I Made A Comic About Mindfulness And How It Helps You Control Negative Emotions
“Be mindful” is something we hear often, but what does “mindfulness” mean? What does it do? How does it work? I aimed to answer these questions by making a comic that shows mindfulness in action.
I have been meditating daily for a few years now. I remember when I started to meditate for 20 minutes a day and use mindfulness techniques, I noticed a difference in my behavior and headspace in a matter of weeks. Most useful in changing my behavior was a technique I found called “mindful noting.” In the practice of mindful noting, one notes what is currently happening in a detached way. You simply “take notes” on yourself as if you were a scientist watching yourself. You might note what position your body is in, what you’re doing, and what you are feeling. You might note right now “Sitting, looking at phone, feeling calm.”
Using this method it is easy to catch oneself at the tipping point. For example, I noticed I would catch myself as I started to cheat on my diet when stress eating. I would note “standing, cutting cake, feeling anxious.” And from there it would be much easier to set down the cake and walk away and do something to address my anxiety.
This works for getting off task, for keeping track of thoughts and feelings, and also for catching yourself RIGHT before you tip into the abyss of negative emotions. I noticed I could let go of a train of thought if it was heading into a bad and unproductive place. Just noticing the anger and watching it, rather than actively getting into thinking angry thoughts could save an entire day from being drenched in sadness, anger, or hatred. Without fanning the flames of anger, the feeling of anger dies extremely quickly. In a matter of seconds an overwhelming wave of rage can evaporate into a gentle ripple. Don’t believe me? The next time you catch yourself in the middle of anger, take note that it’s happening, and watch the feeling of anger in a detached way.
I wanted to share this because I found it so valuable in my everyday life, and maybe it could clear up some common questions about how it works. Thank you for reading!
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At the time I was making this comic I was actually recovering from being quite depressed. I made the Evernut comic to give myself structure. I was just trying to illustrate ideas that I found helpful, in a way that I hoped would be entertaining. I was particularly inspired to make this comic because I found mindfulness to be a useful tool for keeping myself from spiraling into a dark mindset, and thought maybe people would be interested to see an “example” of mindfulness from the internal perspective of a practitioner.
After 3 years from making this post, I still meditate, not as much as I feel that I should though. When I wrote this comic I was very strict with myself in meditating for a solid hour every day. Now I meditate maybe 20 minutes a day, and I miss some days here and there.
I would say if something about my attitude has changed it would be how I react when I find my mindfulness slipping. I used to judge myself for slipping. I have a tendency to be idealistic with myself and forget that at the end of the day, I am a hairless ape, not a machine. Now I don’t really judge myself, because I see how natural it is for the mind to wander and fumble. I often get my best ideas by letting my mind wander and fumble. Now if I slip up for a while and I catch myself, I just go straight into noting my thoughts, emotions, and what is happening in my senses.
Through the writer, podcaster, and neuroscientist, Sam Harris I learned of someone named Douglas Harding, who teaches a style of meditation that is very immediate, and inspiring of awe of everything in existence without requiring us to add anything to our experience, such as beliefs in certain deities or invisible forces. In fact, Douglas Harding’s style of meditation is freaky for what it so clearly collapses within experience. He does a particularly good job of showing this knothole to a westerner’s mind, there isn’t anything to be lost in translation like when talking to a meditative adept from the East. If you were interested to hear more about it, this is the interview with a student of his, Richard Lang, that hooked me.
I have many ideas for projects, but as of right now I am training up my skills to become a 3D artist for games and movies, and I am looking for work. Here is my portfolio if you’d be interested, I am not sure if you know of anyone who could use work like this, but hey, why not shoot my shot?
And of course, people can follow me at @WeirdOfOzz on Instagram if they would like to see my art, which is always being updated. You can also check out my Evernut comics.
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