Prior musings have focused on mindful attitudes as tools for mental health and stress management. These attitudes include non-judgmental acceptance, patience, curiosity and letting go. Mindfulness gives us the awareness and clarity to view challenging events as opportunities for creative, flexible problem-solving and personal growth.

The mindful attitude of trust will be examined in this instalment.

Trust can be experienced on several levels: trust in ourselves, other people, our circumstances and in a higher power. Trust gives a sense of hope and fosters non-judgmental moment by moment acceptance. This promotes helpful responses and less negative reactivity when difficulties arise, giving us strength and clarity when we need it most.

Trust in our own inner wisdom and problem-solving abilities is healthy. We are often bombarded with messages from external and internal sources. We make observations, absorb comments , and have thoughts and feelings that well up. Tuning in to our “gut feelings” with an attitude of trust can help us make sense of this input and move us toward helpful decisions.

Trusting that situations happen for a reason is another helpful attitude. This optimistic, flexible viewpoint during unexpected or unwanted circumstances reduces reactivity. Reactivity, as explained in prior musings, causes the release of damaging stress hormones, reduces energy, and clouds problem-solving abilities all of which makes a difficult situation worse.

Trust helps us to respond instead of react, allowing optimal navigation of challenging events.

Another level of trust is believing in a higher power or universal purpose. This requires a leap of faith that can be difficult in our scientific, evidence-based culture.

Trust on any of these levels promotes equanimity, confidence and the inner strength to handle life’s inevitable trials. An attitude of non-judgmental acceptance and trust makes everything “go our way” because all occurrences can be viewed to be unfolding for a reason. This continual moment by moment acceptance prevents us from expending our precious energy on “fighting reality”. Our energies can be harnessed to give us more clarity, creativity, vitality, and joy.

Mindful Homework: Consider keeping a journal with a focus on noting your level of trust during challenging or unwanted circumstances. Did you trust your inner wisdom or react from old patterns based on fear or conditioning? Did you accept the event or try to “fight reality”? Explore your level of trust with curiosity and note any changes.

For optimal health, one needs to develop self-awareness, have clear health goals, a willingness to make necessary changes and an attitude of openness, acceptance and gratitude.