self-definition by values not goal-achievements: Fascinatingly there’s a good deal of evidence that living a life rich in meaning and values promotes resilience in many different situations. For example, this has been found for people facing chronic pain, cancer, everyday life stresses, and for overall levels of wellbeing.
mindfulness and dealing with unruly “bus passengers”:As I commented initially, we’re driving the bus of our life. We have a whole bunch of often unruly passengers in the back. The passengers are our thoughts and feelings. At times they can be a nuisance. Often our best strategy is simply to continue driving in the direction of our values and goals. Some of the passengers we all have at times in the back of our buses are anxiety, fear, depression, anger and worry. Mindfulness treats these mental contents as passing flow – like traffic noise outside our window, or like leaves floating past on a stream. Our task is to let the mind noise be, let it flow by. It’s not what’s important. It’s part of being human and we can treat ourselves gently as we struggle with mental content. So our task is to realize that the mind noise is a normal part of the human condition, to treat ourselves with gentleness and encouragement, and to focus on what matters – whether it is our values and the tasks we have set ourselves, or (in meditation practice) our breath, our bodies, and other objects of attention in the present moment. There’s much evidence to show that developing this ability to be mindful can help us in many overlapping and important ways.