As bizarre as it may seem, you do have the ability to control your thoughts! By and large, this seems to be a difficult concept for most people to grasp…like a mystic urban legend. I’m here to talk to you about exactly HOW it’s done! As previously discussed, mindfulness is all about noticing and being aware of what is happening in and around you; while remaining compassionate and non-judgmental.
So how does this relate to thoughts you ask?? First things first:
1. You must become AWARE of your thoughts: their patterns, intensity, nature, etc
2. Take a step back and just pause. Breathe. Your breathe is ALWAYS there for you; use it as your anchor.
3. Observe any urges associated with your thoughts. Do you have an urge to minimize it, block it or suppress it? Do you have an urge to maximize it, exaggerate it or cling to it? Neither of these options is mindfully allowing the thought to pass. Just as you would a raccoon on a trail hike, just notice the thought, acknowledge it, and keep on walking. No need to taunt it, no need to kick it, no need to feed it either!
4. Make a choice to mindfully (with intention) re-enter your day. Make a choice to be effective in the scenario you are in. This may mean problem solving, it may mean having a difficult conversation, it may mean LETTING GO of nagging thoughts.
You have so many options with thoughts, it’s a shame to just give into every single one and be at it’s mercy. Just because you have a thought, does not mean you need to act on it (let’s face it…that could be pretty awkward in some situations!). Just because you have a thought does not make it a FACT. (come on…did any of us see Pluto getting his planet status revoked!). Just because a thought is intense or pervasive, doesn’t mean it’s more important than other less frequent thoughts.
I urge you to take some time and consider these concepts. You may not have the ability to control which thoughts pop into your head…you DO have the ability to control what you do with them though!