You bite your lip. You can’t believe they said that. You are shocked. As you start to react, you stop and compose yourself. You think about what you are going to say, as you remember back to what you learned about mindful acceptance. You remember that it is the response to something emotionally triggering where you work to respond without judging, reacting or controlling what is happening.
This is not an easy skill, but an important one. It can often make things much easier, long term, for the person who learns this technique and uses it consistently turning it into a well-developed skill. This can only happen if you are doing some of the other skills we’ve written about previously, specifically Recognizing and Naming.
Those articles, along with this one, work to help you recognize what triggers you have. Now we can start working on skills and reactions to those triggers. When we practice mindful acceptance, we are working to process and accept things that give rise to emotions. We feel a certain way, but with this practice, we are working to allow those emotions to come in, acknowledge them, not react or let them affect us, then act based on our values.
Mindfulness is the goal of accepting the things that go on inside of ourselves. This can be emotions, thoughts and experiences. The ability to accept them, when they are negative or don’t lead us towards our goals, without judging is an important skill. Everyone has stress, anxiety, worry, etc. but how we react to it is what can improve someone’s life. If done poorly. it can lead to depression, self-doubt and negative harmful behavior. If done well, it can lead to self-awareness, inner peace and greater understanding.
Sometimes, worse than the emotion are the secondary reactions. The person will start to believe these emotions and potential negativity. This leads to guilt or negative mood about experiencing these thoughts at all. This can lead to increased negativity and chronic issues if the person can’t constructively handle these thoughts and emotions. People with these secondary reactions see it as a character flaw or lack of discipline, when often it happens due to lack of education and teaching of how to handle these thoughts and views, so they are unaware of how to turn them around.
As you improve these skills, you can mitigate their effects as you learn to accept and move on from different feelings and emotions. Realizing that emotions are always temporary, and change constantly is extremely important. As your skills improve, and you are able to mitigate more of the random thoughts coming through, it will make it easier to manage stress and make small changes daily to improve habits.
How does this affect my training, diet and performance?
When negative thoughts start to creep in, and people don’t deal with them appropriately, it can lead to emotion based actions. During that state, people often make poor short-term decisions regarding their food intake, workouts, etc. While missing the occasional workout or overeating from time to time is not a huge deal, it can become one as these emotion based actions become more prevalent. If the person never makes the change to a more VBA approach and only acts based on how they feel they will always be inconsistent with their food, workouts, recovery and other aspects of their health and recovery. Emotions are never consistent and come in waves, so we need to learn how to surf them and then make VBA’s.
As an athlete or client starts to rely more on mindful acceptance it allows them to understand these short-term emotions or thoughts are not what controls their identity. They know that each habit and action they take is a vote towards the person they want to be. The ability to understand the difference and then move forward with the appropriate response on a consistent basis allows the person to make meaningful changes in all aspects of their life.