In This Chapter
This chapter describes how to manage your thoughts mindfully. Mindfulness isn't about trying to stop unhelpful thoughts or suppress them so that you have a clear mind (to discover more misunderstandings about mindfulness, saunter to Chapter 3). Having a clear mind is impossible and because the mind is always active, trying to empty it can be highly frustrating. In contrast, mindfulness and mindfulness meditation show you how to accept any thoughts that arise and how to let go of identifying with them.
In this chapter, I describe how to manage your thoughts in different ways. You find out how to stop self-identifying with them and how to step back from them. You discover that different attitudes toward your thoughts can take away their control. I also introduce some mindful metaphors to help you detach yourself from your thoughts (which, remember, aren't necessarily facts) and instead simply notice them pass by.
Thoughts can have an impact on your mind and body, particularly if a pattern of anxious thoughts keeps ruminating around in your head. The human brain naturally leans toward the negative (as I describe in Chapter 1), and so thoughts can then repeat themselves continuously.
Imagine a record player with a stuck record. Thoughts ...