Summary Resilience Module 2: Mindful Emotion Awareness

A note before you get started - your library has a summary of the module Resilience 1: Purpose and Fulfillment for your reference.

Mindful emotion awareness

In this module, you will learn how to practice mindful emotion awareness. It will help to enhance your resiliency. As previously discussed, resilience is the ability to adapt and recover from life’s challenges. You can also use this practice to help manage symptoms related to long COVID.

Mindfully means you pay attention to the present moment in an open-minded way.

Being mindful of your emotions in difficult situations can help you deal with stress and recover from such circumstances more effectively.

mindfulness components nonjudgmental and staying present

Stress can worsen long COVID symptoms. Stress reduction practices like Mindful Emotion Awareness can help minimize these symptoms.

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If you were asked, “What emotions are you feeling right now?” Would you be able to answer the question?

It might not be so easy! You may have a hard time putting your feelings into words, or identifying exactly what you're feeling. 

While some emotions are uncomfortable, these emotions are still essential.

Think about crossing a busy street. You are about to step off the sidewalk and notice a car racing toward you. You're immediately afraid - your heart rate increases, your pupils dilate, and you feel a sense of urgency. You react by jumping out of the way.

While not always enjoyable, this example describes why all emotions can be beneficial during certain situations. Mindfully experiencing emotions can make them more bearable too.

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This graphic shows many ways to describe your emotional experiences, both positive and negative.

describing your emotions

What emotions have you experienced today? ______________________________________

Next, we’ll look at the two parts of mindful emotion awareness - non-judgment and staying present.

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Non-judgment

You may judge yourself for not feeling the way you “think you should.”

For example, “I shouldn’t feel anxious,” or “I should feel more motivated.” Since emotions are natural and part of who we are, this doesn’t work - you cannot completely control your emotions. 

Emotion components

Emotions are made up of your thoughts, physical sensations, and behaviors. 

You may judge one part of an emotion - your thoughts, physical sensations, or behaviors - but this often causes your uncomfortable emotions to worsen.

For example,

Worsening negative thoughts might be something like: “I’m going to be way too tired to do anything today,” and then thinking, “I need to stop thinking about it.” 

Thinking “I can’t cope with my racing heart and sweaty palms,” may worsen the physical sensations.

Judgment of behavior might be: “I might angrily react to the cashier for going too slow.”

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Non-judgmental awareness, on the other hand, means you accept your emotional experiences, instead of judging them as problems and, perhaps, pushing them away. 

nonjudgmental awareness

You’ll recognize uncomfortable emotions and focus on their meaning - what they’re trying to tell you. You'll be able to do this without causing your emotions to intensify beyond what's helpful. You’ll be better at telling the difference between effective and ineffective reactions to emotional experiences. 

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Staying present

With mindful emotion awareness, your emotional responses are rooted in the present. This feels more manageable. You can use the information your emotions provide to guide your response - it is really the only place where you can influence your response.

Example: The Doctor's Visit

You have a visit scheduled with your doctor to review test results. You begin to feel nervous and fearful of what the results will show.

You think to yourself, "I should just cancel my appointment."

You worry you will be given bad news. You're thinking about negative past experiences and what might happen in the future.

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By being present, this experience can be much different. Instead of focusing on what could happen or what has happened, you think to yourself, “I am feeling nervous because I am finding out new information about my health am excited about this new opportunity. These results will help me understand if I’m moving in the right direction. I’m excited to see how I can continue to improve my health!

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Present-focused awareness also helps you connect with your positive emotions. For example, you could view the appointment as an opportunity to learn more about your health. Or, consider the possibility that you'll hear good news - your health has improved.

To train yourself to become more present-focused, you can use one of the mindfulness meditations in your Goodpath program.

presence bringing new perspective

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Write about a time when you were in an emotional situation and you thought about the past. ______________________________________

Think of a time when you were able to successfully handle a difficult emotional situation. Please write about it.______________________________________

From your previous example about successfully handling a difficult emotional situation, break down the emotion into thoughts, physical sensations, and behaviors.______________________________________

What helped you the most in managing those thoughts, physical sensations, and behaviors?______________________________________

Do you think you applied the concepts of mindful emotional awareness (nonjudgment + present-focus) to the situation? If so, in what ways?______________________________________

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It’s okay if you haven’t yet used the techniques described here to effectively handle difficult emotional situations. You might have actually used some of the techniques (non-judgment + present-focus) without even being aware of it. 

The idea is that you’ll learn and practice the methods during this program, so you can successfully use them going forward.