Mindfulness for Brides

By Naomi Light, Transformational Life Coach

The engagement period in your life is like no other. It is a unique combination of exquisiteness and extreme pressure. At no other time that I can think of are the extremes of experience combined quite like they are in those months leading up to the Big Day. On the one hand the delicious imaginings of celebration and dresses and friends with champagne. On the other the wranglings over details and budgets and family fall-outs. The mounting pressure of ‘will we get it all done?’, ‘will the flowers wilt?’, ‘will my heels get stuck in the mud’, ‘will the best man remember the rings?’ can be completely terrifying.

When my son was 6 he was the ring bearer for my sister. She had made a beautiful book with the pages cut out in a square for the rings to go inside. Noah had walked all the way down the aisle with the book and precious rings intact. While the opening address was happening, however, he slid the book open slightly and the groom’s ring rolled out. It dropped on to the floor and rolled over the flagstones in the church and right over an ornate iron grate. How it didn’t fall down through the holes I still don’t know. I watched in horror and then relief as it came to rest under the bride’s seat and at the first song I could scoop it up and put it back in the book. Emily, my sister, was blissfully unaware and it all worked out OK. But anything can happen at weddings. The tension is sometimes too much.

After the event, we brush aside the stress and difficulty of pulling off a wedding but it is real stress and it causes real pain which we shouldn’t take lightly. The toll on emotions is significant, some brides experience exhaustion or even panic attacks.

If you are in the middle of tense wedding planning or couple disagreements then you will be experiencing high levels of stress that will be affecting your mind and body. Resist the temptation to ignore or play down how difficult this is. After all, this is your engagement and you won’t get this time back. Being able to be peaceful and fully engage in your dreams for your wedding and marriage is every bride’s right. Don’t let it be stolen from you by tension that is getting out of hand.

Mindfulness is a growing practice of gentle but effective stress reduction and pleasure enhancement. It simply means being aware without judgement. When we become more aware of our own worlds we are empowered with knowledge. This is knowledge we can use to improve life for ourselves and those around us.

Mindfulness is the opposite of mindlessness. Where we go through our lives on autopilot; blinkered and locked in narrow thinking. While this can feel like a good option in the moment, you can imagine in that mindlessness really adds to the stress load over time. The old saying is not true ‘what we don’t know can’t hurt us’. In fact, what we are unaware of can hurt us; especially if the effect is stress on our bodies, our loved ones and our mental health.

Mindfulness for brides is a mindset of open engagement in the whole gambit of experiences during the engagement time. It says ‘I will fully live in this experience and not be distracted or withdrawn’. The pleasure becomes greater as we are able to take in the wonderful things that are happening to us and around us. We are able to openly receive the loving words attention and gifts of our friends and family when we become mindful. We are able to feel the exhilaration and expectancy of the greatest day of our lives being just around the corner. We are not numb but fully open and able to receive.

It also means we really live the challenges of being a bride. We feel the sadness of leaving our old single life, the difficulties of making so many decisions and the trepidation of walking down the aisle. But the fullness of experiencing those things gives rise to new ways of handling them. Perhaps we can ask for more help. Perhaps we can take some time to have a good cry or put a little bit of extra space in our week for ‘me time’. Being mindless to what is really going on denies you all those options.

Mindfulness for Brides, Naomi Light, Mindfulness, mental health for brides, The Hampshire Wedding Club, Hampshire Brides

So here are my 5 tips for mindfulness for brides

Tip one

Take time to talk. And I don’t mean to go through the table arrangements again. Talk about what is below the surface. Talk about feelings, fears, hopes. Ask open-ended questions of others and have them do the same with you. Talk to your fiance but also your bridesmaid, mum, dad, siblings. Weddings give great opportunities for connection and meaning-making.

Tip two

Buy a thought journal. Create a space to note down your feelings and thoughts. Don’t be precious about what you write or how often but allow things to bubble to the surface and spill out into your diary. The natural reflection will increase your mindfulness moment to moment, even when you are not writing in your new journal.

Tip three

Write your own list of values. Don’t let the list writing stop at things to get done. Spend some moments thinking through what is important to you as a bride. Make a list of values and pin it up where you can see. Some values could include: letting each other know that we are the most important people in the room, relaxing together by watching films, looking out for my mum when she feels sad, recording all the magic of engagement with lots of photos so we can reflect…and many others that suit your needs and priorities.

Tip four

Ask good questions. Not only in conversation but also in reflection times. Being non-judgemental is essential for mindful thinking. Avoid closed thinking by rehearsing good questions. Some examples are; what do you need?, how can I help? how is that affecting me? what’s going on for you? what does that mean? is there anything else to say?

Tip five

Gratitude and celebration. If you want to feel grateful then practice gratitude if you want to feel joy then practice enjoyment. Find something every day that you feel grateful for. Make the small moments a cause for mini-celebration. Express both gratitude and celebration verbally and you will find it is more of a feature in your life.

Gratitude and celebration. If you want to feel grateful then practice gratitude if you want to feel joy then practice enjoyment. Find something every day that you feel grateful for. Make the small moments a cause for mini-celebration. Express both gratitude and celebration verbally and you will find it is more of a feature in your life.

I hope that the journey of your engagement is littered with reasons to be happy. I also hope that the bumps in the road become reasons to discover more about yourself, your partner and how to live well. That way you can’t lose. Come what may, your engagement and wedding are enriching and affirming experiences that you will always have with you.

Naomi Light is a leadership and performance coach at Gumptious. She loves to write about thinking and spends lots of time thinking about writing. www.gumtious.co.uk

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