Being Mindful of the Mind: Your brain (and family) will thank you…

The brain takes its shape from what the mind rests upon.Rick Hanson

Mind JarI have recently been reading Hardwirng Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence: by Rick Hanson. It couldn’t have come at a better time. It has been a particularly stressful fall, with many big transitions and decisions to make. In the midst of this turmoil, the joys of everyday life were getting buried under to-do lists, endless discussions about pros and cons, worry about letting people down, anxiety about figuring out the right decision, etc. etc. etc. I was getting bored of hearing myself! I came to realize I was no longer showing up really for anyone… especially my family. My mind was constantly spinning, rehashing the same old questions and worries like the glitter and sand in this ‘mind jar‘ that my son recently made (I’m the one who needed it).

Reading Hanson’s book, I remember to take notice of the positive things happening in my life, so that they can  have a chance of making their way into my brain and memories. Even in the face of all this turmoil and indecision, there are countless lovely moments happening, dare I say every day. But they are fleeting and consequently not sticking, so has seemed like just miserable times all around. And yet, as I began to intentionally pay attention to the wonderful moments with my son, my partner, my friends – the worries seemed to get less busy and start to settle. Instead of trying to figure out the challenges, noticing the lovely moments in my life ironically helped to make the decision over which I was causing myself so much turmoil.

Mind Jar2 The worries, scared thoughts, apprehensions and anxieties are still here, but they are no longer in control. I see more clearly as I become more consciously aware of what I rest my mind upon; the warmth I feel when our son says, “I love you Mommy,” a home-made latte that has the perfect frothed-milk consistency, walking out of the cold into a cozy home, the spark of a new creative idea, sharing a meal with friends, my partner reminding me to linger in a hug, sleeping in on a Sunday morning under the weight of a duvet, the lightness that comes with finally making a hard decision. I could go on & on & on… And as I do, I am more fully experiencing and enjoying the pleasant moments of my day.  And, an added bonus – I am training my brain to experience and remember such pleasant moments more fully in future.

Thanks Rick Hanson, from the whole family.