Benefits of Labeling your Thoughts
Lately, we have been discussing the benefits of meditation, and how to get into meditating for beginners. If you haven’t read those posts, and are interested in meditating, you can read them here. While meditating, you are actually trying not to think much and control your breathing. This allows you to clear your mind and focus on one aspect, issue, or thought at a time.
Labeling your thoughts is a critical thinking mindset that allows us to have more control over what we are thinking about. Moreover, it allows us to think about certain subjects when we want or need to. What I mean by that is, when you are having a bad day, you can choose to think about a happily labeled thought to get your mind off of other subjects. As a beginner to thought-labeling and meditation, you may want to start with only a few labels. A few of those labels you can start with are: useful thoughts, un-useful thoughts, happy thoughts, and sad thoughts.
Once you sit down, control your breathing, and get into the zone, I want you to try to think about one thing at a time. It is difficult, as our minds want to continuously wander, but this is the exact reason we are meditating to begin with! So, once you have a specific thought, stick with it, hold onto it for a few moments and try to put a label on it. Let’s give an example: Your thought could be about how you faltered on your diet today. Ask yourself a few questions, like, “Is this thought giving me stress? Does it make me happy? Is it affecting me in a certain way?” These questions will help you to address a label to each and every thought. Be creative with your questions and reasoning for labeling. After all, these are your thoughts, which affect your attitude and emotions on a daily or even hourly basis.
Once you have labeled a thought, it doesn’t matter what the label is, you need to let that thought go. What I mean by that is, you can actually create more “space” in your mind for thinking by understanding your thoughts, labeling them, and then letting them go. You may not forget about it, it isn’t that you are deleting a file, rather you will be temporarily storing it in another file for safe keeping. This will clear your mind greatly and allow you to think more clearly about matters that deserve more attention. This is one of the many ways that meditating can create less stress in your life and fundamentally develop a healthier lifestyle.
Are you into meditating? If so, have you ever tried thought labeling? For my critical thinkers out there, this might be right up your alley! Give it a try and let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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Kim Shapira MS, RD