Recap and Goals

Putting these skills into practice throughout our week

When I started thinking of my more automatic thoughts, like the sounds I can’t control, it was easier to not get caught up in chasing after each and every one of ’em – Murry, 36

Summary and Recap

In this lesson, we looked into shifting the relationship between our thoughts and how we identify with them, emphasizing that we are not always our thoughts. This allows us to step back from our thoughts and not get stuck in negative spirals of rumination. 

The practice of mindfulness of sounds and thoughts offers an effective exercise in cultivating metacognitive awareness by distinguishing between our direct experience, our thoughts, and reactions.

  1. Guided practice of mindfulness of sounds and thoughts
    • We learned to better recognize that, like sounds, our thoughts can and will come up all the time and we don’t have to follow every one. 
  2. Disengage from negative thoughts
    • We made efforts to be more aware of our thoughts, noticing when they are negative, and stepping back to observe them more objectively.
  3. Mindful conversations
    • We learned how to apply the same awareness of our thoughts to conversations by listening mindfully, and noticing what thoughts and reactions arose in our interactions.

We also introduced cultivating a more mindful perspective, approaching our thoughts, our efforts to learn mindfulness, and our life more generally with curiosity, patience, acceptance, kindness, and compassion.

All of this helps to reduce the intensity and duration of negative thoughts, so we can increase our capacity to regulate how we respond to our thoughts. 

Consolidating Skills

Before moving on to Lesson 4. Developing Emotional Resilience, we encourage you to practice mindfulness of sounds and thoughts at least three times. 

Our worksheet below can help you to reflect on your experience (or you can use a journal, notebook, notes on your phone, etc).

Preview of PDF

Try to set aside 5-10 minutes each evening to reflect on your mindfulness practice for the day. Use the following prompts to guide your reflection:

  • What did you notice during your mindfulness practice today?
  • What challenges did you encounter?
  • How did you respond to these challenges?
  • What have you noticed about your ability to step back from thoughts? How has it changed, if it has?
  • What did you learn from today’s practice? 
  • How might you apply what you learned to future mindfulness practices or daily life?

Keep in mind

At the end of each day or the week, try to reflect on the following questions in relation to noticing difficult thoughts:

  1. How often do you notice yourself getting caught up in negative or repetitive thoughts?
  2. Are you aware of any patterns or themes in your thoughts, particularly when you’re feeling down or stressed?
  3. How do you typically respond to intrusive or unwanted thoughts? For example, do you try to suppress them, analyse them, or distract yourself from them?
  4. When do you find it easier to disengage from thoughts? What attitudes are present in those moments, if any (e.g., acceptance, self-compassion, humour)?
  5. Were you able to notice a thought without judging yourself for having it? How might observing thoughts without judgement benefit your overall mental health? 

In Lesson 4 we will work on increasing our capacity to remain calm and composed amidst not only negative thoughts, but also stronger emotions.