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Lost in Thoughts

A difficulty that many people experience when starting mindfulness training is that their mind keeps on being distracted by unwanted thoughts. With continued and correct mindfulness practice, intrusive thoughts will gradually decrease and you will feel more in control of what your mind is doing. By remaining equanimous to thoughts that arise during practice — that is, by accepting that thoughts have emerged and systematically shifting your attention back to the breath or body sensations instead of reacting to the thoughts—the activation strength of these thoughts in the brain will gradually weaken and decrease over time.

If, when practising mindfulness, intrusive thoughts are too overpowering, a 3-second rule may help. After three seconds of distraction, commit to making an effort to switch your attention back to the breath or body sensations.   This is a little bit like bringing the part of the brain that deals with attentional control to the gym every day. It gets easier with practice.

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