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Every day, we have thousands of thoughts, emotions, urges, memories and feelings. From the time we wake up in the morning, all throughout the day, to when we lay down to sleep at night. No matter who we are, we all have thoughts swirling around in our heads. We even think and feel in our dreams. Often, we don’t realize how many thoughts we are having, and we get lost in them. Sometimes, we’re not even aware that we’re thinking. We seem to be swimming in a sea of our own thoughts. When we are surrounded by our thoughts, it’s easy to get caught up in them and react automatically, sometimes in ways we don’t even mean to react. We might hold onto some thoughts, even when we don’t want to, and it can feel like our thoughts are overwhelming. But thoughts are not facts, and they are not always true, even if they seem to be. Next time you feel caught up in your thoughts, try paying attention to them with curiosity, and not judgment. It doesn’t matter if they are true or false,
right or wrong; just notice them. How fast or slow are they? Are they are all very different from each other? Or perhaps you are having the same ones over and over again. Maybe they’re even focused on one theme. Some of these thoughts may be unwanted. But instead of reacting to them, notice what happens to your body sensations and your emotions when you have these thoughts. Perhaps you will notice if they are bringing you closer to or further away from what is important to you or the goals you have for yourself. Observing your thoughts is a skill that takes practice, like playing an instrument. Sometimes it'll be easy for you to be able to notice and respond to your thoughts. Other times, you might have to work really hard to get some distance from them. You might even have to keep letting go of the same unwanted thought over and over again. But don’t give up. Keep trying. Like waves in the ocean, thoughts are always passing through our minds,
and can affect how we feel and what we do. But they are not “us”, and we are not our thoughts. Learning to be aware of our thoughts can allow us to respond with more choice instead of reacting in ways we may regret. Observing our thoughts gives us some distance to see how our thoughts make us feel. We can then choose to act in ways that bring us closer to the things and the people that are important to us. Remember, you are not your thoughts. Try observing your thoughts with curiosity. Try it right now.
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