MBCT Week 6
This week we explored the concept that THOUGHTS ARE NOT FACTS! What a wonderful revelation this is! We looked in more detail at how we can become the observer of our thoughts during our mindfulness practice and how we could use imagery to visualise those thoughts passing on by.
Stepping back from thought:
This extract explains why it can be so valuable to watch our thoughts:
Imagery for thoughts!
When you are practicing mindfulness you may like to visualise your thoughts as clouds crossing the sky or leaves floating down a stream. Some people like to imagine they are words projected on a cinema screen or actors walking on and off a stage. Whatever imagery works best for you have a go at using it when you practice your meditations.
Here’s a reminder of the meditations we did this week. I have also included the “mountain meditation” which is lovely and I highly recommend you listening to :)
The THREE MINUTE BREATHING SPACE
Why we do it!:
This meditation is an absolutely gem especially if you are new to mindfulness practice. Try and practice it at least once a day. It is short sweet and can be done anywhere (even on the loo!). Notice whether you feel different after to before.
Sitting with difficulty
Why we do it!
This mediation is about sitting with something the brings about an uncomfortable feeling in us. It is important because we are so used to pushing stuff away that we don’t want in our lives (aversion). Ironically this pushing away often makes the situation worse (remember WHAT RESISTS PERSISTS).
Why we do it!
This meditation is a beautiful way to become the observer of your thoughts. It gets you to imagine you are a mountain and your thoughts are the seasons and weather passing on by. This is one of my favourites :)
Becoming aware of negative thoughts
Through watching our thoughts we can start to become aware of negative thoughts, and understand that they are NOT FACTS. Remember the following scenarios:
You have just had a meeting with your boss in which you were reprimanded and told that your performance was inadequate. As you leave the office a colleague in the office rushes past you saying the don’t have time to stop and chat. What is your reaction?
You have just had a meeting with your boss in which you were praised and told that your performance was exceptional. As you leave the office a colleague in the office rushes past you saying the don’t have time to stop and chat. What is your reaction?
Often our reaction to exactly the same situation (in this case a colleague not stopping to chat) may be completely different DEPENDING ON OUR MOOD.
This is really important because it demonstrates again how important it is that we do not assume that our thoughts are true.
When you may be confusing a thought with fact you may find one of the following a helpful way to reframe it:
Perhaps I am confusing a thought with a fact?
Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions?
Perhaps I am thinking in black-and-white terms?
Perhaps I am condemning myself totally because of one thing?
Perhaps I am concentrating on my weaknesses and forgetting my strengths?
Perhaps I am blaming myself for something that isn’t my fault?
Perhaps I am judging myself?
Perhaps I am setting unrealistically high standards for myself so that I will fail?
Perhaps I am mind reading/crystal ball gazing?
Perhaps I am expecting perfection?
Perhaps I am overestimating disaster?
So perhaps you could notice that that negative thought is JUST A THOUGHT and allow it to float on by?
Once you have spotted a negative thought. YOU DON’T NEED TO ANALYSE THAT THOUGHT. Analysing it or arguing with it will just get you in a muddle. Just simply allow that thought to pass on by using your chosen imagery (cloud/leaf/actor/words on a screen) knowing now that it is of no use to you.
Think how liberating this could be if we did it with all the negative thoughts we had! Remember the list of our own negative thoughts (depressed or anxious thoughts) we explored before. Wouldn’t life look different if we didn’t get lost in these thoughts!?
This week try and listen to both the mountain meditation and if you can the sitting with difficulty meditation once (remember to pick a SMALL difficulty).
Also practice the 3 minute breathing space AT LEAST once a day. You won’t regret it. Use the emergency version if you’re in a tricky situation.
Also practice the “Letting go of difficult feelings” exercise I taught you AGAIN. I suggest you practice practice practice this and let me know if you get stuck with anything. You won’t regret it!
I hope you find this all helpful. Any questions please ask!
I look forward to seeing you next week.