Active Acceptance

Emotions

Emotions are temporary and manageable. Learn to accept them as they are, not as you wish them to be. A happy life is not a constant high. Pain is inevitable, but suffering is avoidable.

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Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.

Jack Welch

Mental Noting

Mental noting is a playful meditation technique. It helps you watch your emotions and label them for what they areβ€”temporary and manageable, instead of judging them as good or bad and making them into problems.

To watch your emotions:

  1. Assume a posture that allows you to breathe easily. You can be sitting, lying (as long as you are not sleepy), or standing while waiting for someone. Please do not perform this exercise while driving. Cultivate a well-disposed curiosity, and do not expect anything particular to happen.
  2. Allow your attention to settle on your breath. Where do you feel it? Do you feel the air as it enters or leaves your nostrils? Do you feel your belly rising and falling? If you don't feel anything, that is okay, too. Do not try to control your breath or judge it in any way.
  3. Wait until you realize that you got distracted. The moment you notice that your mind has wandered is when you become present again. Gently notice and say to yourself what has distracted you. For example, "a thought," "a feeling," or better be more specific such as "sadness," "anger," or "fear." The key here is to label the emotion without passing any judgments. Instead of saying, "Sadness is bad, and I should not feel it," say, "This is sadness." If it is a feeling, where do you feel it in your body? Return to your breath and wonder what your next emotion will be.

The best opportunity to perform mental noting is when you feel a painful emotion taking over. If that is not possible, you can reflect on your emotional state later.

Many people resist painful emotions instead of accepting them because they want to move forward in life. They mistakenly believe that surrendering our pain is giving up. It can't be further from the truth. Accepting is a brave act, an active response. To bring about a change, we need to surrender to reality.

Yes, you have just learned how to meditate. Breath focus and mental noting are meditation techniques. If you don’t like meditating, just keep breathing. 🎈

Remember, all emotions are acceptable and a part of being human.

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Now, try to focus on your next ten breaths. Every time a feeling or a thought distracts you, label it and return to your breath.

How did it go? Any uncomfortable thoughts or feelings? How do you feel about your emotions when you allow them without passing judgments? In what way do they feel different?

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