Do you find yourself with no control over your thoughts? They become overwhelming, unhelpful and relentless. When you are bombarded by thoughts, let mindfulness help!
Thinking is normal and natural
There are no right or wrong thoughts. With mindful awareness, you can notice you’re having these thoughts without judging yourself. This can be tricky, because we do, of course, tend to judge ourselves.
Eg. ‘I’m struggling with this work task. What an idiot I am. I mustn’t let anyone see I’m not sure what I’m doing. Will I lose my job? I won’t get another job. Then I will lose my home ….’
Bombarded by thoughts – the waterfall
When you are bombarded by thoughts they can run seamlessly into one-another. Like an endless waterfall.
Be open and curious and say to yourself: this is interesting. Here is my mind coming up with all these judgments, expectations and beliefs about myself.
It may feel you are being bombarded by a rush of self-critical and anxious thoughts. By the way, this is pretty normal! It’s what you do next that matters!
Notice what’s happening in your body
Stop and become aware of how your body feels. There will be a range of sensations if you can use your senses to notice them.
- heart beats faster
- breathing is fast and shallow
- palms are sweating or your mouth is dry
- feeling of nausea in your stomach or a heaviness across your throat
- a rushing sound in your ears as you’re unable to distinguish what someone is saying to you
‘Soften, soothe, allow’ (from Kristin Neff)
Notice where there is tension in your body and soften the muscles around it.
Focus on a few slow, deep breaths.
Shift your language from berating yourself to kindness: ‘Ok, I’m feeling overwhelmed right now. This is fine.’
Let yourself soften and open to this experience using your breath to anchor you. Allow all these thoughts and experiences to be here without pushing them away.
What I do next
The next step is to notice how these thoughts influence your behaviour and actions.
You may choose to give up, push on through in a blind panic, walk out, make a cup of tea and eat a packet of biscuits, seek help, pretend you know what you’re doing and avoid asking for help.
The choices are endless.
Yet notice – they are influenced by how you are feeling. Your thoughts create a repertoire of choices that you tend to make. And have done for a lifetime. Are they helpful? Do they assist you in living the life you want to live?
Learning to be more mindful doesn’t just give you the skills to manage stressful situations. It offers you the chance to explore how your behaviours and strategies in life have been directly influenced by your thinking. By past behaviours. Self-beliefs. Your childhood. And how you wish to live your life right now. What kind of person you wish to be.
Does the time feel right to understand yourself better? Find out how you can learn mindfulness skills. Then next time you are bombarded by thoughts you can manage them!
Yvette Jane – Mindfulness & Meditation Coach