Use Mindful Observation to Break Free from Harmful Reactions

December 19, 2023 Sean Gunderson

Mindful observation can help you in your daily life. I have discovered a profound source of resilience. This is the ability to break free from the cycle of event-reaction. Too often, we find ourselves caught in the web of immediate responses, whether to subjective experiences or external occurrences. What if there was a third option, a path less traveled, that could grant us the power to enhance our self-esteem? For me, that third option is mindful observation. 

The Power of Mindful Observation to Build Self-Esteem

Throughout my life, I have navigated through toxic situations that could have easily drowned me in negativity. However, by embracing the practice of mindful observation, I have gained a unique perspective on my thoughts and emotions. This mindfulness practice has become a cornerstone in my journey toward resilience, providing me with insights that make me less susceptible to impulsive reactions

Mindful observation, as I have come to realize, is a powerful tool. It allows me to stand back and witness the ebb and flow of my subjective space, whether it's the turbulence of emotions or the passing clouds of thoughts. Instead of getting entangled in the immediate reaction, I choose to observe, creating a space between the event and my response. 

In the realm of mindfulness, I have honed my ability to observe without judgment. It's like watching clouds drift across the clear blue sky of my mind. This detachment has been transformative, allowing me to validate my emotions without the need to justify narratives. I have learned that emotions, in their raw form, are inherently valid, whether or not a storyline accompanies them. 

Mindful Observation Allows for Freedom from Reactions

Breaking the cycle of event-reaction has granted me the freedom to acknowledge my emotional states without being enslaved by them. This newfound liberation, in turn, enhanced my self-esteem. Instead of adding fuel to the fire by creating elaborate narratives to justify my feelings, I allow myself the space to witness and understand them. 

One significant revelation from my mindful observation practice is the swiftness with which emotions dissipate when given the space to be observed. Like clouds passing through the sky, they come and go. By resisting the urge to cling to them or define them with unnecessary narratives, I have found a clarity that eluded me in the past. 

To those who may find themselves trapped in the event-reaction cycle, I encourage you to give yourself the gift of mindful observation. Picture your thoughts and emotions as passing clouds. They are temporary, fleeting, as well as inherently valid. Break free from the need to justify every feeling and, instead, embrace the power of simply witnessing the ever-changing landscape of your mind. 

In the realm of mindful observation lies the key to resilience and enhanced self-esteem. By choosing this third option, we open ourselves to a world of insight, understanding, and the ability to navigate life's challenges with grace. 

In today's video, I explore this concept further. 

APA Reference
Gunderson, S. (2023, December 19). Use Mindful Observation to Break Free from Harmful Reactions, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 25 from

Author: Sean Gunderson

Sean Gunderson (they/them) has a wealth of lived experience with mental health issues and, after publishing their thesis, "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Psychiatric Survivor: Exploring the Paradigm Shift in Mental Health," became an advocate for embracing the ongoing scientific paradigm shift in the field of mental health. Find Sean on Facebook, X (Twitter), LinkedIn, and their site

December, 20 2023 at 10:08 am

Great essay!

December, 20 2023 at 2:41 pm

Thank you! I appreciate your support. I encourage you to continue to turn to Healthy Place for trusted information on mental health.

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