Validation and mindfulness are primary tools we use to support our emotional wellbeing. They are the doors that help us recognize when we are suffering, allowing us to identify what we need to do in order to soothe and support ourselves.
What are validation and mindfulness?
Validation is an integral component to our wellbeing. Validation is the recognition and affirmation that our feelings are valid. Depression, anxiety, grief, irritability, anger, numbness, are not only normal, but completely valid in various situations. It is not until we validate our feelings that we are able to challenge them. Challenge without validation will only lead to negative self-talk, lack of motivation, and a decrease in self-compassion: “I shouldn’t be feeling this. I just need to get over it.” And yet, you’re not getting over it.
Mindfulness is the act of simply being present. Mindfulness allows us to identity whether we are happy, sad, anxious, or hurting. It makes us aware of our thoughts, “I am not enough,” or “I’m really proud of myself!” Mindfulness allows us to feel that tightness in our chest, or the lifting heaviness after taking deep breaths.
These two components together build our inner strength necessary for challenging our behaviors and thoughts. These two components allow us to make lasting change.
How many times have we all implemented these tools, only to find ourselves asking, “Now what?” What do we do to support ourselves once we become aware? What is the action step to feel better?
Gratitude is a widely practiced skill that helps us regulate our emotions. Research has repeatedly indicated that gratitude greatly improves our emotional wellbeing. By practicing gratitude, we are able to shine light on that which lifts us up and empowers us, without minimizing our hurts or our struggles. A key component to gratitude, however, is finding the type of practice that works for you.
Some people start or end their day with a gratitude list. Others practice gratitude in the face of unwanted feelings. For example, Remy, my French Bulldog, snores very loudly! There have been several nights that I become aware of the rising frustration (mindfulness), and even though I want to yell out in frustration to get him to stop snoring (validation), I instead say, “I am grateful, Remy, that you’re sleeping and breathing.”
Building a Daily Gratitude Practice
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, gratitude is one of the many practices that can support us during this time. All of us are feeling a range of emotions: grief, anger, sadness, anxiety, uncertainty. As we face this time together, I will be providing various practices we can use to support ourselves during this time.
The focus this week is on gratitude and how you can integrate it into your daily routine – a routine that presently is being upended and rewritten with every passing moment. Every day this week, I will provide you with another way to practice gratitude mindfully and intentionally. By the end of this week, my hope is that you will have practiced several gratitude practices, and have found yourself one step closer to finding a way to integrate it into your life in an effective and mindful manner.
Until tomorrow, please stay safe and healthy! I am thinking of you all.