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How to Heal a Broken Heart Using Mindful Self-Compassion

“It’s not your job to like me—it’s mine.” Byron Katie

Why are breakups so painful? Whether we are the dumper or the dumpee, the range of emotions we feel is universal: devastation, sadness, and anger. Oh, and there’s the acute pain, as if your heart had been gouged from your chest, stabbed a dozen times with a butter knife, and booted to the curb.

Am I right?

Of course I am. I’ve been there. We all have. I intimately experienced a broken heart and its rippling effects when my partner and I ended our seven-year relationship. I admit that I was the architect of the break-up. I was mostly shut off, insecure, and jealous during the tenure of the relationship. Our breakup was sticky. It was messy. It was ugly…downright.

As if the pain isn’t enough, we can’t sleep, we lose our appetite or eat like a cow, we stop bathing, we look homeless, and we watch YouTube playlists of How to Get Your Ex Back in Thirty days. Sad days.

You see, a breakup is a loss. It’s a death of a relationship. It’s a death of an identity that was entangled with our ex partner. The stages of a breakup are similar to grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s no wonder we’re a mess when we split from an ex.

The good news is that there is an antidote to our hot-messed-up heart: mindful self-compassion.

What is Mindfulness?

When I first came across the practice of mindfulness, I had a difficult time grasping it: to be aware on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment. Huh?

What I found helpful was to understand its opposite: mindlessness.

In the past I often turned to food to make myself feel better. During the breakup I gorged mindlessly, frequently finishing pints of ice cream and large bags of chips and popcorn without ever being present to the eating.

For example, one particular day I was listening to music and a song came up that reminded me of my ex. Instantly, I became sad. This prompted me to grab a bag of popcorn and start eating. Next thing I knew the bag was almost empty. Then I muttered to myself, “I’m such a fat cow.”

When our brain is on autopilot, we are not present in our experience of life. In the case of the popcorn, I had been mentally checked out, lost in my thoughts of my ex, as I nearly finished the bag. Then I chastised myself for it.

Studies have shown that when our minds wander, we’re unhappy. When I look at my own life, I see that being mindless, not mindful has led to a lot of suffering in the forms of anger, shame, anxiety, and depression.

The practice of mindfulness, then, is to pay attention, on purpose, to what we’re thinking, what we’re feeling (emotions and bodily sensations), and what is happening in our environment, without judging it.

In other words, we are an engaged and impartial observer to what we’re experiencing in the present moment. We don’t use labels or preconceptions, and we don’t believe our thoughts or take them personally.

How Can Mindfulness Mend a Broken Heart?

A stressful event, such as a breakup, can cause our minds to explode. Often, we’re spinning on our thoughts and we don’t know how to stop it. There may be thoughts and feelings of rejection, regret, shame, and unworthiness, and a host of destructive beliefs.

After my ex and I split, I had a lot of regret, and my thoughts involved punishing myself for how my actions had led to the undoing of the relationship. I replayed past events over and over in my head. I kept wishing that I could have done things differently.

I thought I could have been more open, trusting, and loving. And I wished I hadn’t been so scared to share my vulnerability and fears, because if I had, perhaps that would have strengthened the relationship instead of weakened it.

The breakup was excruciatingly painful, yet I felt it necessary to hurl more insults at myself.

Fortunately, there are many forms of mindfulness that can help us get over a breakup and our ex. This is what I did to heal myself.

Mindful Self-Compassion

Self-criticism is very common. And in the context of a breakup, when we’re in pain, we tend to open the floodgates of self-berating thoughts. We are ruthless, and very good at it.

We might think:

  • “I’m such a loser.”
  • “I’m fat and ugly.”
  • “I’m such an idiot for screwing things up.”
  • “I’ll never find someone as good as my ex.”
  • “My ex is dating and happy, and I’ll always be alone and miserable.
  • “I deserve to hurt.”

When we believe these harsh thoughts it exacerbates our suffering.

According to Kristen Neff, author of Self-Compassion – The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, self-criticism has a strong association with depression and dissatisfaction with life. And underneath our self-attacks are deep insecurities about our own personal worth and value.

This was true for me. I had often discounted my talents and abilities because I had a core belief that I wasn’t good enough. And my breakup only further triggered my negative self-perception.

Fortunately, mindful self-compassion can snap us out of our mindless self-judgment, and provide us comfort when we need it most.

Being compassionate means recognizing that there is suffering, being moved by the suffering, leading us to alleviate it, and understanding that suffering is part of our shared human experience.

The practice of mindful self-compassion is being aware of the self-criticical thoughts that cause us pain, offering kindness and love to ourselves to allay it, and recognizing that we’re not alone—what we’re going through is part of life, and we all have imperfections.

There are many self-compassion exercises, but this is one of my favorites:

Self-Compassion Exercise: A Letter to Yourself

1. Grab your journal or a piece of paper and pen, and write about the thoughts and feelings of inadequacy and insecurity you may have as a result of the breakup. Write about any emotions that arise—shame, regret, anger, or sadness.

2. Think about a real or imaginary friend who is kind, gentle, compassionate, and unconditionally loving. This friend knows you intimately—what you’re going through, your life history, your strengths, your weaknesses, your thoughts of inadequacies and insecurities.

3. From the viewpoint of your compassionate friend, write a letter to yourself. Using deep compassion and loving kindness, what would s/he say about your thoughts of inadequacy? How would s/he address the suffering that you’re experiencing as a result of your self-attack? How would s/he point out that you are only human and that we all have strengths and weaknesses?

4. Once you finish writing the letter, put it down. Do something else like go for a walk or make a cup of tea.

5. Pick up the letter and read it. Let the words of kindness and compassion penetrate your being. Receive the love, the tenderness, and the acceptance.

The “aha” moment for me when I first did this exercise, in the context of my breakup, was that I was shocked at how harsh I had been toward myself. How had I allowed the self-attack when I would have considered the same behavior, if inflicted on others, unconscionable?

As a result of the exercise, I recognized that I was hurting and I gave myself permission to receive kindness and love from myself instead of rebuke.

The practice of self-compassion allowed me to hold space around my thoughts and feelings, and it created an expanded awareness of who I am—that, even if I’d made mistakes in my relationship, I am lovable, I have wonderful qualities, I am capable of a lot of things, I am resilient, and most importantly, I am enough. Further, it helped me realize that we are all connected through similar experiences, whether good or bad. We are never alone.

Benefits of Mindful Self-Compassion

Some of you may be thinking, why bother with this self-compassion thing, when I can just go to my best friend or mom and have a good cry with them and they’ll make me feel better? This is fine as well. It’s important to have a good support system.

The thing is, when we learn how to be self-compassionate, we become our own source of love and happiness. We stop relying on the external to feel good about ourselves.

To boot, there is evidence that the practice of self-compassion can make us more resilient, more joyful, more productive, and less depressed. I can attest to this, having come out of my rut happier, stronger, and more at peace. I also learned ways to offer myself love and kindness, which I can apply whenever I feel the slightest of discomfort.

Some of the ways I give myself care are:

When we experience a devastating event, we have a choice in how to respond. Some choose to get out of dodge mentally and deny their feelings through unhealthy coping mechanisms. Others take the route of self-punishment for their flaws and inadequacies.

There is an alternative: mindful self-compassion. If you want to get over a broken heart, this practice should be at the top of your healing arsenal.

About Marina Alteza

Marina Alteza is a writer, traveler, and the founder of Mindfullycity.com, where she documents her practice of mindfulness, self-compassion, and gratitude to transform her relationship with daily life challenges. She’s currently pursuing her Mindful Self-Compassion teaching certificate.

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Knowing When to Let Go of Relationships: 3 Signs It’s Time to Move On

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~Lao Tze

Thanks to the Internet, our lives are full of people. We’re connected literally all the time.

And yet, despite our ceaseless connection, we feel disconnected.

As the pace of life becomes ever more frenetic, we’re like charged atoms, bumping into each other more and more, pinballs in the machine. We come into contact (and conflict), but we don’t commune so much.

As real relationships of depth and quality become harder-won in this busy new world, their value is more keenly felt. Simply put, in the words of Brené Brown, “Connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. It’s why we’re here.”

As we fight to carve out space for these connections whose value has become so apparent, it’s natural that we cling to them more dearly.

However, sadly, often the tight clinging to something is the sign that the time has come to let it go. With something as valuable as a relationship, how do we know when that time is? How do we know when it’s time to move on?

I’ve unintentionally become an expert at moving on. Having lived in perhaps a dozen countries and had jobs with as many as 200 days of travel a year, I am keenly aware of the centrality of relationships. Living out of suitcase and having a rented apartment fully furnished by IKEA, they are all I have. They are my lifeblood. But sadly, I have also become far too practiced at needing to let them go.

Traveling so much and relocating so often, my life has been enriched by the people I know. So many nights alone in my hotel room, I wasn’t alone. I was writing, speaking, and despite the physical distance, connecting with my dear friends.

I’d arrange business trips or weekend travel so that I could meet them in some city somewhere in between. It was an effort that I would gladly expend, but I learned to see when that effort was no longer worth it, as difficult as that was to accept.

Here are the three simple signs that tell me when it’s time to move on:

1. When you need to plan and strategize how to present yourself

As life moves forward, we change. Our jobs, our looks, our economic situation, our habits, our interests—everything changes all the time. It’s the one constant in life.

As two peoples’ lives change simultaneously, gaps inevitably form between them. In a relationship that will stand the test of time, these gaps are bridged with each meeting. It’s the classic case of “We haven’t seen each other for five years, but when we met, it was like no time has passed!”

However, there are times when, with each meeting, the gaps get wider, and soon they’re more like gulfs. In these cases, we often spend time before the meeting fretting about how to explain, obfuscate, conceal, or excuse. Shame has crept in, and we feel like we can’t be ourselves. We’re either embarrassed of who we’ve become, or we suspect the “new” us somehow will not be acceptable to the other person.

I’ve put on too much weight—she’ll never like me this way. My career hasn’t taken the same trajectory as his. I got that divorce, while he has the same wife and now three kids. When the joy and anticipation you should feel when reuniting with someone is replaced by anxiety and inadequacy, that’s a really bad sign.

Of course, it could be all in your head. You don’t give up on the first go. You should make an effort to “be real” and lay it out there that things have changed. You might find it was a lot of worry about nothing. However, if your fears are confirmed and your efforts repeatedly result in awkwardness and shame because the other person rejects this new you, then it’s probably time to move on.

It’s important to understand that this is not a matter of blame. True love is knowing someone fully. It’s when two people become one but maintain their individual integrity. If you need to be someone else in order to get along, then you cannot be in a truly loving relationship.

2. When the relationship drains more energy than it gives

There is almost nothing more nourishing, refreshing, and perhaps even exhilarating than truly connecting with someone. All life is energy, and when someone opens up to you, they share their energy with you, and your share yours with them. Both parties are enriched.

That laugh you share with your old friend who calls unexpectedly. The warm feeling in your stomach when he smiles at you. The rush you get when she tells you she feels the same way about you. That is all our life force.

However, some relationships do just the opposite: they drain us. Our interactions with these people do not involve connection, but instead armoring up and deflection, and that requires energy.

What does this look like? It’s the stressful gaming out of what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it in order to avoid conflict with that person. It’s the unease you feel when you learn that she’s going to be at that party. It’s the constant bickering with your boyfriend into which otherwise joyful occasions degenerate.

How does this feel? After being with the person, you feel tired, relieved to be away, or annoyed. Beforehand, you may feel nervous, low-energy, or simply like you’re going through the motions or doing your duty.

Two big caveats:

First, if this was a relationship that you considered important to begin with, this does not mean you give up on the first bad vibes. Of course you try and try and try again to make things work, but at a certain point the act of pushing the square peg in the round hole becomes too much. It’s just too draining.

A single negative interaction cannot be enough—in fact, an intense argument shows, if nothing else, that you care about what’s at stake in the relationship.

Second, this is not a recipe for selfishness. Getting energy does not equate with being the recipient of another person’s affections and generosity. In fact, quite the opposite: anyone who has loved knows how much better it feels to give than to receive; it’s a cliché that happens to be completely true.

And yet, if over time you are the only one giving, it starts to feel wrong. At some point you realize the person comes to you for help, not to share. A lasting relationship is inevitably one of mutual sharing and generosity. Anything else will start to wear.

3. When you’re the only one making the effort

I never thought I would need to face this topic, but today’s world of constant connecting without connection has given rise to a terrible new phenomenon—ghosting.

Always having access to a connected device, people can easily just switch to some other form of distraction when there is any negativity (or even effort) associated with reaching out or responding to another person. As our reach expands, our time in each other’s physical presence shrinks, and hence it’s now possible to erase people from our digital lives.

Now, it’s rare to be the recipient of a “hard” ghosting—to literally be blocked. To get to that point would involve a clear and unmistakable rupture in the relationship. However, “soft” ghosting—consistently not responding to messages in a timely manner or not at all, and opting for quick texts over thoughtful outreach and connection—this is something you’ve likely experienced.

Responses to your outreach become fewer and further between, and at some point you realize that you’re basically out of contact.

In these cases, the other person has either consciously chosen to focus on other things they deem more important, or they’ve gotten lost in the world of easy connecting. Or, they may simply have decided they no longer care to maintain the relationship and want to avoid the awkwardness of telling you.

As I began to encounter these painful situations some years back, my first instinct was action and confrontation.

I made an effort to increase my touchpoints with the person in question, invited him/her to dinners and other meetups if possible. When rebuffed (or more likely ignored), I got to a point where I directly conveyed my distress about where our relationship seemed to be heading and asked if he/she wanted to turn it around and what we could do the change the situation.

Never once was this route successful. If someone is moving on with his or her life, and there’s no more space for you, no amount of guilting, cajoling, passive aggression, or begging is going to turn it around. That person needs to value your relationship above the alternatives that constantly compete with all our time each second of every day. He or she needs to want to keep you as an important part of his or her life.

In these cases, the best you can do is reach out, but that outreach needs to taper off—pushing and insisting and pleading will only serve to create negative emotions and likely lead to conflict, or even worse, the person feeling the need to respond to you out of a sense of guilt or obligation. Your relationship lingers on and becomes more stilted and forced and loses its value.

In fact, in any of these cases—when you feel like you can’t be yourself, the relationship becomes draining, or you’ve been ghosted—it’s difficult not to generate a lot of emotional or actual drama. It’s a sad situation involving someone who at least was once very important in your life. You naturally want to fight for it, and you should, to a point.

But, like life itself, in relationships you have to learn to trust the flow. You can swim against the current for a little while, steer yourself this way and that, but in the end you cannot control the river. Instead of ratcheting up your response to the situation and effecting an emotional crescendo, do your best to reach out to your friend with honesty and compassion.

There will come a time when you know it’s not worth it any more. You will feel the negative emotional vibration in the form of resentment, frustration, fear, hopelessness, etc. At that point, however, you risk tainting even the good memories of your time with that person with the bitterness of the breakup. Rather than gratitude for the time you had together, you feel loss. You rob yourself of the relationship you had.

There is no way of knowing when to act, but in this case you’re not taking action, you’re letting go. The best way to know when to do that is to follow your instinct, and when your time being with and thinking about the person becomes a negative experience, that’s probably a good time.

The other benefit of letting go rather than fighting is that you allow space for a reckoning if the other person decides to reengage. And though that’s unlikely based on my own experience, it could happen someday.

After all, you rarely know the exact reasons and motivations for the other person’s behavior. Indeed, they’re often unknown even to the other person, and perhaps unknowable. So, one day you may find your phone ringing, and it’s your friend—people always retain the capacity to surprise you!

And as hard as it might be to imagine, there may be a good reason for the person’s behavior. You never really know the suffering they’re feeling, but if they’re letting go of a dear friendship, the least you can say is they’re not thinking clearly. Some other suffering is taking hold, and it’s your friend’s loss. Don’t make it a terrible loss for yourself too by creating a drama.

This is of course easier said than done, but if you stay conscious and draw on your compassion, you can do it.

Recently, a dear friend of ten years ghosted me. She and I had been through it all: moving countries, marriages, deaths, international travel—all the major life milestones.

A little over two years ago, she became more and more distant and less responsive. Not surprisingly, this coincided with her becoming much more active on social media and followed a period of tragedy in her life. I reached out repeatedly for about a year, but my efforts eventually led to total silence, and I let go. I haven’t heard from her in a year and a half.

The moment I knew it was time to let go was when I was tempted to write her something passive-aggressive. At that point I realized I was experiencing the relationship with negativity, which would inevitably come through in my communication with her.

I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt, but more futile efforts would have hurt even more and put a possible future reconciliation at risk. I also needed to have the compassion to understand that she had recently gone through a tragic time, and undoubtedly that had an impact on her thinking, feelings, and behavior. I hope she’s alright and remain open to the possibility that one day she might come knocking on my virtual door.

But the truth was clear—it was time to let go.

About Joshua Kauffman

Joshua Kauffman is a recovering over-achiever and workaholic. Leaving behind a high-powered life in business, he has become a world traveler, aspiring coach, and entrepreneur of pretty things. Amateur author of a recent memoir Footprints Through The Desert, he is trying to find ways to share his awakening experience, particularly to those lost in the rat race like he was.

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The Secret To A Happy Life Is Hidden In Your Daily Habits

“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.” ~Dodinsky

It hit me as I cruised along at full speed on a busy motorway on my way to a friend’s house.

Shaking like a leaf, I pulled myself out of the car and stood by the side of the road. I desperately gulped in the fresh air, a frantic attempt at calming myself down.

This was the ninth day in a row I’d experienced a wave of panic so intense, it felt like I was about to die. It was utterly unbearable.

I’d been worrying about all the work I had left to do on my Master’s dissertation and berating myself for taking a day off to spend time with friends when I should have been working. All of a sudden, my throat closed up, my chest tightened, and my hands shook so much that I was convinced I would lose control of the car.

This was the final straw.

I’d been waiting for a magic solution, a miraculous savior, a quick fix that would snap me out of my near-constant state of worry. I’d been waiting for the universe to wave its wand and finally grant me a normal life. It wasn’t happening.

I wasn’t willing to face up to the work I needed to do in order to stop indulging in my bleak hypothetical predictions about the future. And more importantly, I didn’t even know what the work was. But that day, I made the decision to find the key to a happy life and to start putting in some serious elbow grease.

I just couldn’t live like that any longer.

That was three years ago.

What You Practice, You Get Good At

The problem is, for a very long time, I practiced worrying. About everything.

I worried about what people thought about me. I worried about what might happen to my health. I worried about whether I would have the career I wanted.

I also practiced managing this worry, and the myriad of unpleasant emotions that accompanied it, with food, alcohol, and sex. I used substances (and other people’s bodies) to make myself feel good, to take my mind somewhere else, and to give myself a moment to relax.

But underneath, the worry was still there; these “fixes” just masked it. Instead of paying attention to what was actually going on in my head and realizing that my thoughts were creating a reality that didn’t actually exist, I practiced covering up my desperation, hoping that this fix would be the one that actually worked.

I was constantly feeding habits that gave me short-term satisfaction or relief, that I knew were ultimately destructive. And I know I’m not the only one.

Many of us spend our days acting mostly out of habit—the foods we eat for breakfast, the route we take to work, even the thoughts we entertain. These become the actions we practice, over and over again.

And what we practice, we get good at.

What Do You Practice?

Here’s a little something to reflect on: What habits are currently running your life? What thoughts do you think every single day? And are these serving you, or not?

We might not think of habits as a practice, but that’s exactly what they are. Each and every day, we’re practicing being the type of person we want to be, whether we realize it or not.

My anxiety, despite being a very real (and often terrifying) experience for me, was a habit. I was practicing being the type of person who was constantly stressed out and worried about everything. Nowadays, however, I practice being the type of person who recognizes these thoughts, knows her limits, takes care of herself, and makes a different choice each time her old pal worry comes out to play.

Think about it:

  • How many times a day do we complain about things not being the way we want them to be?
  • How many times a day do we disengage from connection with others and allow ourselves to be distracted by technology?
  • How many times a day do we worry about things that haven’t even happened yet?

The answer is likely: a lot.

We’re experts at this stuff. After all, the key to mastering any skill is repetition; if we repeat a specific action enough, eventually we’ll gain fluency and competency at it.

This is why the true secret to happiness lies in our daily habits rather than in the “magic fixes” we often think will make us happy.

Daily Practices for a Happier Life

So what if we became conscious of the habits that are running our lives and switched them on their head?

What if we started practicing things we actually wanted to get better at? And what if, instead of making it some huge, life-changing mission, we simply set the intention to live this way, making small steps toward it wherever we could?

Remember: What we practice, we get good at.

With this in mind, here are a few suggestions for habits we could start practicing daily in order to live a happier life:

  • Kindness
  • Compassion
  • Generosity
  • Acceptance
  • Non-judgment
  • Presence
  • Listening
  • Forgiveness
  • Relaxation

The way these look in our lives will be different for everyone, but the intention behind them is the same—to notice our destructive habits and to make a different choice.

Personally, I’ve found three super effective ways to start bringing new practices into our lives.

1. Notice your autopilot.

We have to recognize our habitual autopilot mode in order to do something about it.

Becoming aware of the way we live our daily life—the choices we make, the people we surround ourselves with, and the stories we tell ourselves—helps us to remember who we really are and what we really want. It also helps us make more conscious decisions about how we act so that we choose our response rather than react out of habit.

The best way to do this is to first make a list of all the times you already know you tend to slip into autopilot.

For example, you might recognize that you frequently spend your lunch break scrolling through Facebook, and then you feel bad about yourself after comparing yourself to other people. Or, you might notice you regularly worry about worst-case scenarios when you’re lying in bed at night.

Once you’re aware of what you’re doing, you can commit to making a different choice the next time you’re in that situation, practicing a habit that doesn’t serve you.

I have to be honest here. This takes time.

In the beginning, it was difficult for me to recognize when my “worry” head was on because it felt so natural to me. But once I started paying more attention to my habitual thoughts and behaviors, I found it much easier to switch the script in those moments and instead practice some deep breathing to relax myself.

Action step: Take a moment to think about the times you already know your habitual autopilot-self takes over. What could you do to in those moments to break that pattern, re-engage with the world, and make a different choice?

Remember: What we practice, we get good at.

2. Focus on your physical sensations.

Another great way to practice new habits is to focus on how they make us feel in our bodies. I like to think of this in terms of openness (expansion) and tightness (contraction). I usually feel pretty open and soft in my heart space when I practice kindness, for example, and tight and tense in my belly when I practice being rude.

Our sense of expansion or contraction in our body can act as an “mindful shortcut,” giving us an easy way to determine what might be going on in our heads.

If we focus on how we physically feel in our bodies and the sensations our habits bring up for us, we can really start to distinguish between the ones that currently serve us and the ones that definitely don’t. Since our physical sensations often directly relate to our emotional experience, it’ll also provide us with a little motivation to continue practicing the things that make us feel expanded.

The issue most of us run into here is that we mostly walk around feeling completely out of touch with our bodies. In fact, it wasn’t until I really started to dive deep into yoga that I realized my body was constantly giving me important signals—and I was totally ignoring them.

The best way to begin observing your body is to sit in stillness and just notice your bodily experience, even if you start with just a few moments a day. The more you “check in” with your body, the more you’ll be able to tune in to what it’s trying to tell you.

When I started paying attention to my body, I noticed how different thoughts affected me in completely different ways. My worry made my body feel tight, tense, and achy, for example, whereas calm thoughts made my body feel soft, relaxed, and open. This helped draw my attention to my worrisome thoughts and choose to focus on my breathing in the present moment instead of on my “faux” reality.

Action step: Start your day by asking yourself one of these questions:

  • “How do I want to feel today?”
  • “What do I want to practice today?”
  • “How do I want to live today?”

Then check in with yourself regularly throughout the day (setting up a reminder on your phone helps!) to observe how your body’s feeling. Pay particular attention to your heart, solar plexus, and belly areas. Is there a sense of expansion or contraction? Does this align with how you want to feel? What are you currently practicing? And does this align with what you want to practice?

Remember: What we practice, we get good at.

3. Set an intention.

We can also practice new habits by simply affirming to ourselves that it’s our intention to practice them.

Intentions are perfect because they’re designed to be a guideline rather than a goal. With goals, it’s far too easy to beat ourselves up if we don’t reach them, but with an intention, we can just start over again.

If we set an intention to be kind, or compassionate, or generous in the morning, we’re also far more likely to jump at opportunities to practice this as we move through our day. It helps us make decisions that are more aligned with the people we want to be, since our intention will still be fresh in our mind.

For example, I’ve recently been setting an intention to practice forgiveness. I realized that I’d been holding on to so much resentment, anger, and blame toward myself (and others) about my anxiety. I felt so much rage about my past—the years I’d spent constantly trying to please other people at the expense of my own needs; my first boyfriend’s extremely controlling behavior, which left me feeling utterly weak; and the pressure I’d felt growing up to be “perfect.”

So every morning I listen to a forgiveness meditation, which includes repeating to myself, “I see and feel the pain you’ve caused me, and it’s my intention to forgive you.” Then, as I’m about to go into my day, I remind myself that it’s my intention to continue to practice forgiveness.

Have I forgiven everyone (or myself) yet? No. But that’s beside the point.

The point is that every single day, I’m practicing.

Action step: Decide on at least one new habit you’d like to start practicing. How can you set this intention for yourself each day? How can you remind yourself of this intention when you go off track?

Remember: What we practice, we get good at.

About Becki Sams

Becki Sams is a freelance writer, blogger, and personal development nerd. As a trained mindfulness meditation teacher and hardcore yogi, she’s passionate about anything that helps us all live more blissful lives, look after one another, and nurture this planet we call home. Subscribe to her email list for your free stress melt meditation and Unplug, Unwind & Recharge e-book.

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