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Mindfulness was studied by authors, C.Daryl Cameron and Barbara Fredrickson, who asked the study participants if they ever felt bad feelings, like guilt or resentment, when they were in the process of being helpful to others. Where do you weigh-in on this topic? Are you a helpful person because you feel it is expected of you, or do you more often reach out to others with compassion or even joy?
In my many life roles, there are plenty of opportunities to be helpful. As the middle of seven children, I got a lot of encouragement to be helpful to my younger siblings. As a mom, I was very involved in my kid’s lives, and now that they are adults, I’m thrilled we are all helpful to one another.
As a coach, helping my clients and workshop audiences to thrive is my passion! If I apply this research study results to my life, I’d say that I more often experience a sense of elevation or empowerment as a helper. But this doesn’t mean I don’t also have my dark side.
The route to happiness is not really a path that includes only positive emotions. Everyone has days when crankiness is our leading energy. In fact, a deeply meaningful life is one in which we experience the broad range of human reactions and interactions…and that can mean days when we choose to be helpful to others even though we wish they didn’t need our help. For instance, I am pleased to be able to answer the front door when my elderly neighbor comes to ask for my assistance, but I am more delighted when I see her adult son pull up to the curb, knowing he will take the reins back from me! You know what I mean, right?
My mindfulness practice is a healing part of my day. I consider my mindfulness habit as a demonstration of self-love. Have you embraced some quiet time in your life? When I sit in stillness in the morning, even if it’s only for 5 minutes with my coffee cup, I am able to focus on the present moment and choose to remind myself that for today, I am going to be nonjudgmental and open with others. This adds peacefulness to all the events that follow that cup of coffee, and that helps me a lot!