A loved one has been going through a hard time, dealing with tiredness, stress, and loneliness, and my heart goes out to them as it does anyone going through such struggles.
These difficult emotions can break your heart.
There is a fairly simple method that can help when we are faced with these powerful feelings and the difficulties that bring them. I offer it to you as something to practice and test out.
Here’s the method, to practice if you’re feeling stress, frustration, loneliness, sadness, tiredness:
- Notice that you’re feeling this difficult emotion, and notice how it feels in your body. Bring a sense of curiosity to the sensations, just being present with them for a moment.
- Notice what thoughts you have in your head that are causing the emotion. For example, you might be thinking, “They shouldn’t treat me like that” or “Why does my job have to be so hard?” or “These people are stressing me out! Things should be more settled and orderly.” Or something like that. Just notice whatever thoughts you have. Maybe write them down.
- Notice that the thoughts are causing your difficulty. Not the situation—the thoughts. You might not believe that at first, but see if you can investigate whether that’s true.
- Ask yourself, “What would it be like if I didn’t have these thoughts right now? What would my experience be right now?” The simple answer is that you’re just having an experience. It is a moment in time, not good or bad.
- In fact, while this experience is neither good nor bad, you can start to appreciate it for what it is, without the thoughts. See it as a fresh experience, maybe even appreciate the beauty of the moment. Maybe you can even love the moment just as it is.
Obviously, some of these might take some practice. But it’s worth it because while you might not be able to get rid of tiredness, you can let go of the thoughts about the tiredness that make it so much worse. You might not be able to get rid of the loneliness, but you can let go of the downward spiral of thoughts and emotions that make it overwhelming.
And just maybe, you can find some love for your experience in this moment. Yes, you feel tired, but you can love the tiredness, and everything else in this moment, without needing anything to change.
Leo Babauta is the author of six books, the writer of “Zen Habits,” a blog with over 2 million subscribers, and the creator of several online programs to help you master your habits. Visit ZenHabits.net