I’ve been taking a class on Mindfulness. It’s an 8-week series that meets in an elementary school library. Every Monday night, a bunch of us cram our adult-sized bodies into kid-sized chairs to talk about our weeks and open our minds to new possibilities.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but figured I’d learn some breathing techniques that might help me calm myself down and be more present in the moment. There is that. Give it a try:

Take a deep breath.
Let it out, slowly, until your chest is empty…
How do you feel?

Chances are, you feel slightly calmer. I sure do. I’ve become a big fan of taking a deep breath when I’m faced with something challenging.

Beyond deep breathing techniques, focusing on mindfulness has caused me to become highly reflective. Here are a few insights I’d like to share with you:

Your brain is not always right. Our brains tend to hang on to the negative and dismiss the positive. It’s important to pause, identify how you’re feeling in any given moment, and take a [deep] breath before responding. In essence, take a mini reflective break before acting or responding if you find you’re moving to a negative space.

It’s possible to re-frame. You can turn a difficult situation into a learning opportunity simply by taking a few minutes to consider the situation from a different perspective. Flip it around, give it a positive spin, notice how you feel.

Practice self-compassion—give yourself a break! Don’t be so tough on yourself. This has been a hard lesson for me…and I know I’m not the only one who is my own toughest critic.

Now it’s your turn. As the semester draws to a close, look back on all you’ve accomplished.

  • What’s been the most challenging experience this semester? What did you learn from it?
  • How have you changed from last year? What does this tell you about your growth?
  • Write a thank you letter to yourself. You’ve accomplished a lot—express gratitude!

Demonstrate compassion and gratitude for the person you have become.

     Take a deep breath in…
     Let it out, slowly…
     How do you feel?

Ready to do further assessment, and maybe set some goals for spring? CES Career Advisor Rebecca Pettit leads you through the process in her 2-part blog.

Photo Credit | Ross Mulhausen
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