Friday, 11 March 2016

Acknowledging your emotions, focus on the present and keep your cool

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Buddha

I was preparing lunch and getting out some plates; I dropped one of my favorite plates featuring a Robin with his nest (pictured).  

The smashing sound brought my wife and 2 kids rushing to the kitchen, then I heard

"What's happened, oh no, no the Robin plate, that was my favourite".

"Daddy, you are a silly sausage"

I've been reading Eleven Rings an autobiography of Phil Jackson NBA coach.  Jackson was known as the Zen master because he incorporated mediation and Zen principles in his coaching.

Two zen principles I learned

Acknowledge emotions

Braking the plate and being told how of the greatness of the plate.  I tried to acknowledge my emotions/feelings
  • Stupid Hosk - for not being careful
  • frustration - if I hadn't tried to pick up a bunch of plates and sort in one motion I wouldn't have broken the plate
  • Anger - At myself for dropping the plate, at others for reminding me how lovely the plate was.
  • Sadness - it was an awesome plate
The process of acknowledging my emotions, helped me pause and consider how I should react.  During reflection of an emotion and identifying the cause, I have noticed it often seems less reasonable to act aggressively because logically it doesn't seem worth a reaction. 

Frustration and anger are instinctive reactions, which is why it's harder to react angrily to situations after you have slept on the problem.

In this situation I reassigned myself to losing the plate and being angry wouldn't help.

Acknowledging my emotions has helped me stop shouting at the kids as often (despite outrageous and persistent provocation) and getting angry at annoying but not important irritations.

Anger is a negative emotion, the side effect of anger is channeling your energy negatively for little or no reward.  Anger leads to frustration which leaves you in an agitated state until you calm down and have control of your thoughts again.

This article How to Gain Control of Your Emotions discusses steps to gain control of your emotions, the first one is to acknowledge them and the second step is to breath.

Live in the now

Stay focused on the task at hand rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. - Phil Jackson

When looking at the broken plate, I reminded myself to live in the present.
The plate was broken in the past, that time has gone, using the plate in the future isn't going to happen anymore

Focusing on the present meant focusing on the task, clear the broken plate and set the table for lunch.

This quote from Phil Jackson highlights how thoughts can influence you present actions and feelings.
At its heart, mindfulness is about being present in the moment as much as possible, not weighed down by thoughts of the past or the future - Phil Jackson
Focusing on the past or the future distracts you from concentrating and enjoying the present.  Thinking about the future can frustrate you in your current activity, Parents feel frustrated looking after children and think about what they are going to do once the children are tucked up in bed.  

To avoid this frustration, focus on the moment, get involved and play with the kids and then when they are in bed focus on doing what you want to do.

Mindfulness is about focusing and enjoying the present, get the most out of what you are doing, you will enjoy the present more and do a better job.  These two articles are a great place to learn more


“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ― Amit RayOm Chanting and Meditation

Thoughts and ideas obtained from books can change how you view the world, allowing you to see more in a situation than you previously saw.

It was interesting applying the techniques I read about in two different books, how those techniques overlap and interact with each other.

Focusing on the present is a useful technique to focus my thoughts on the task at hand and stop it wandering.  Thinking about the past and present occur all the time

The future
Nerves about an exam you are going to take
thinking about things you are going to do, instead of doing what you should be

The Past
dwell on previous mistakes

This anonymous quote encapsulates this thought
 "If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is."
Worry, stress and be anxiousness are caused by thinking about the future, but you can't influence the future until it becomes the present, it's better to focus on the present.
When thinking about the future, remember the Mark Twain quote below because you could be worrying about something which might not happen
"I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." Mark Twain
Guilt, regret, sadness, bitterness come from thinking about the past, thinking about the past comes at the cost of missing out on the present.


In sport thinking in the present it's called in the flow, the person isn't distracted and is focused entirely on doing.  When athletes can stop their mind being distracted by the past and future they can focus entirely on the present, focusing all attention to the tasks.

I have heard this called trust the process by Phil Jackson NBA coach, this article is a great story about trusting the process

The insight I take from the story is don't think, trust the process and concentrate on executing the process.  When executing a process you need to bring your thoughts to the present, and not the past or future.
Birdy Plates from Magpie

No comments:

Post a Comment