15 May Why Mental Noting Works!
Today we will discuss some mindfulness facts about Mental Noting: What is it, and how do we apply it in our daily lives?
Have you ever felt that your mind keeps wandering off as you try to do a simple task? Let’s say you are brushing, for example. Notice how many thoughts about what’s to happen later, clouds your mind while you do something as simple as brushing. In reality, you are not one with your body, you are all over the place wondering ” What’s for breakfast? ” or ” What should I wear today? ” or ” Is there enough gas in my car? ”
This is where mental noting can make a difference.
Mental noting is not a difficult technique. It’s just about applying a note or label to a thought or a feeling. Usually we are so distracted by our thoughts and this goes undetected. Mental noting establishes clarity or some kind of awareness when the mind drifts off or gets overwhelmed.
In order to live a fulfilled, healthy, happy and stress-free life, Aware’s meditation includes the aspect of mental noting, where we become totally aware of our thoughts and it’s patterns. It’s important because when we are asked to breathe and feel bodily sensations, we may get interrupted by our chattering thoughts.
So, we must become aware of our thoughts and you may try to label these thoughts as: memory or fantasy or critic or sad or happy, whatever, without any judgement on the thoughts or yourself. Then you will find the ability to let these thoughts go with mental noting where you simply note the thoughts, categorize them and then let it go.
Also, when you notice something and identify it, it doesn’t seem to be so heavy. For example, I feel lighter once I label a thought, because it breaks the bridge between that negative-thought-process to go on, and for me to climb aboard it. It creates a space in my brain, and I feel lighter than I would if I continued to shoulder my pain around.
Applying Mental Noting the Right Way:
In the beginning, you might feel like saying” Ok, I’m going to catch and note every single thought that distracts or overwhelms me- This is sadness, This is anger, This is anxiety..etc”.
But it’s going to be hard to achieve and more importantly, it’s not mental noting. Because all it is just realizing that you got distracted, or that your mind has wandered off….
And then it’s thinking ” Oh, right, that’s a thought or that was a feeling or that was a fantasy….”
And then gently coming back to your object of focus.
When you begin the practice, try to think of mental noting, as a feather lightly touching a glass ball. So, it’s really soft and really really gentle. Applying mental noting in this way would help you to become non-judgmental or not confrontational with your thinking. As you become more aware and confident in this practice, you can use it to fight mental blocks and give your brain some space when you come across issues such as Anxiety or whichever pack you’re doing at home!
Nehita is a mindfulness expert who writes extensively on lifestyle management, wellness and ways to lead a healthier and a happier life. She is a part of Aware’s expert team on meditation. She is also an avid artist who spends most her time dribbling amazing stories through art.