When we start living in our “minds” instead of our lives because of buzzy-ness, we judge our inner world as good or bad, right or wrong… We then start to avoid spending quiet leisure time on our own because the sense of emptiness may be so intense that it is just too painful to be in our own company. But, as spending quiet time is one of the most important ways (aside from physical exercise and connection with others) to deal with stress – according to the Centre for Studies on Human Stress – we might as well learn how to do that. It is good to keep in mind that we are bigger than our emotions and thoughts. They don’t fill us, they travel through us.
One way to silence self-judgement according to Tara Brach, an American psychologist is moving from head, to heart, to heart-space.
1. Moving from the Head
When you spend quiet time with yourself driving, trying to get to sleep or standing in a queue, the first step will be to become aware of any critical and judgmental thoughts. Then, make it your intention to unhook from these judging thoughts. Without believing or identifying with these thoughts, shift your attention to your senses (what do you see, hear or smell) or your breathing. Remind yourself that they’re just thoughts…Open up to your heart
2. Open-up to your Heart
What feelings are you experiencing…? Can you give them names? Shame… guilt… anxiety… anger or sadness? Maybe there are feelings of being overwhelmed, fragile or fatigue. How do you experience this feeling in your body? What are you unwilling to feel? Try to connect with this feeling, and to allow this while softening your heart a little.
3. Open to your heart-space
Put your hand on your heart, while saying kind words to yourself in this moment. “It ‘s okay, I am there for you.” Decide in what way you can take good self-care in this moment. Decide to enter these next few steps of walking through this difficulty with self-compassion and loving kindness
“Our heartspace is the ocean – it includes the waves – the vulnerability, the thoughts and all the different experiences that move through us. If we remember that we’re the ocean. We will not be afraid of the waves. It’s okay that they are here… This belongs…”
– Tara Brach
Mariki Smith (PhD Psychology)