Mindfulness awareness of Emotions

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

When do we stop to observe our body, our mind and our emotions with the same loving care we do for our children? When do we stop to tune in with ourselves? And if we don’t do that regularly, what do we deprive ourselves of? How long do we wait to give ourselves what we need?

For too many of us however, living on autopilot is the norm. According to Siegel (2007) this way of living can leave us feeling numb and empty and prevents us from responding in an appropriate way when inter- or intrapersonal difficulties arise. When we are mindful however, our awareness of what is going on within and around us, increases and enhances our ability to engage with ourselves and others in a more authentic way.

Practicing mindfulness is a great way of tuning in with ourselves and to get to know our body, our mind and our emotions better so that we can start being there for ourselves more often. It can also help us to read our own signs of distress better so that we can respond to ourselves in a timely manner before we get too distressed. Siegel (2007) also describes mindfulness practice as one way of becoming one’s own best friend as we practice intra-personal attunement when we are mindful.

Mindful awareness, says Siegel, is also at the heart of any caring relationship we have with others or with ourselves. He uses the acronym COAL to describe to patients the attitude in which we can respond to ourselves and our environment from this point of view. COAL stands for: curiosity, openness, acceptance and love.

One of the most important gifts a parent can give a child is their presence, validation, and security. When we’re present with our children it lays the path for attunement and resonance. Attunement is when the parent is aware and present to the child’s inner world of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. When attuned, a state of resonance occurs where the child “feels felt”. Think about anytime you felt completely understood. It breeds a sense of safety and when a person feels safe they cultivate the ability to trust.

The concept of “attunement” examines how one person, a parent for example, focuses attention on the internal world of another, such as a child or a spouse. This focus on the mind of another person harnesses neural circuitry that enables two people to “feel felt” by each other. This state is crucial for people in relationships to feel vibrant and alive, to feel understood, and to feel at peace. Research has shown that such attuned relationships promote resilience and longevity.

by Bruce Perry

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