Holding Space for Yourself

As Valentine’s Day approaches, many people may start to feel “some kinda way” about being single. Even when looking for photos for this post typing in “single” brought up more images that appeared to demonstrate loneliness than being alone. Being alone and feeling lonely are very different and it is unfortunate that the imagery does little to help. I decided to use space as the image. Stars shine on their own as well as in relation to other stars. As a human, you do not need to be in a relationship to shine. It important to hold space for yourself regardless of your relationship status.

One way to hold more space for yourself is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness has become quite popular over the years. Simply defined, it is the practice of bringing attention to the present moment. Sounds simple but in practice may prove to be difficult. Mindfulness exercises can assist with the wandering mind. When the mind wanders too far in the future, it may feel anxious and if too far in the past, it may feel depressed. One is not real and the other is fixed and cannot be manipulated. If you find you are not present, take a moment to try an exercise to reground yourself to the present.

• Mindful Appreciation

Take a moment to take stock of what you do have in this moment. Bring your attention to 3 things in your day that you come in contact with or utilize that usually go unappreciated. The 3 things can be objects, systems, parts of you, abilities, people or anything else that comes to mind. For example, having running water in your home., being able to walk to work, the intern who brought you the mail, etc. As you attend to each one, take note of what it is that you appreciate.

• Intentional Walking

Take a moment to walk for 21 steps. As you take each step, set an intention for your well-being. At the end of the 21 steps, breath in for the count of 4, hold for 4 and then exhale for 8. Repeat this breathing sequence 3 times.

• Guided Meditation

Guided meditation uses verbal instructions to assist in the meditation practice. Apps such as Calm and Headspace have guided meditation options. You can also find some here on the UCLA Mindful Awareness Center https://www.uclahealth.org/marc/mindful-meditations