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MeditationOrganizing Thoughts

Organizing Thoughts

A student’s to-do list can feel never-ending, but writing things down can help your mind feel less crowded. You’ll need a pen and paper for this exercise.

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Hi, today I wanted to share a journaling practice with you that a teacher had given to me in my first year of university. So before we get started, make sure you have a pen and a piece of paper nearby for this exercise. All right, so I was taking a class that was focused on time management and prioritization. Incredible, right? And in this one class, the professor shared that one way that we can ease our stress as our workload increases during the semester is by writing down our to-do list. So as your teachers are assigning different projects, assignments, essays, tests, whatever it is, and you find yourself almost lost in this sea of work, what can be helpful and even anchoring is to see all these things that you have to do out on a piece of paper instead of having them take up so much space in the mind. When we do this, we can actually see what needs to be done and we can also become aware of our own thoughts and feelings that may be adding to the stress that's there. By allowing this mental to-do list to live outside of your mind, you also have an opportunity to see things from a different perspective, and even start to recognize your thoughts and prioritize your time effectively. So let's give this a try. Before we begin writing anything down, just take a moment to get comfortable, sitting upright, feeling the feet connecting to the floor. Hands can be rested on your legs or down by your side. And just taking three big breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. As you breathe in, feeling the stomach rising and feeling the body soften on the exhale. And now returning the breath back to its natural rhythm. Take a moment here just to write down all the things that you have to do. And not thinking about it too much, but just writing down whatever comes to mind. It could be assignments, it could be things related to school, but it could also be other life things because we're human, too. And if you need more time, feel free to pause this and press play when you're ready. So now that you have all of this in front of you, take a moment just to sit back and observe your paper, observe the things written on the paper, and just notice how the mind and maybe even the body respond. What does it feel like seeing all of this in front of you? What comes to mind? How does this make you feel? And are there any things in front of you that are more important? Maybe there's things that can be done a bit later. Again, just noticing and noting, connecting to the sensation of the breath and just gently noticing the breath in the body with the eyes focused softly on this piece of paper, creating a bit of...


Duration7 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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