A Mindfulness Exercise

Many times we find that our thoughts disturb us.  We begin to believe that our thoughts define us.  We begin to feel stress, may not sleep well and can’t concentrate.  In CBT, we end up talking through a lot of these thoughts and try to find alternatives to the thoughts.  Along with this, if your practitioner uses mindfulness, you might also use the Leaves in the Stream meditation.  It’s a great way to release the thoughts that are making you suffer.  It may be difficult at first but that’s okay.  It’s hard to remain mindful and present.  But the more you practice it, the easier it becomes to let go.

The Leaves in the Stream meditation: 
Sit quietly. Focus on your breath, going in and out. Start to notice the thoughts and images that come into your mind. As you notice each thought, imagine putting those words or pictures onto a leaf as it floats by on a stream. Put each thought that you notice onto a leaf, and watch it drift on by. There’s no need to look for the thoughts, or to remain alert waiting for them to come. Just let them come, and as they do, place them onto a leaf.

Your attention will wander, particularly so at first, and that’s okay – it’s what our mind does. As soon as you notice your mind wandering, pay attention to your breathing and then focus back to the thoughts, and placing them onto the leaves.

After a few minutes, take a few more deep breathes, and relax.

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