Disengaging from Thoughts

disengagng from thoughts Mindfulness

Disengaging from Thoughts

By Dr Mona Moussa PhD - LifeWorks Trainer

Disengaging from Thoughts - an article about Mindfulness

Mindfulness consists of the ability to pay attention to the present, to be aware, while noticing and accepting one's thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

Mindfulness is a way of living, it is not just surface-level information that you acquire and adopt in the short-term. Instead, it often results in a deep change in your life, in the way you perceive the world, and in your interaction with others. Mindfulness is not about targeting a specific unhelpful and distressing behavior, or changing a negative thought pattern.

Mindfulness instead is all-encompassing, targeting your inner core by helping you get in touch with the true You.

You might think that there is something wrong with you, that if only you could fix yourself, everything would be better. Or you might tell yourself that if only your external circumstances could change, then you would be finally happy. Mindfulness shows you instead that there is nothing wrong with you, that you don't need to be fixed, and that it is not about the external world or the people in your life, but it is instead about the true You.

Our innate ability to be Mindful

We were all born with the ability to be mindful, to remain present, away from the stories that we weave about who we are, who we should be in the future, and who we shouldn't have been in the past, away from the scenarios that we create about how the world should be, and how others should treat us.

As young children, it was easy for us to focus on the beauty of the moment, living it fully, rather than getting entangled in regrets about the past, or worries about the future. As we got older, we started incorporating societal rules and we learned that we could only receive approval or love based on certain conditions of "appropriate" behavior and expression of emotions. As we started molding our self to accommodate expectations of behaviors in school, work, relationships, and society, we started developing layers on top of our true essence, and these layers became more and more complex until we eventually lost touch with our true inner self.

Disengaging from thoughts mindfulness

Mindfulness helps us to turn our attention to our inner self, stripped from all the added layers of "Should's", "Could's", and "If's". This can be done by deep breathing, the use of imagery, or by focusing our attention on our senses amongst other.

More specifically, as you practice deep breathing, you will notice that different thoughts might be popping into your head, some of them negative (e.g., "I can never do anything right") and some of them mundane (e.g., "I need to go buy milk and bread"). Instead of trying to stop these thoughts or change them, acknowledge their presence and accept them, "I notice that I'm thinking about an argument i had with a colleague".

Disengaging from Thoughts

Next observe and watch your emotions like a curious investigator. Instead of getting caught up in the story behind the thought, just allow it to be. As you do this, recognize that you are not your thoughts, but the watcher of your thoughts. Recognize that thoughts are fleeting and allow them to pass like waves in the ocean thus allowing you to create a space between you and your thoughts. Then redirect your focus to your breathing. Your breath will be the anchor bringing you back to the present moment.

By realizing that you are not your thoughts, you will realise that the stress brought on by an external factor such as traffic jam, or the distress brought on by a negative thought such as "I can't do this", are only happening because of your own thinking about yourself and the world.

You will thus be able to disengage from these thoughts and connect with the real You, the calm, and happy You who is separate from these thoughts.

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About the Author

Dr Mona Moussa, PhD

Personal Development Trainer at LifeWorks

Mona has a PhD, and a Masters in Counselling Psychology. Mona speaks Arabic and has counselled in Lebanon, Australia, and Qatar. Her cross-cultural experience and deep knowledge of the Middle-Eastern culture allows her to provide a comprehensive approach to dealing with difficulties and challenges. Mona is passionate about reaching out to others to help them grow and reach their fullest potential.

Mona's work at LifeWorks involves helping women find back their sense of meaning and purpose in life, focus on the present moment, appreciate the small and simple moments in the hectic pace of Dubai life, focus on the connection and the quality of relationships, reconnect with one's self, and achieve inner calm.

This can be done through group training workshops, or individually tailored workshops on a one-on-one basis.

Mona Moussa LifeWorks Dubai staff

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