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Power from Within

Mindfulness Can Help Us See Thoughts As Thoughts

Our thoughts can get in the way of living a life that you value and enjoy.  One of the brain's tasks is to produce thoughts, and research shows that many of our thoughts can be non-serving.  If the thought "I'm a fraud' comes to mind, you might experience it without questioning it; you respond to it as a reality, which is not useful to you, because your thoughts can influence your behavior.   For instance, you may avoid doing things so as not to be "exposed" as the imposter you think you are.  


EXERCISE: 

This simple exercise is a way of creating a healthy distance from your thoughts.  When you become aware of what you're thinking, you can preceded the thought with the phrase, 


"I"M HAVING THE THOUGHT THAT.......".  


Try this and see if you notice any difference.  First read the following sentence  carefully and think about it:

"I'm a failure"


Then read this sentence carefully and think about it:

"I'm having the thought that I'm a failure".


Did you find it easier to see the second sentence as a thought, and a less potent one?  When you tell yourself things like "I'm a failure", you make a value judgement.  


Taken from: The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook for Stress Reduction. Livheim, Bond, Ek, Hedensjo