1.Regret. Wishing we had or hadn’t done something a certain way holds us back from seeing the opportunities that are in front of us. We get stuck in wishing we could change the past, instead of seeing how we can begin to create our future. When you catch yourself regretting past choices, ask yourself what you think you missed and then explore ways you can create that in your life today.
2. Guilt. This is kind of like what the Buddha said about hanging onto anger: “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
3.Self-judgment.Compassionate curiosity sparks understanding and connection—within our own self and with other people. Instead of judging yourself, get compassionate. Give yourself love and lots of props.
4.Criticism. All those wonderful things people have said about you? They’re true. When you catch yourself criticizing what you’ve done or ways you are, question the truth of those thoughts. Instead, make a list of all the wonderful things people have said about you.
5.Remembering past pain. Tough stuff happens, and the pain that comes from it is clear and true. But the pain of remembering past tough stuff is what some psychologists call dirty pain. It’s the pain we cause ourselves by hanging onto the story of what happened, and re-telling it in a way that prods old wounds.
When you catch yourself re-living past pains, just notice how you’re feeling. It’s not the other people who were involved who are causing this current pain…it’s the choice to remember and relive the experience. Instead, become completely present: notice with deep awareness everything you can see around you.
6. Re-telling the same story. The old past pain stories tend to play out with us as the helpless victim. Re-telling the same old story in a new way helps us to stop reliving the pain, and also see how we can avoid it in the future.
7. Believing the worst. Fear-based perceiving comes from an overactive amygdala: what scientists call our lizard brain. It’s stimulated by stress, and effects how we perceive what’s happening. Next time you catch yourself believing the worst, imagine a little inner lizard looking very afraid…and calm him or her down.
8. Not being where you are. Life happens right here. When we’re caught up in remembering the past or imagining the future, we miss life. Mindfulness is a powerful way to be where we are. One of the easiest ways to practice it is to notice each and every thing you see.
9.Listening to the worries in your head. The verbal part of our brain processes about 40 bits of information per second. This is the part of our brain that communicates worry-thoughts. The non-verbal part of our brain processes between eight to 11 million bits of information per second. This is the part of our brain that communicates through physical sensation. Basically, our worries are based on way less information. Feel more, and worry less.
10.Comparing yourself to others. You are uniquely, brilliantly you. Nobody in the world has your particular blueprint. Shine on.