the little red book of mindfulness

Self-Soothing: The Little Red Book of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is not hard to understand.

Understanding mindfulness is not mindfulness.

Practicing mindfulness in your daily life is a process, a habit, that once you embrace and understand can make significant improvements in your quality of life and even your health.

How Do You Smooth Your Own Feathers

During the course of any day in our lives, we’re going to run into people, places, and events that unsettle our inner calm. Here are a few ways I self-soothe by bringing my brain back into alignment with my inner-buddha nature.

  • several deep breaths
  • walk outside in nature
  • listen to calming music (often without lyrics)
  • make and blow on a cup of tea
  • call a friend
  • go to an al-anon meeting
  • support someone else’s cause
  • give comfort to someone in your life
  • talk to my kids
  • kiss my partner
  • pet the dogs
  • wrestle with the dogs
  • say the serenity prayer like a mantra

At this moment in time, I don’t have a cat. (My girlfriend is allergic, so I’m looking for a Burmese.) But, I would put cuddling with or petting a cat as one of the more zen-soothing activities. Of course, you first have to have a cat (have nurtured a cat) that’s into zen.

Energetically, when I am upset I am not going to make the best decisions. To the degree that I’m upset, that’s the degree to which I will fk stuff up, when I’m triggered.

Recovering Your Calm

First step: awareness of your ruffled feathers | “I’m really pissed about …”

Second step: is it within my reach? | “I can change this situation by doing …”

Third step: it is out of my reach | “I will let go of other people’s business”

Fourth step: take physical action toward your reset | “I’m heading out back with the dogs for a minute.”

Fifth step: serenity now | “And the wisdom to know the difference.”

In my life, the serenity prayer has gotten me through most bumps. Here’s the mantra I use most often to soothe myself.

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Onward into the calm of compassion for myself and my people.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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