The Process of Mindful Thinking

The Process of Mindful Thinking

Here comes a thought that might alarm you.
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According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word “mindfulness” can be defined as, more or less, being aware of your own thoughts, emotions, and experiences on a moment-to-moment scale or basis. In other words, being mindful in thinking enables a person to think about and observe how certain thoughts and experiences affects how they behave and what they can do to feel better about anything that bothers them. The more mindful a person becomes in their thinking, the easier it becomes to cope with and handle themselves.

In my experiences, I’ve noticed how many people don’t actually participate in mindful thinking. When someone is upset or angry from anything that bothers them, reactions vary from person to person. The initial common reaction, however, tends to lean towards being extremely upset about something and maybe even temporarily shutting it out to focus on other things. Others who might have a hard time dealing with emotions in the first place might completely shut down and find it hard to actually find a solution. This, of course, is definitely not a healthy way of dealing with any sort of problem, whether it be intrusive thoughts or a situation that causes you to get upset with yourself or someone else. Even I admit, I am guilty of practicing unhealthy ways of coping with my emotions towards certain situations as I unintentionally gravitate towards this unhealthy way of dealing with my emotions due to the sole fact that I can’t cope at all sometimes.

So what’s the best way to react when you don’t want to think about how bad it can feel? How can we, as individuals, aim towards a better way of thinking so that we can also help those around us as well as ourselves with the methods of mindful thinking? The answer isn’t as hard as it might seem to be and can even be conveyed in such a way where even a child can understand how to cope with situations that can cause pain.

In a recent episode of “Steven Universe” (and yes, I am somehow finding myself writing about this show again), Steven and another character, Connie, work together in figuring out how to cope with the problems that are bothering them. These thoughts keep making their fusion Stevonnie fall apart easily because of how troubled they both are. In the best way possible, this episode, like many other episodes in this TV show’s past, was able to portray how to stay mindful about the thoughts and emotions that plagues each character’s mind through song. This song, while being a super catchy tune, highlights some of the most important aspects of mindful thinking that it made me pretty darn emotional just thinking about my own problems and insecurities. Here is the song in question:

From just the song and visuals alone, it is really easy to see how much of an impact the lyrics have on the premise of mindful thinking. As Garnet sings to Stevonnie, little white butterflies appear, eventually surrounding the characters. It can easily be interpreted that these individual butterflies represent the thoughts that plague each character's minds based on past experiences they might be trying to suppress, which is the perfect way to portray them.

Garnet ultimately shows how in order for you to not feel bad about a thought, the best way to cope is to think about how bad it hurts from just one thought. Eventually, after acknowledging your feelings and even what you might have done to someone or something, the next step is to realize that your situation and things in the present moment might seem scary now, but you are definitely going to be okay. It's also really important to acknowledge the positive aspect of loved ones helping and being a part of recovery. As bad as something may seem, you're definitely not alone and even if it might look like a situation or problem is going to break a relationship with someone you know, it's not going to happen. It's best to look and realize that no, this situation is not going to tear away a relationship and they're here with you too.

With the way this episode conveyed mindfulness in such a simple way, it's even got me thinking about how I can utilize this method of staying in the present moment as a way to help me cope with my own emotions. Instead of thinking and picking at every little thing that bothers me, this song has got me viewing my problems in such a way where I can think to myself, "It's going to be okay because I'm here."

Though this way of thinking might seem a little overwhelming at first because you're quite literally hitting the core of your thoughts or problems, but rest assured there is nothing to worry about because here you are in the present moment and you're doing amazing.

You are living, you are here, and you've got nothing to fear.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Everything I Feared Came True — I'm Still Standing

And so from the outside looking in, someone may say that my life is utter chaos and in ruins. But so what if they're right? They don't define me. But even I say that my life is utter chaos and in ruins. But so what? God intended for this all to be good.

Ryan Fan
Ryan Fan
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This past year, almost everything I feared came true. I felt like, at times, I lost everything I cared about: reputation, friendships, and everything in between.

But by the grace of God, I'm still standing. And by that grace, I know it is for the greater good that I cannot yet see. This is a time in transition, but I know for certain that if I can keep standing in this cold season in my life, that God has made me more resilient and more tolerable of adverse circumstances than I ever imagined.

I have always had a deep fear of swimming in open water. When I was really young, I almost drowned, and to this day I have some slight fear going into the water at a beach or ocean. But then once I'm there and in the water, things are fine. I know that everything will be alright, and that's an awareness I didn't have when I was younger.

All my fears came true, but that was the best thing that could have happened to me. At times, that destroyed my anxiety. My pain and grief over losing almost everything I cared about was the best thing that could have happened to me, and although I couldn't see it at times, and sometimes I still can't see it, I know it's true now.

Pamela Cytrynbaum of Psychology Today echoes the point in an article that explores how grief can cure anxiety. The worst happened to Cytrynbaum when she lost her brother out of nowhere, and it wasn't even something she was anxious about. Instead, her anxieties were filled with germs, date rape, identity theft, Ebola, financial instability, and health. She tackled those anxieties through flu shots, insurance, seeing the doctor, and checking her credit rating.

How did this one get past my supersonic, hypervigilant anxiety radar? I thought I had played out every possible loss, every scenario, all of the potential wolves and Nazis at the door. Never saw this one coming.

She realized she didn't fear the right demons, "so certain I knew what to look out for," thinking she could outrun the wolves coming after her. But she couldn't see this one coming. "I know these are just thoughts and my life is full of profound blessings. But that's not how it feels," she says. "I got punk'd by my own brain. Big time." And for her afterward, nothing was scary anymore. "No loss seems impossible," and the loss of her brother was a sort of "pathological innoculation." Her profound suffering in grief taught her to prioritize what really mattered, and all those small fears didn't.

There is another popular adage I was reminded of recently: Murphy's Law, which states that "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong." And we scoff at Murphy's Law as something our overprotective parents or guardians tell us when there's any semblance of risk in our lives. I don't see any reason to abide by it and prepare for the worst possible outcome in any given situation or we won't take any risks (which is probably why, at 22, I don't think about insurance that much). But what happens when it actually applies, when whatever can go wrong does go wrong?

Well, it's important to note that when we say everything goes wrong, it means that everything goes wrong according to our plans. Sure, no one has close ones dying or unemployment or natural disasters anywhere near the top of their plans, but what we mean more by everything going wrong is just that circumstances turned out drastically unexpected.

It is only that kind of adversity, though, that reminds us of how lucky we are and how good we have it. Paul Hudson of Elite Daily writes that highly successful people "plan and then attack" in these circumstances because "moping isn't allowed." But my experience and my circumstances reminded me that sometimes, we just have to feel it or it's like a wound we don't treat, a wound that needs stitching that we don't stitch up. When life is a journey through hell and back, having a scar lets us thrive, but just pressing forward unsustainably with a severe, untreated wound does us no favors. Yes, we have to keep going, but we also need to take the time to stop, too.

Seeing our scars as sources of pride remind us that we are more resilient than we ever imagined, and our stories can inspire others to believe in themselves and do the same. I certainly know the heroes in my life are the ones who have navigated and traversed the most difficult of circumstances and come out on top.

When everything goes wrong, we're reminded how lucky we are to even be alive, even when being alive is an ugly thing to go through. "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on," Robert Frost once said. And those words are true and always will be while we mentally and emotionally wrestle with these questions. But Betty Draper of "Mad Men" offered succession and counterargument to that quote when she said, "I know people say life goes on, and it does, but no one tells you that's not a good thing."

Whether good or bad, though, there was a voice that told me, sometime in the peak of my struggle, that no one can decide whether our circumstances and life going on is good or bad. We decide. And God supersedes us and goes a step even further in the Genesis 50:20 rule: what man intended for evil, God intended for good.

"Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself," Robert Frost said. And so from the outside looking in, someone may say that my life is utter chaos and in ruins. But so what if they're right? They don't define me. But even I say that my life is utter chaos and in ruins. But so what? God intended for this all to be good.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for a while. I'm still standing, and everything will be alright.

Ryan Fan
Ryan Fan

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