I get it – mindfulness has been a trendy buzzword lately…but with good reason.
For me, when I speak of this term, I’m refering to mindfulness in the sense of being present with the thoughts that are going on in my mind – being aware that I am having the thoughts and listening to them. It means thinking about my negative thoughts and creating habits that keep negative self-talk to an absolute minimum.
I have listened to negative self-talk in my head for most of my life. The thoughts have ranged from normal thoughts such as “Why did I do that stupid thing?” to much worse. These negative thoughts have brought me down so many times in my life. On other occasions, my negative thoughts have absolutely crippled me in both mind and body.
Recognizing and acknowledging the negative, paranoid, and compulsive thoughts in my mind is the first and most crucial step in releasing myself from the thoughts. Once I “catch” myself in the act, I try to reflect on what my negative thoughts were about. I don’t try to ignore them, because that only gives them strength. I “sit” with them and logically ask myself if the thoughts are true. Nearly 100% of the time, my negative thoughts are merely created by my mind at a weak moment. I remind myself that worrying about a “potential” outcome only hurts me. Constantly replaying “what if’s” only paralyzes my mind.
I love the quote, “Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but gets you nowhere.”
For the past year, I’ve been working my mindfulness like a muscle. I have to work at it to maintain it. I have to be consistent and willing to change the thought processes that plague me. Thoughts can be negative or positive, regardless of the situation. I’d say 99% of the time, there is a way to put a positive spin on things.
When I have negative thoughts, I have an inner dialogue with myself. The true me that isn’t negative and paranoid says, “You know these feelings and negative thoughts aren’t true” or “Stop worrying about what you cannot control” or simply, “Everything is OK.”
I try to listen to the negative thought, dispel it with rationality, and then replace it with a positive thought. It takes time, effort, patience, and consistency, but it has helped me in my journey.
Do you have any experiences with being mindful of your thoughts?