Start with 3 deep breaths.
Bring gentle awareness to the breathing. Bring attention to the in and out breaths, and the spaces in between.
Let’s now shift gears into a negative emotion for 2 minutes.
Bring to mind a memory of an unhappy event, an experience of frustration, anger, or hurt, or an experience in which you were triggered.
See if you can relive the event and the associated emotions in your mind.
Managing Negative Emotion
Let us now mentally practice our response strategy for 7 minutes.
The first two steps are to stop and breathe. Stopping at the onset of a trigger is the sacred pause. Let us reinforce the pause by focusing the mind on the breath, and not reacting to the emotion. If you want, you may try taking slow, deep breaths. And let’s stay in this state of pause for another 30 seconds.
The next step is to notice. We notice by experiencing the emotion in the body. Bring your attention to your body. What does an afflictive emotion feel like in the body? In the face? Neck, shoulders, chest, back? Notice any difference in level of tension or temperature.
Experience it without judging. What is most important at this point is to try to experience emotional difficulty simply as a physiological phenomenon, not an existential phenomenon. For example, the experience is not “I am angry.” It is “I experience anger in my body.”
Let’s take a minute to experience the physiology of emotion in the body.
Now we reflect.
Where is the emotion coming from? Is there a history behind it? If this experience involves another person, put yourself inside the other person looking out at you. Think about this statement: “Everybody wants to be happy. This person thinks acting this way will make him happy, in some way.” Bring perspective without judging it to be right or wrong.
Now we respond.
Bring to mind ways in which you might respond to this situation that would have a positive outcome. You do not actually have to do it—just imagine the kindest, most positive response. What would that look like? Let’s spend the next minute or so creating that response.
Returning to Grounding
Let us now return to the present for 2 minutes. Bring awareness back to your breath.
Make a tight fist with your hand, holding any of your residual emotion there. Slowly open your fingers and let go of that energy.
And bring your attention back, either to your body, or your breath, whichever your mind finds more stability in.
And just settle your mind there, for the remainder of 1 minute.
Source: Search Inside Yourself, Chade-Meng Tan
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