Surviving + thriving the daily grind

Welcome back to this week’s Mindful Path to PhD! This week I want to talk about how to survive and even thrive during our daily grind, no matter how difficult things get. This past week I had terrible commutes nearly everyday both times of the day, I had the first of my three big deadlines come and go, and I had to jump from one task to another without a moment’s hesitation. Have you ever experienced days or weeks like this? How do you usually end up feeling? I noticed by Wednesday I was experiencing a serious mid-week slump with my body feeling sore and lack of energy and motivation to do anything that required my attention. More so, I felt cranky, frustrated, and generally down; very unlike my usual smiling self.

Frustrating days like what I had last week, they come and go in our life. I try to view them as nature’s balance. What I especially noticed last week was how upset I was over my commute each day, in particular my morning commutes- something about getting to work later than I planned for and after having been packed on a bus like sardines in a can, really made a terrible way to start my work day. Waking up and realizing how I reacted to my daily struggles brought a smile to my face. I congratulated myself for having recognized my reactions and used this self-awareness to breathe through my burdens. I wondered how many other people muddle their way through their own daily struggles, carrying their burdens without ever realizing how much baggage they lug around each day.

Mindfulness meditation teaches us ways to thrive during our daily struggles. So how does it help, you ask? One of the core tenants of mindfulness is learning how to be present. When we are present, we can become aware of how we are feeling and reacting in those moments. This provides us with the option to simply notice and let ourselves be experiencing those moments fully or to guide our minds to another perspective to shift how we are experiencing those moments. Being present helped me notice how frustrated I was becoming over my challenging commutes last week. To some extent, my miserable commutes are outside of my control- they are just something I have to handle living in the city. Mindfulness also teaches us acceptance. My practice in mindfulness meditation over the last 6 months has enabled me to go beyond handling these difficult daily struggles, but to build peace and happiness as beacons of light, illuminating life when it becomes dark. I hope you all may begin, or continue, your own practice of mindfulness meditation. May you all find light amidst the dark, and may you all begin to thrive in your daily grind. Thanks for stopping by!

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