Dealing with Painful Memories/Thoughts

Often when we desperately in need of the mental and emotional break meditation can provide, we may find it almost impossible to practice. When dealing with painful memories from the past, or distressing thoughts, often due to ‘over thinking’ a situation, we get stuck in a destructive mental ‘loop’, making the situation we find ourselves in appear far worse then it actually is.

The following are a few tips to help you meditate through this.

  • In this situation, regard your thoughts as just thoughts, and don’t react to their content and emotional charge.
  • Remember, we don’t do anything about anxious feelings except to become aware of them and desist from judging them and condemning ourselves.
  • In this way, cultivating moment-to-moment non-judgemental awareness systematically teaches your mind to develop calmness and equanimity within or beneath any anxious feelings that might be present.
  • As you experience even brief moments of comfort, relaxation and clarity, you may notice during formal meditation and at other times that you do not feel anxious all the time. You discover that it is impermanent, a temporary mental state, just like boredom or happiness.
  •  If you find you cannot switch off anxiety, and then be mindful of that anxiety. Turn your attention to what your body is feeling, what effects that anxiety or mental anguish is having on your body. Mentally note all sensations in an explorative, accepting and kind way.
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Author: Sally Tomkins

I am a fully qualified Mindfulness Meditation teacher offering tuition in Sussex and Surrey.

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