Your emotions are like the weather
Struggling to find your inner calm? Kids having tantrums, not doing as you ask and wanting your attention all of the time can be draining. As a busy parent it’s easy to get sucked into a host of negative thoughts when you’re having one of those crazy-filled days. But sometimes a little change in how you think about things can be really helpful.
Thoughts and emotions have much in common with the weather. They’re changeable, and they come and go often with little warning.
Mindfulness gives you practical ideas to use in daily life to keep you calm
Since becoming mindful, I’ve started viewing my thoughts like clouds. The calm and positive ones are the cute fluffy clouds – the kind you find on a beautiful summer day. The one’s that you can almost see shapes in – flying pigs maybe (don’t joke, I actually have seen one that looked a little like this).
When I’m not feeling so good, the clouds are those big fat grey ones hanging heavy in the air, threatening to unleash mighty hail stones.
See thoughts as clouds drifting by and dark moods like storms; there is always blue sky in there somewhere.
View your thoughts and emotions as clouds
It’s tricky to be an objective observer to your thoughts. Often you can get caught up in them. For me, thoughts are always there chattering away in the background, often without me realising. When a negative thought interrupts all the others by shouting the loudest, it gets my attention. In the past, I would’ve followed this thought by another related one, then another and so on until a whole train of thought in the same vein had whooshed by, leaving me feeling even more negative and exhausted. And unable to cope with the next unpredictable toddler-moment.
Checking in with my emotions and relating them to the weather has made if far easier for me to understand how I’m feeling and to prevent my thoughts from spiralling. ‘Oh, there’s another grey cloud’. I feel calmer when I do this.
Visualise thoughts as clouds as soon as they arise. This helps contain them and prevents you getting swallowed up by it
Finding your inner calm with this blue sky mindfulness technique
I love using the weather to see how I’m feeling and to find my inner calm.
Try this blue sky mindful exercise when you’re feeling overwhelmed by unhappy thoughts:
- Visualise the blue sky – this is your state of mindfulness
- White fluffy clouds are happy positive thoughts
- Dark, grey clouds are negative or unhappy thoughts
- If there are too many grey clouds imagine the wind blowing them away, leaving blue sky and little fluffy clouds
- Your mind should feel clearer
Another way to use the weather to become more mindful and emotionally calm, is RAIN:
When you’re dealing with unpleasant thoughts you need to recognise, accept, investigate and not-identify with the difficult thought. See this mindfulness exercise and worksheet for more details.
Mindfulness for children – ask them for a weather report
Using the weather is also a great way to get your children to think about their current emotional state in a relatable way. They can’t always vocalise how they’re feeling. Instead, ask them if they feel sunny, stormy or rainy. Though they can’t change their emotion, simply noticing the feelings can alter how they relate to it. Often this will help them to understand and cope better too. Explain that people can feel rainy and grey sometimes. It doesn’t make you a bad or weak person. The wind will soon blow this storm away and there will be blue sky again.
Altering the way you and your kids see negative thoughts and emotions can take the sting out of it and restore your inner calm.