"You will never be truly free until you free yourself from the prison of your own false thoughts" - Philip Arnold
What is this lesson about?
Students have previously learned about ways to address and combat negative thoughts, our discussion now turns to the act of “letting them go”. That, at times, trying to argue or think your way out of negative thoughts will only dig you deeper. We escape our negative thought patterns when we step outside the stream of thoughts, become a non-judgemental observer of our thoughts, and then let them go.
What will students learn during this lesson?
First let’s make sure we all understand what a “thought” is. Thoughts are interpretations or opinions we form about ourselves, others and our world. Thoughts inform the ways we act and feel.
You are in charge of your thoughts and you decide where to put your attention.
Thoughts are like clouds, they come and go, but can stay and grow depending on which ones you pay attention to.
Stuck thoughts happen when we focus too much attention on the future and past.
Being quiet, still and directing your attention to the present moment is the easiest way to “unstick them”.
It is impossible to be stressed if you focus 100% of you attention on your breath or a mindfulness activity.
You are not your thoughts. Thoughts will come and go. By using mindfulness to create space around our thoughts we become less reactive and more intentional in our responses and actions.
Students will be read "I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness" by Susan Verde.
"LETTING GO of stuck thoughts" Script
Instruct students to find a mindful body and begin mindful breathing. Once students are settled, students will be guided through the following script. Turn on mindfulness music (see below).
We will be using our imaginations to help us let go of stuck thoughts. I will be guiding you through a visualization. Our imagination is a powerful tool. The more you can use your imagination to visualize what I am saying, the better this will work. Begin by closing your eyes. Let’s all take 3 deep breaths.
Good, now keep your attention focused on the feeling of your breath coming in and your breath going out. By focusing our attention on our breath we can begin to notice any thoughts that distract us from our breath – any worries about the past or fears about the future. Just notice these thoughts as the arise, label them as ‘thoughts’, then let them go and return your attention to your breath.
Great, now begin to imagine you are sitting or lying on top of a big grassy hill. Really use your imagination and picture all of the details. Imagine what the grass would feel like underneath you. Imagine how the sun would feel shining on your face. Imagine the feeling of a soft breeze and the sounds of birds around you. There is nothing else in sight- just you, the hill and the open sky’.
Now imagine, that each thought you notice is a cloud passing overhead. Notice each thought as it comes up and watch it just as you would watch a cloud passing on a sunny day. You are not trying to do anything about it, not worrying about it or trying to change it; just observing it with a smile. You will begin to notice more thoughts arising. Do not do anything about these either. Just watch them come into your sky and then gently float away. Breathing in, breathing out.
In a moment I will be silent. Continue focusing your attention on your breath and continue watching your thoughts come and go like clouds. This is your time to relax so just let go. I will turn down the music when our time is up.
Sensory walk activity
Let’s start by thinking about anything that might be bothering us lately. Don’t share this but I want you to think about it for a moment. We are going to practice a mindfulness activity aimed at erasing the thought, even for a few moments so that your body can begin to calm down.
This activity is similar to our Rainbow Walk we practiced earlier in the year. This one you can also use anywhere and uses your senses to be present in your environment.
First, stand up slowly and take a deep breath.
Begin to slowly walk through the room and start by gathering 5 things you see.
Next try to pick up on 5 things you hear…these can be small things.
Then move on to 5 things that you might smell... this might be hard but do your best to notice any smells such as the grass outside.
And last, 5 things you can feel. It is okay to gently touch items in the room but use good judgment to not touch others belongings. Try to find items of different textures.
Then find yourself back at your chair with a mindful body pose. Take a last deep breath in.
Discuss some items people noticed.
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