When was the last time you got so hooked into thinking, that you found yourself going round and round and round inside your own head (and not really getting anywhere)?
Often when thoughts hit us, we indulge them. We climb into them, turn them inside out, back to front, and give them all our time and energy. We don’t mean to do it, we may not even realise we are doing it. But it’s exhausting.
Imagine now what it would be like to just observe your thoughts. To watch your thinking as if it was a speech bubble above your head. To become curious that thoughts are present, but without the pain of climbing inside them.
When we catch ourselves thinking, we become aware – and this is the essence of mindfulness. We can give our thoughts our attention, without the side effects of getting caught up in what they are about. A thought is just a thought. It doesn’t require your action.
By noticing thoughts as they arise and simply labelling them “thinking”, we acknowledge that they want our attention, but consciously choose whether or not to entertain them.
A thought is just a thought. It doesn’t require your action.
Using playful curiosity, we can begin to manage unhelpful thinking – we are being mindful of the thoughts we have, and taking control of our time and energy and how we spend it.
Here’s a top tip:
Start by creating a space where you can bring your awareness to your breath. Notice the flow of breath as it comes in and goes out of your body. When you notice that you’re indulging an unhealthy cycle of thinking, get curious – imagine the thoughts are speech bubbles above your head. Notice they are there. Acknowledge them. Label them “thinking”. Thank them for arising. And then return your attention to your breath. Once you’ve finished your meditation, use your meditation journal to describe what thoughts came up and how you were able to manage them. If any thoughts troubled you, speak to a Meditation teacher or therapist for guidance.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis