Four practices that will get you out of your head and into your heart
Do you ever wonder how it is possible to keep your heart open to love and possibility when you are going through a difficult or challenging situation? As moms, we know a thing or two about stress and facing the difficulties that arise. Each day brings forth the unexpected, at times making life feel like a wild adventure. No matter what life looks like now, we face challenges each day, with more on some days than others. During such difficult moments, it can feel natural to want to protect ourselves and put up a coat of armor, closing ourselves off to the joy and love that surround us. Though that may feel like what we need, the truth is that the more we can keep ourselves open, the more effective we will be in navigating through whatever challenges we are facing.
The question is, though, how do we stay open to love and possibility during those times when it seems like life has got it out for us?
As a Solo Mom and a certified Calling in “The One” coach—someone who is trained in the seven-step process to manifesting love, Calling in “The One,” created by Katherine Woodward Thomas—I have learned that although we have the power to make choices, we sometimes overlook the fact that each moment presents a choice for us to make. Some choices we must make in the moment, while others we can take more time with. During challenging and difficult times, we can choose to remain open and focus on love and possibility, but that is not easy to do. It’s close to impossible not to focus on a problem simply by telling ourselves not to, but we can choose to engage in practices that will help us refocus our attention, getting us out of our heads and into our hearts in the present time and for whatever future challenges arise.
1. Practice gratitude. Research shows that gratitude has a powerful effect on our mental health and ability to deal with and process stress. When we actively practice gratitude, we are happier, mentally stronger, and more empathetic. Actively practicing gratitude allows for a natural shift in focus from whatever problem we are facing to the possibilities we have in our lives. By creating a daily gratitude practice, you can choose to focus on the things you are grateful for in the midst of a challenging situation and experience the long-term benefits that result.
2. Practice self-care. Quite simply, when we feel good, we naturally are more effective. We are energized, aligned with internal resources, and able to withstand a greater amount of frustration and disappointment in each moment. By providing ourselves with whatever it is we need to feel loved and cared for, we are then able to remain open to the love and possibility that surrounds us, even when our world seems to be crashing down.
3. Practice silence. Most of us want to vent to others when we are struggling through something in our lives. We talk to our friends, coworkers, anyone who will listen. We discuss our problem repeatedly, solidifying our focus on it and pushing the solution further away. The more we talk about the issue, the more closed off we become and the thicker our coat of armor gets. Instead, make it a practice to go into a silent meditation or prayer, possibly moving your body, or even taking a nap before jumping in to talk to others. Getting centered and solution focused before confiding in a friend will create a space for possibility and solutions.
4. Practice joy. Happiness is not a destination, something we hope to experience one day after certain conditions are met. Rather, happiness is a choice or a daily practice that we engage in to create an internal sense of joy. It goes without saying that when we are experiencing frustration or disappointment, we are probably not instinctively feeling happy. We can, however, make the decision to connect with our internal well of joy, no matter what is happening around us. Whether it is practicing joy daily or practicing joy during a tough moment, the result is a feeling of expansion and clarity that allows us to be more effective and open in our daily lives.
It is during our most challenging times that we need to stay focused on what is possible, allowing love to enter and our hearts to expand. We have the power to make the choices that will allow us to navigate through whatever comes our way, out of our heads and into our hearts.
Jennifer Butler is a writer and transformation coach, currently working as a community leader for DivorceForce. Beyond an extensive education, Jennifer also went through a life transformation as a result of her own divorce and has dedicated her work to supporting others. You can connect with Jennifer at JennJoy Coaching and on Instagram.