You’re on your way to a guided meditation when suddenly your dog walks into your room and starts climbing all over you. You immediately feel distracted. You experience the physical sensations of your dog climbing on you, licking your face, and maybe even knocking you down. Suddenly, you become obsessed with thoughts that you will not be able to get even a moment of inner peace in your home, and you feel tension building up in your body. At times like these, the practice of mental note-taking can be beneficial for your thinking mind. In this article, we’ll share what mental note-taking is, its benefits, and a simple method you can use whenever you want.
Free meditation appDeclutter The Mind is an app that will teach you how to meditate, help you form a regular exercise habit, and expand your mind to mindfulness practices.
What is a mental note?
During a meditation practice, in moments when you get lost in thought or distracted, a mental note is when you label the thought so you can focus on your breathing again.
For example, suppose you are meditating in a quiet room when suddenly your phone starts ringing. You’re about seven minutes into your ten minute workout. When the phone starts ringing, say “no hear” and return to meditation despite the ringing. What the practice of mental note-taking does during meditation is to call the activity instead of dwelling on intrusive thoughts or worrying about who is calling. Instead, when you tag it, it allows you to focus back on your meditation so you can regain mindfulness.
Benefits of the Mental Note Technique
1. He makes no judgments
A mental note during meditation does not allow your thoughts to take on a life of their own. It stops thought in its tracks and makes no judgments. With the mental note technique, you label the thought as “thinking,” “feeling,” “hearing,” “pain,” or some other descriptive word that acknowledges that you are shifting your attention away from it without trying to associate it with it. If you suddenly feel a chill, you can say “feel” instead of wondering if you should put on a sweater or grab a blanket. It allows you to detach from your thoughts without judgment. Often when we get distracted in a meditation practice, we judge ourselves for losing focus. But when you mentally record what happened, it gives you a moment to acknowledge it in your inner voice without losing your place in your experience. It can be distracting during a meditation session. Mental notes allow you to acknowledge yourself or your experiences without judgment, without any emotional reaction.
2. Prevents rumination
Thoughts can be very disruptive during a meditation session. A comfortable recording experience can prevent this from happening. Left to its own devices, your brain will want to think about an infinite number of things during a moment of silence. After all, a busy mind means your brain is alive and active. It’s perfectly normal to have a steady stream of thoughts come into your mind during guided meditation. But the purpose of your practice is not to connect with them, but to focus on the present. It may sound harsh, but daily meditation is essential for the contemplative. If you feel emotional because of random thoughts that pop into your mind, you may want to meditate more often. Mindfulness provides several ways to quiet the mind, reduce anxiety, and become more self-aware. But when you are lost in thought, none of the benefits of meditation come into play.
3. It lets you stay in the now
Mindfulness is often the primary goal of meditation practice. Chronic worriers often fear the future, while many who struggle with grief are stuck in the past. Living in the present is your best bet to be aware and make the best decisions possible now. Meditation has many functions, but being present and paying attention to your breath is the best way to manage your emotions. It is in a state of heightened awareness that you are most in control of yourself. The note-taking experience allows you to quickly record what’s happening, while allowing you to focus on what’s really important: the moment. Those who want to live a mindful life will benefit from mindfulness meditation to stay present.
4. Accepts distraction
Distractions are second nature during meditation. A mental note helps you focus on it for a moment without losing your focus further. It’s like getting an itch during a quick 10-minute meditation session. It’s completely distracting. And you wonder, “Should I scratch it? This is a very uncomfortable feeling. I have to scratch it.” Instead, when you mentally mention “itching”. This allows you to see the distraction without going down the rabbit hole. You may still scratch your itch, especially if it distracts you from breathing, but when you label it, you’re unlikely to have a strong emotion.
5. Allows you to see patterns
An oft-repeated note indicates that something in your mind is being pushed up to face you. Recognize recurring patterns during meditation practice. But don’t worry about them until your experience is complete. Overly defined mental notes can gloss over what is actually happening. For example, if you keep thinking about a sick family member and begin to cry, this indicates that you are dealing with anxiety, fear, and worry. After your experience, you can call a sick family member to check on them. You may also find a therapist to help you with your troubled feelings to help you cope with any consequences, especially if the individual is terminally ill. But these are things to do after training. not during. After the session, it is often necessary to engage in a repeated practice of distraction. No matter how strong the feelings are, you must still return to your breath during the session. Instead, simply note and label what you feel and refocus on your breathing.
A mental note exercise
1. Body Scan Meditation
Body scan meditation is one of the best meditations where you can take mental notes. During a body scan meditation, you will work the limbs and parts of your body and give them information. If you are worried about something during this exercise, you may feel tightness in your stomach. You may feel an itch or pain. You can start working with all the body parts to find where all these experiences are. However, instead of focusing on them for the entire meditation, you’ll just notice it for a few minutes, label it, and move on to the next body part. You can find body scan meditations on Declutter The Mind to practice mental notes.
2. Exercise after meditation
After a mindfulness practice, it can be helpful to do a quick post-meditation exercise. During meditation, the thoughts you mentally record can enter your mind. After you practice, take a piece of paper and write down the thoughts that come to your mind. Then find evidence for and against the idea. If the thought is negative or not a fact, consider writing down what the truth is. To the contrary, we will often have a negative thought, even though there is tons of evidence to prove that it is indeed true. Not everything we think is right. So, taking the time to surface our negative thoughts can allow us to become better at preventing rumination during our meditation practice.
Freedom from thought during meditation is essential to our well-being. A mental note technique can help you become more aware of how often you are distracted during a session. Don’t get too caught up in it as it happens. Just record it. After your ten minutes of meditation, you can try looking at the thoughts that arise to find patterns that may be disrupting your life, so you can be more proactive in solving a problem that is causing you pain. With more mindfulness meditations or body scan meditations, you will realize that you are not your own thoughts and will find it easier to notice them instead of identifying with them.