A Neuroscientist On What To Do After Getting An Upsetting Text



Rather, she recommends treating the experience with a mindfulness-based orientation—meaning, allow yourself to accept and feel any emotions that do bubble up. “A mindfulness-based approach is to first acknowledge and allow the emotional reaction that you had receiving the text message,” Jha explains. Embrace the emotions rather than squashing them down, and hold them in the space with you without particularly engaging with them.

“Sort of like if you have a friend or a child in the room with you when you’re trying to get something done—they’re there with you, but you know that your attention needs to go towards what you’re doing right now,” says Jha. “You’re not ignoring it, but you’re also not engaging with it; you’re not denying it, but you’re also not trying to reframe it.”

It’s more difficult than it sounds, especially if you are a self-proclaimed problem solver. “Trying to solve the problem would probably not be the approach to take from a mindfulness based perspective, especially if there is a deadline,” counters Jha. It’s a lose-lose scenario: You won’t have the right frame of mind to engage with the text, and you won’t get any work done at the end of the day. 

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