8. Mindfulness of thoughts

We often treat thoughts as if they are facts. For example: “I am no good at this,” “He’s is a jerk,” “Nobody understand me,” “I am brilliant,” etc. When we have a thought many times it can condense into a belief. A belief is just a thought or thoughts that I have a lot of the time. Beliefs can then be taken as facts. For example: “The world is flat” – enough people had that thought often enough for it to be assumed to be a fact for centuries! When we start to pay attention to our thoughts, with a gentle curiosity, then we start to think about thinking (meta-cognition) and we move away from believing that the thought is a fact.

Mindfulness of thoughts mp3

Start this activity with mindfulness of the breath.  Allow yourself to notice any thoughts that come into your head as you are aware of your breathing. Notice, pay attention to and accept these thoughts, without judgment. Thoughts are not bad or good, positive or negative, they just are what they are – the thought that you happen to be having at this particular moment.

You may become aware that you are having difficulty thinking about your thoughts – so think about that. You may be thinking: “I can’t do this very well.” Well, that’s a thought too. Allow yourself to think about that.

Some people like the metaphor of allowing the thoughts to just float like leaves on a stream, or clouds in a sky, noticing each passing thought and then the one that comes after it, and then the one that comes after that. A Buddhist idea is to think of thoughts as pages written on water.

You may notice that just at the moment you become aware of a thought, it passes and is replaced by another thought. That’s what happens – thoughts come, and they go.

Finally, bring yourself back to awareness of the breath.

Listen to the MP3 and/or download the PDF worksheet below.

Mindfulness of Thoughts [PDF 44 kB]

Download the mp3 [7.37 mB]

To download the mp3 to your computer, right-click the link and select “Save as.”

Other mindfulness exercises

 

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The mindfulness exercises are one of the features available in the free Living Well App for iPhone and Android. Be mindful anywhere, anytime.

 

4 Comments

  • matt mcdowell says:

    Hi i have been having problems with anxiety ,self esteem and confidance for some years now,and i just found out mindfullness today through my mental health worker although there is so much to learn i think this could really work for is possible that i could get some kind of exercises online that i can practise everyday and some advice on my best ways to learn?.
    many thanks
    Matt Mcdowell

  • jan says:

    Hi; I’ve tried right clicking to save the file as an mp3 but only get an option to ‘save target as’, not ‘save as’. This doesn’t allow me to save it in an audio format. Is there a solution to this? Thanks!

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