Normally, in whatever situation, we have a thought or an emotion that rises up in us. From that thought or emotion, we have an action or reaction to something in our environment. This is our pattern with everything in life.
To become more aware of your thoughts and patterns, we can instead learn to disassociate from them through mindful thinking.
When something happens, we've got this internal dialogue that's going on about how we think and feel about that person in the same room as us. These thoughts also come along with some emotions that you might be feeling at that moment: you might be getting angry that you're in a lot of traffic or you might be frustrated at your roommate who doesn’t help with the dishes which then creates tension. Tension is more of a physical sensation and can cause physical pain. If you’ve got chronic neck pain, shoulder pain, or even back pain, there's a good chance it might be coming from this kind of subconscious area of things that we live our life through.
These are some things that we want to start to become aware of right now. You may not be thinking about a lot of these things. You just float by daily and just go about your day on autopilot. You're not really taking a lot of attention to understand your thoughts and emotions that rise up throughout the day.
To become more mindful of our patterns, we want to start acknowledging and analyzing our personal, internal climate. What am I feeling? Why am I thinking like this at a given moment?
Mindfulness is simply about becoming the observer of your thoughts and how you analyze things. As the observer, it's a bit like pulling away from your own mind and body and just getting a larger perspective of you and your own patterns.
As the observer of your own thoughts, emotions, tensions, and pain, your goal is to simply acknowledge them. It’s not about trying to change anything. The beauty in this is you will have many realizations about yourself and about other people and the world as you start to really master this mindful thinking.
Mindful thinking is not about controlling your mind; it is about using your conscious awareness to understand yourself better and to get clarity. And in becoming your own observer, there are a few tactics to keep in mind.
The first step is just to observe and notice the patterns without judgment. Then, the next thing is just to acknowledge. Once you acknowledge the pattern, start to question it. Is it necessary? Do I need to be holding on to all this tension in my shoulders? How can I be constructive about this? Instead of just thinking one negative thought after another, start to reframe all that: acknowledge it, question it, and change it.
Another important thing is forgiveness. Forgiveness is so essential and most likely as you start to notice the patterns that you have, you might start to be hard on yourself. Remember, be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself. Learning to be constantly aware of yourself is a process. It takes time to learn. It's a process to start acknowledging and taking responsibility for the patterns you've created.
Over time, it gets easier and you’re going to feel better, but always remind yourself to take it easy. Be kind to yourself.
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