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Mindful Self-Regulation
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Mindful Self-Regulation

Train your brain to pause in moments of reaction.

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[Kelly Boys, Mindfulness Trainer] Have you ever spoken too fast and then regretted it or lashed out in a moment of anger? Have you ever told a lie because you're trying to protect yourself or you feel under pressure? Check this verse out from the Hebrew Bible, also called the Christian Old Testament, and I'd love to link up the dots between this verse and something called mindful self-regulation. This is Proverbs 12:15-18, "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise person listens to advice. A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent person overlooks an insult. A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies. Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." It's so easy being human to be reactive but there's something called mindful self-regulation that helps us catch ourself in a moment and, kind of, downregulate from being reactive, maybe telling a lie, maybe lashing out at someone, maybe distancing from someone when they really haven't done anything, but we're just feeling upset. You know, these habits are destructive to our relationships but sometimes we can't help ourselves. There's a way out though, and that's actually through mindful self-regulation. This is one of the key pillars of emotional intelligence. So what happens when you take a moment, when you pause, when you slow down, when something that someone else says is triggering for you or when you feel under pressure and you feel like you have to give an answer? Mindful self-regulation is actually just that pause. It's the moment that you can actually see that you're triggered, take the pause, take a couple of breaths, let yourself downregulate your experience, and then return to the moment. When we return to the moment after that, we can actually speak words that heal, we can speak words of truth from our heart, from our authenticity, we're less likely to be reactive and to tear others down. So how can you develop the tongue of the wise, as this verse calls it? Let's do a reflection together. So feel free to close your eyes. You can have your eyes open if you'd like. And here's one of the questions, where can I grow in self-regulation? Where is there an opportunity in my life to self-regulate more? Maybe it's with a particular person, maybe it's a certain environment like being in school or at work. Just check out, where do I have the opportunity to grow in self-regulation? Where do I have the opportunity to grow in truthfulness? What would it be like to actually share my truth from my firsthand experience with authenticity, even if it might hurt another person? In seeing that when you lie, you hurt yourself and others, it can often be best to simply speak what's real for you from the heart. Where can I grow in listening and not overreacting? Where can I grow in just setting myself aside and simply opening my ears and being with another person? So reflect on that for a moment. And where can I grow with healing rather than disparaging words? Is there a certain place that I use disparaging words, maybe online, maybe with someone that I could actually choose to use healing words instead, words of kindness, or maybe my words are no words because I've distanced myself from something that is harmful to me. So think about these scenarios where you can, kind of, flip the script, flip the pattern, begin to learn this mindful self-regulation. As you think of a scenario, maybe make a commitment in this moment to try it out. Thanks for being with me.

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