Do you find yourself avoiding stressful situations? Many people develop destructive habits to cope with intolerable thoughts and feelings. These habits could be drinking, self-injury, avoiding people or certain situations, eating disorders, and more.
The good news is that while we can’t avoid our feelings, we can learn to tolerate them. Learning to handle our emotions can help us be aware of them without responding to them in a typical negative way. This mindfulness exercise is designed to help you be mindful of upsetting thoughts without letting them trigger a physical anxiety response in your body.
Here is a new mindfulness exercise to add to your toolbox -
Begin by sitting in a comfortable chair. Now, read the unpleasant phrases below and
pBegin by sitting in a comfortable chair. Now, read the unpleasant phrases below and pick one to visualize. Take your time (at least five minutes) visualizing the image and use all the appropriate senses. Experience the sounds and the smells you associate with this image and the taste and touch if appropriate.nd use all the appropriate senses. Experience the sounds and the smells you associate with this image and the taste and touch if appropriate.
Even though the images these phrases provoke may be repellant, don’t judge them. See if you can be aware of them without any adverse reaction.
1. A person vomiting on you
2. Opening a door and finding a dead animal in the room
3. Looking at an open, oozing sore
4. Sitting in a dark cave with insects crawling around you
Can you think of other images that would be repellant to you?
Practice this mindful technique with two more phrases for five minutes each. Rate how you did with each image, using the scale: 1 = ”I didn’t respond to the image at all” and 7 = ”I was completely disgusted by the image.”
Now, write down one situation that usually causes you to be very anxious and upset. Practice this same exercise, thinking about this situation in a mindful and non-judgmental manner, at least once a day for at least seven days. Record your progress and notice how you start responding to the stressors in your life.