later, when you’re more emotionally regulated, initiating a curious, open conversation regarding the state of the house, talking about the day or journaling might be the way to go.

Not only does taking a mindful approach to high-stress situations affect you, but it has a ripple effect on the people around you. As humans, we can pick up on others’ emotional states. Co-workers, family members and friends can often tell when something is amiss. Conversely, they’ll notice when you are in a state of calm, or “wise mind.” 

Especially for children, having an adult figure in their life who responds to challenging situations with a mindful stance sets an example for them. Children pick up on how you might do breathing exercises or meditate in the early hours of the morning. They watch how you communicate, and in turn, naturally will take mental notes and mimic some of your behaviors. 

Utilizing mindfulness techniques and/or creating a regular meditation practice can increase the likelihood that you will be able to respond with acceptance, gratitude and calm when facing challenges. Believe me — that will impact the people around you more than you know. 

If you’d like to learn more about developing a mindfulness routine or meditation practice, shoot me an email at erin@studioformindfulness.com

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