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MeditationWatch Your Thoughts

Watch Your Thoughts

Calming our minds can take a while, especially when it’s full of anxiety or stress. Today, Elisha shares an easy and fun exercise in watching our thoughts come and go peacefully, like trains at the station.

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It sometimes takes me a while to get settled. My focus might be spinning around or my energy not quite there, and the act of grounding myself becomes a huge challenge. That's why mindfulness is so important. Our thoughts can pick us up and take us for a ride, but when we choose to settle in our bodies, we can better control how we feel. So today we're going to use mindfulness to regain some balance in our minds and bodies. We'll use an exercise that helps us watch our thoughts without being overwhelmed or controlled by them, just witnessing them, choosing to meet this present moment like a friend, with curiosity and compassion. So let's get started. Find yourself a comfy position. Roll your shoulders back and forward. Give your neck a light stretch to one side, then the other, and back to center. Softly close your eyes. Breathe in for three seconds and out for five seconds. In, two, three. And out, two, three, four, five. Try this a few more times on your own, noticing how your breath moves in and out of your body. Now, as you continue this breathing pattern, notice what thoughts come up. Do they distract you? It's okay, because you can always come back to your breath. See, what we can do to avoid getting distracted is imagine our thoughts like trains in a train station. We're sitting on a bench in the train station, and our thoughts are like the trains arriving and departing. We don't have to get on the train. We can stay seated and just watch. Maybe one train rushes in and rushes out quickly. Maybe another train stays, lingering for a while. But we can always choose to take a step back and just watch instead of getting onboard. So let's take a few more slow, deep breaths, keeping ourselves firmly planted in the train station in our mind. Now let go of the breathing counts and just be here, witnessing your thoughts. Maybe the train station really comes alive and you can start labeling the trains. Is one of them thoughts of worry or sadness? Maybe there's a train dedicated to a certain relationship or event. Give yourself some time to reflect and watch your thoughts. Whenever you feel your mind has taken one of those trains, you can take a deep breath and recenter at the station. It's kind of like a video game where you come back to life in the same starting point, but there's no stakes, no score, just thoughts and you. I'll give you some time to watch your thoughts go by. Nice work. However that felt, know that you made space for mindfulness today, and your body and mind will feel calmer and more refreshed because of it. To remember this feeling, repeat after me out loud or in your head. My thoughts may come and go. My thoughts may come and go. I am here with my breath. I...


Duration8 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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