Learn How to Be Aware of, But Not Attached to Your Thoughts

 

If you are a busy working mom like me, you may have struggled from time to time to start trying to be more mindful, or add meditation, or a little bit of quiet time to your day.

For me, every time I sat down to meditate, or to just have some quiet time, the thoughts were just racing through my head.  I kept thinking...I can't stop thinking, I can't stop these thoughts from coming to my head.

One day, I realized the goal of being mindful, and of meditation or quiet time, isn't to stop the thoughts from racing through your head, it's to see what all the thoughts are, and to be curious about what they're telling you.

When you can look at those thoughts, like my yoga instructor says, "like they're clouds passing through the sky".  Then you can be curious about, "oh, that's an interesting thought", or "I wonder what made me think that", or "I would have never thought that that thought was floating in my head".

All of these things can help us see the thoughts that are fighting against one another, or thoughts that we think we should think because someone else has told us to believe them. Or, maybe they're just things that we're curious about, or interested in.

Another exercise I want you to do, is to take a minute or two of meditation, and all I mean by meditation is...sit quiet in a place where you can be alone, and let your thoughts pass. Let them go, like a movie trailer right across your forehead, is what I like to envision. Let them just pass through your brain, and don't judge them at all. Don't attach anything to them, like whether they're good or bad, or whether youshouldn't be thinking that. At this point, don't even ask why you're thinking that, just be curious about what's floating around inside your head, and what things would come up in your thoughts, when you are quiet.

After a minute or two, when you feel like you've really had a chance to let those thoughts run around wild, make a thought download.  A thought download is a list of all the thoughts that you can remember.  Again, don't judge them. Even if it feels like the most ridiculous thought as you're writing it down, write it down. This is a great way to start journaling about the thoughts that you're having to start analyzing, and being curious about the thoughts that you're having, where they're coming from, and where you might want to start to either modify those thoughts, or magnify those thoughts.

If you do this exercise, and you write down a page of different thoughts that you had during your meditation, if you review the list and uncover that these are mostly negative thoughts, then you might want to consider whether there is a different way to modify them or reframe them, so that they can be more positive.

If you find that they're very positive, maybe you can tell yourself how well you're doing at being positive and with the outlook that you have on life.  You can give yourself some grace and forgiveness for maybe not being everything you want to be, because you still do have a positive outlook.

This is just an exercise of curiosity.  See what's playing in that movie picture in your head, and write down some of those thoughts so you can be curious about where they're coming from.

The most important thing to remember with this exercise is there's no judgment allowed until you have the thoughts down on paper.  You're not allowed to say, "Oh, I don't want to believe this" and not write it down. You should still write it down so you can understand some of the thoughts that you're thinking and some of the things that you're processing which will make you more aware and mindful of the thoughts that you're having.

We'll continue to have some conversations on your thoughts on mindfulness, and how to further assess these thoughts in future sessions. I hope this first step was really helpful for you, and that you can start to think about your thoughts a little bit differently. 

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