Observe thoughts rather than believing them

Donovan Banks, Staff Writer

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When experiencing the feeling of being stuck inside your head, understand that thoughts are not facts. Attempting to not race away with the mind to become part of the “thought spiral,” is a great way to practice mindfulness, especially during school when overwhelming feelings can come up.

Take notice of a thought, but don’t judge them; allow the thoughts to pass and simply let them go. However, it can be really difficult to stop reminiscing on a thought.

Constantly fearing and overthinking will lure the mind into this vicious cycle; otherwise known as the “thought spiral.” Breaking from a thought spiral can be hard to overcome, and it’s not even something that should be defeated entirely. It’s always important to listen to what the mind and body are saying to a certain degree.

First, there can be warning signs indicating whether or not feelings of anxiety are starting to arise. Start to take notice if the mind is wandering to something upsetting or worrying, or if any physical sensations begin to start; in the chest, head, hands or stomach. Acknowledge those feelings, recognize them, let them be reassured to practice mindfulness. One way to practice mindfulness is focusing on surroundings. While sitting, concentrate on the sensations throughout the body from head to toe; breathing in and out through the nose, what that feels like, the ground beneath the feet. Tune in with all of the five senses to learn how to become more comfortable with your mind. Five things to see, four things to touch, three things to hear, two things to smell and one thing to taste. Think of each thought as moving clouds or leaves floating down a stream; and, let them pass by. It could also be helpful to counteract what those thoughts are saying, “thought blocking,” saying the word “stop” in the mind when an unwanted thought appears. After the thought has stopped, replace it with a pleasing image or thought.

For each incoming week, keep a planner by your side; prioritizing the work, week by week will help with time management and getting done the very next assignment that is due in order. Perhaps even if two or more of the same subject classes are in one semester, set aside time during the week to plan the very next assignment that needs to be worked on or studied for, to make the days less stressful. Work on studying for Tuesday’s quiz in English throughout the day on Monday, so then the math homework not due until Thursday can be done on Wednesday.