Emotional mindfulness. On a day in which you have some troubling emotions, take a quiet moment to review the feelings that happened in you, without judgement. Acknowledge and accept the feelings as gifts that will help you to understand yourself better. Take time to be curious about what beliefs and perspectives helped create those emotions. Imaginatively hold the emotions tenderly for a time (even, perhaps, visualize holding the emotions in your cradled hands) and then let them go.

Practicing compassionate presence. Consider the person you know that is the most powerful embodiment of compassion. Some people might imagine the real, yet abstract, presence of God, but most of us need to imagine such Presence in a personified form—perhaps imagining Jesus, or more contemporary examples of people unusually filled with a divine compassion. Practice contemplating, visualizing, this person’s love and perspective being actually present with you, being shared with you. As you practice this more and more, see how it can transform recollections of hard moments in your day, moments when you responded badly to others or they responded badly to you. Listen, be open, to new insights that emerge; let your imagination shift your hardened perspectives. Perhaps eventually, this will even heal some memories of hurt or shame, though for really painful memories, you would probably be wise to have a caring, experienced person share in this exercise with you.

Dialogue with your selves. If you notice yourself in the midst of an inner struggle, see if you can identify two or three different parts of yourself that are trying to be heard. Give them names and journal a dialogue between these “selves.” You might be sure to include a voice that represents your best, wisest self and/or an internalized voice of a wise elder, or even your best intuition of the inner, still voice of God. Make sure also to hear, respect, and care for the more shadowy voices (such as angry or selfish voices). It’s not necessarily important to carry the dialogue through to resolution but continue it enough to become more aware of the inner dialogue that is taking place, getting a better understanding of how that relates to the given struggle.

Relaxation exercises. Many people learning to deal with their anger or anxiety have been taught a relaxation exercises. These range from breathing exercises to visualization to progressive muscle relaxation. All are excellent practices focused largely on our bodies. These practices can help us with acceptance, and can be combined with practicing mental efforts to accept ourselves and others.

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