Thoughts are experts at stopping us do things we want to do, have you noticed? When people say “the only one standing in your way is you” I guess they are talking about thoughts we keep thinking and that are unhelpful to us.

Lately I have become more aware of how easily I can be stopped by thoughts. Here is what I have learned:

Allow for space between thoughts

I am enjoying the daily online game Wordle where you have to find the word of the day. One day I was completely stuck. I had concentrated so much and couldn’t see the solution. It was as if my thoughts were cramped together with zero space in between. Suddenly I had the idea of changing my intense focus to play. I decided to have fun and open my mind. Yes you guessed it, by allowing for a more spacious mind the correct word came to me straight away.

Overthinking is not helpful

Last week I was away by the sea. While there I had decided to go for a swim every day. Air temperature in the morning was 10 degrees so not particularly tempting for a dip. Waking up the first morning I wondered what time of the day I should go. I quickly realised that the more I thought about when, the bigger the chance of ending up not going at all. So I went straight away – I nearly ran! It was as if I could see thoughts gathering in my head trying to hold me back, becoming more and more powerful the longer I waited.

Thoughts take up a lot of energy

For nearly a year I have been doing the Wim Hof basic breathing method in the morning. It takes about 10 minutes and involves holding your breath three times: first time one minute, the next two times one and a half minute. Here is what I have noticed: On the days I do this and am not being distracted by thinking, it is easy to hold my breath. However, on the days I let my mind go into thinking, I struggle holding my breath.

Thoughts are incredibly powerful. Since thoughts are thoughts and not facts, it is very helpful to become aware of what your thoughts are. 90% of the thoughts you have today are the same as yesterday and the day before! You want to experience less (busy) thinking? Then make time to sit with your mind and see what is going on. With increased awareness you can train yourself to let go of unhelpful thoughts and have more peace of mind. And be more free.

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children.