A mind crowded with thoughts can block us from feeling and understanding the true feelings.
Anger, guilt, shame, regret are some examples of feelings which are usually blocked out by endless thoughts and what-ifs.
Last weekend, I had a friend visiting me. We let her use our food processor and she accidentally cut her thumb. We had to rush to the clinic and she got 4 stitches.
When I was waiting for her outside the doctor's room, I was really anxious.
"We should not have insisted her using it"
"We should not have let her use it on her own"
"We should have tested everything first"
"Did my husband assemble it wrongly?"
"I should have helped her faster"
"Is she feeling a lot of pain?
"Is she ok?"
I was overwhelmed with worrying and guilty thoughts.
At some point, I decided to pause, closed my eyes, took a deep breath. I could feel my hands clenched together, my heart pounding. For a moment, I could feel my mind calming down, giving me some space to sense how my anxiety felt like. The thoughts came back shortly but this time, they seemed to be slower, and clearer, for me to observe.
I couldn't help but opened my eyes a few times to see if my friend was out - which I found to be just an excuse to "indulge" in the active thinking "I am so worried, is she ok, I shouldn't have done that, I should have been more careful" - (on hindsind I might be because I felt I should be purnished somehow, I felt I was not deserved to be worry-free)
But every time I chose to close my eyes and take a deep breath again, I managed to access the "feeling" and "observing" state. I could feel myself regaining some sort of control vs the active thinking state.
I felt it out, I observed my thoughts, I questioned the origin of my thoughts, I explored my feelings, and command my SC to treat this experience. Because of this, I was able to come home feeling more settled, and able to explain to my kids what happened. They were completely ignored by me during the incident. All their questions were brushed off, despite feeling so confused seeing blood and us pancking.
That's one example of how I applied MAP on the go in my daily encounters. The most critical part of this process is giving ourselves the space and time to step out of our own crowded minds, and reconnect with how we actually feel.
If you don't have the time to apply it at the time of the incident, making a mental note and choosing to come back to it at a better time is okay as well. Just bring you back to that moment, replay the event from beginning to end, and notice any feelings, thoughts and sensations that arise, and apply MAP on the go from there.
As parents, what are some moments of panic, anger, guilt, shame and regret you have?
Imagine if I buried myself in guilt, would I be able able to stay neutral and loving when talking to my kids
Have you been paying attention to how you interact with your child? Does it have anything to do with other happenings in your life (work, relationship, unfulfilled needs, etc)? Exploring and treating those allow you to get closer to who you are as a parent.
On this note, I would like to share this video about how parental stress may affect a child. I hope you find it helpful: https://youtu.be/Rof2UQfzUtY
If you have any questions or comments, please reach out :)