In the book, Stress, Anxiety and the Battle for Your Sanity I emphasise one Mindfulness Attitude for Change as primary. Being gentle on yourself is more than words. It is an attitude you can feel. It is a gateway to healthier Mindfulness, and links into (in my opinion the starting-point for) acceptance, compassion and self-love. Being gentle opens the door to healing and insights. Without it, people can get trapped in a quagmire created by a mind dealing with the stress chemicals in their brain*. Once this happens, you can easily find yourself feeling anxious, fearful or depressed.
* As described in the book.
How do you do, being gentle?
Think for a moment about a friend in a crisis. You want to say soothing words of encouragement that acknowledges how they feel, and generally have a supportive attitude. It is the same gentleness, but toward your pain, negativity and worries.
I dislike the meme of “You can always choose your thoughts” because when someone has chronic stress & anxiety, it’s hard for the mind to sustain positive thoughts. (I offer the Melt Stress in Minutes protocol – a super-fast method to reduce the overload – chiefly because of this stress-induced problem of non-helpful thinking.)
There is one way to get into this which is not choosing thoughts. When a friend is feeling bad, one of the things I do to support them is to have an attitude and energetic environment where rest, or time-out, is available.
You can do the same for you! No need for any words. Decide to relax. Relax about the situation for a moment. Relax away from the negative thinking for a moment, and relax into a gentle, supportive manner. Relaxing can be the first step toward an attitude of gentleness.
Being gentle can start with a decision to relax – which is more accessible than determining how you must think. Then choose to be gentle (as if with a friend). This immediately starts the process of creating a better environment in your brain and body.
The book mentioned is the first in the series, Mindfulness: Stop the Struggle. They are Kindle ebooks, but are unpublished until the NEW, revised editions are ready. You get access to additional resources via the mobile app: including a PDF and epub (better for mobiles and small tablets) if you don’t want Kindle versions of the book. Royalties (author’s pay) goes to the charitable Social Enterprise, Meditation Teacher College in N/E UK.