Welcome to Week Four of Reset Button's Online Mindfulness Course.
Week Four: Watch what you think
Have you ever been convinced 100% that something is true, only to then change your mind?
Or ruined a relationship or friendship that you cared about by being too stuck in your own need to be right?
Do you find yourself believing your self-critical thoughts?
So far during this course you have been instructed to focus your attention on something specific such as the breath or the body. During this process, you will probably have noticed that many thoughts appear in your mind. Have you tried to stifle or get rid of these thoughts? How did that work for you?
Most people find that when they try to push their thoughts away, they are not successful. In fact at best this can be frustrating and at worst it can amplify the thoughts and make them hang around for longer.
Thoughts can be very helpful when used in encouragement, to problem solve, to help to perform a task or to make plans. However they can become very unhelpful when we get completely caught up in them, believing them to be absolutely true. Especially when the content of the thoughts is self attacking or self-defeating. By learning to step outside of our thoughts and observe the processes of our mind's patterns, we expose thoughts as what they truly are, just thoughts and not reality. For example, our thoughts about a tree are not the tree itself; they are a subjective interpretation of what the tree is.
When we become the observer of our own thoughts, we can see what can affect their content. While on autopilot for example, thinking habits tend to kick in. These are patterns of thinking that have been around for many years that through repetition have done a very good job in convincing us that they are true. Also we can observe that when our mood is low, thoughts are completely coloured by this mood state and tend to be much more negative in quality. Think of the expression ‘is the glass half empty or half full?’ It shows that a state of mind can affect our interpretation of a situation. So can that interpretation be trusted?
Once we come to the understanding that we don't have to believe our thoughts as absolute truths, we can be free from their tyranny. We can reveal the fact that we are not our thoughts. By learning to create even the smallest amount of distance between ourselves and our thoughts, we create a choice as to how to act or not act on them.
Week Four's Audio Session (8 minutes)
This introduction includes a short mindfulness meditation for which you will need a raisin or other small dried fruit.
Please find a nice quiet place where you can listen to this uninterrupted. Relax and enjoy, as this is something you are doing for yourself.
Practices for Week Four
Expanded Sitting Meditation (11 minutes) & Observing Thoughts Meditation (9 minutes)
Expanded Sitting Meditation followed by Observing Thoughts meditation once per day, six out of seven days.
During the observing thoughts meditation you may find that you are struggling with the content of the thoughts and getting caught up in them. If that's the case, remember that you can always bring the focus of your attention back to the breath, your safe place. Then once you feel more still, you can try again, watching the thoughts as they appear, stay a while, and then go.
This week the habit reset is to have one mobile-free day.
Choose a day and only allow yourself essential mobile use.
Most of us have a very habitual relationship with our phones, feeling like we need to be constantly connected, wanting to distract ourselves, feeling like we might be missing something.
See what happens when we notice ourselves reaching for the phone and choose not to use it. How does this feel?
To allow this to work as successfully as possible, you could tell those who you have most regular contact with that you are not available on phone that day. If it happens to be a work day, just use the phone during work hours and for work related activity.
Want to share your experience? Use #habitreset on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and share your pictures or feelings. Let us know any thoughts or questions on our forum. LINK TO FORUM
Each week we will be providing some additional materials from mindfulness experts that we respect and find inspirational. These are not essential but we strongly recommend that you take a look when you can.
Passengers on a Bus animation
In Your Journal
Write down five things that you have noticed this week.
Write down a difficulty that has been going round your mind this week.
Write down three thoughts associated with this difficulty. Remember that it's not about whether they are true or not.
Write down by each of these thoughts whether it is helpful or unhelpful. Moving forward, when you recognise unhelpful thoughts, see if you can let them go.
What do you feel most grateful for this week?
REMEMBER: Q&A FORUM FOR WEEK FOUR - WE WILL CHECK IN AT TIMES THROUGHOUT THE WEEK AND REPLY TO YOUR QUESTIONS. CLICK HERE TO GO TO FORUM