To manage our emotions, and think and behave in helpful ways so that we can present the best version of ourselves, being mindful is a solid foundation to build on.

Engaging with helpful thoughts is likely to lead to helpful feelings and behaviours. Equally, learning or remembering to let unhelpful thoughts go, not engaging with them – not ‘fusing’ with them – is part of the same process.

In his book ‘Mindful Compassion’, Paul Gilbert refers to how what we focus on we give energy to, and what we give energy to we cultivate.
In this way, we can therefore give energy to and cultivate helpful or unhelpful thoughts and feelings.

If we do on occasion have negative/unhelpful thoughts, just observing them, and letting them go, rather than trying to force them out – which can often be counter-productive – gives us a chance to take stock, keep calm and in control.

Next time an unhelpful thought/self-criticism pops up, let’s try and say to ourselves:
‘I’m having the thought that… (e.g. I’m no good; I can’t achieve’)
In this way, we distance ourselves from unhelpful internal chatter, noticing that these thoughts are just words (or images).

We can follow this up with
‘I notice I’m having the thought that…’ for some further distance.

This may well require practice before we get good at it.

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