Is it normal that our thoughts often turn to the negative, especially when we are meditating?
Do you ever feel that these negative thoughts come back even stronger after your mindfulness practice? Have you ever got annoyed with that and asked yourself what the point of all this is anyway? If so you are not alone. This happens to everybody!
But the question is, how can we deal with that nasty itch within and tame our minds?
Do any of the following situations sound familiar?
(I will just look randomly at zen meditation but the experiences are similar in other disciplines, like Sophrology.)
You have made yourself comfortable, you have just started imagining the colour of the wind and you can almost feel it on your face, while looking at that breathtaking view you chose. You can feel your everyday thoughts fade away and your worries slide into the background. As you continue contemplating the colour of the wind, you begin to feel lighter in your upper body as if you were slowly taking off. And suddenly there it is: The annoying face of your colleague/boss/husband/wife/kid/parent etc. demanding something, arguing or being all kinds of nasty. And with just one image you crash back into your everyday self.
You have finished your meditation or Sophro exercises. You feel all positive, relaxed and content. And two hours later, while randomly passing by a mirror and getting a glimpse of yourself you find you look all grumpy. Even worse, asking yourself why, you realise you have been planning revenge on the kid who stole a cookie from you in kindergarden for the last half hour! Ok, this is a slight exaggeration, but you get the gist.
What’s the point of mindfulness practices, if all the nasty rears its ugly head during or soon after we meditated?
Does the focus on the positive intensify negative thoughts or even make them more powerful?
The answer is simple!
Ask yourself honestly: Would you have even noticed those bad thoughts or their intensity if we you had not meditated before? The truth for most of us is that we wouldn’t have noticed or cared. We would have just continued our everyday lives with our grumpy tortured self, feeding our grudges and inner monsters. But with our mindfulness practice we now notice and care. We are able to observe them better, even be shocked by them and feel their impact on our well-being. We are now aware of them, can treat them and finally reign them in.
How to tame the mind?
- Repeat mindfulness practices
The mind loves habit and will protest if you dare to break it. So maybe your bad thoughts really do become more intense or frequent when you start practising Sophrology and mindfulness. But does that mean you should let them win? Would you let your new pet do its business all over your house, just because it didn’t understand the first time you tried to teach it? No! Presumably you would keep on teaching it until it understands and learns. The same goes for your mind. You have to repeatedly teach it until it learns!
- Be kind to yourself
If you get distracted by your inner monsters while practicing mindfulness, don’t get angry at yourself. Just smile, keep going or try some other time. Remember that this happens to everybody! It’s just human.
- Offer your mind a different, positive scenario
When you notice your inner monsters taking over and making you feel bad, put a positive thought or memory in their place. Find a situation, memory or dream that you love and call on it when you catch yourself going off at tangents. Try the following exercise and anchor a positve scenario:
We all face disappointment, tough situations and difficult people every day. Some of them get stuck and haunt us, even when they are long gone. It is up to us to decide whether these thoughts are constructive and contribute to solving a problem or if they are just fragments that disturb our well-being. An untrained mind likes to indulge in the negative thought patterns we have become accustomed to. We can break these patterns by regularly practicing meditation, Sophrology and mindfulness, by being kind to ourselves and by offering our mind a postive picture to turn to. It might not shut our inner monsters up forever but it keeps them busy and makes us feel better!
How did you like the Sophrology exercise? Leave a comment below!
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