We usually think of mindfulness as a how-to practice to get us to success. Mindfulness supports making positive changes like dieting or quitting smoking. A mindfulness practice can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression and improve creativity, concentration and memory. But, what about when we reach that moment of feeling successful? Why would mindfulness be a good practice once the hard work has paid off?
Life is all about ups and downs with good days and bad days. Mindfulness helps to even out our experience with this natural cycle we live. When we feel good or accomplished, it is easy to forget where we are in the present moment. Our thoughts go to the story of our success and, snap, just like that we are fearful of losing that moment or lost in our own ego. It could be as simple as solving a puzzle or getting a jar open or it could be landing a big deal at work or having a personal epiphany. Maybe it’s your best golf score or hitting a goal you set for yourself. Whatever success you experience, there is a response and it usually isn’t a mindful one.
“So what,” you may say. Think about what happens. That giddy feeling and buzz as our minds fly away. Have you ever solved that problem, revelled in the success and then missed what was said in the meeting for the next 5 mintues? Or, how about when you hear good news and then loose your keys? How many of us have hit our target weight and then let ourselves binge? What would it be like to bring the mind and body back to the moment of success? Not only could we enjoy the moment more, but we also stay grounded and present to make continued informed decisions and move forward with consciousness.
When you experience success this week – even small successes, use these tips to bring mindfulness to that feeling of accomplishment:
- Pause. Start by giving yourself space instead of rushing off to share the news or to your next challenge.
- Notice the body. Where do you feel your success? In the heart area, the gut, your whole body? Identify what that feeling is and give it even more space. You deserve it!
- Notice the thoughts. Does your mind go to the future or past? Are there negative automatic thoughts that creep up and try to steal the show? Don’t judge these, just notice them and let them pass without clinging to them.
- Notice the emotions. Like the thrill of the peak of a roller coaster, there is sometimes some fear and trepidation with the height. Remember that we typically don’t have just one feeling at a time and that the feelings can seem incongruent.
- Use your breath. Breathe in what you want to enhance or breathe out to let go of what is not serving you in that moment.
- Smile. Let the feeing of success, no matter how small or big, wash over you!