Does Your Thinking Help You Cope or Cause You Anguish?

thinking about stressful eventsEmotions happen in an instant.  Your supervisor shoots down an idea in front of your colleagues and you’re humiliated.  You’re teenage son leaves his socks on the living room floor again and you’re angry.  Your best single girlfriend tells you she’s getting married and you feel lonely, happy or rejected (or maybe all three).

How you think about events that happen in your life, especially those stressful life events, can either help you get through tough times with an amount of equilibrium or it can derail you and end with your emotions in extremes. Continue reading “Does Your Thinking Help You Cope or Cause You Anguish?” »

Non-judgmental Mindfulness: Changing Your Thinking

Good, bad, fair, unfair, superior, awful, excellent, dreadful, worthy, shoddy, should, shouldn’t.  If this is the soundtrack in your mind, then this exercise will help you to re-focus on the skill of non-judgmental.  Part of our mind is constantly comparing our experiences with others we’ve had or holding them up to some expectations we’ve created.  These judgments happen in our minds, can trigger intense emotions and distract us from the moment. If you’re trying to concentrate, but you keep getting distracted by judgmental thoughts then it’s time to practice non-judgmental thinking.

In order to change your thinking, you must focus attention on your thoughts.  Notice them as clouds floating in the sky.  They change and pass with time.  Bring your awareness to the content of your thoughts.  Observe each time a judgmental word or thought crosses your mind.  At this point you can either simply allow the judgment to float by or you can begin to change your thinking. 

To change your thinking, try to describe the situation, rather than judge it as ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  You can acknowledge whether something was helpful or harmful for you, acknowledge how it made you feel or simply describe to yourself the observable parts of the situation, without placing a value on them.

It’s very hard to think in non-judgmental terms, but it’s an important skill to learn.  Judgments have a significant effect on the way we feel.  They also can cloud our perceptions and leave us responding not to a situation as it is, but to a situation as we’ve judged it to be.