4 Ways To Cultivate Mindfulness Of Thoughts

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Published by Kenneth Garcia


Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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In this day and age, being mindful of your thoughts is an important ability to have. It is because we often treat thoughts as if they were the truth. Each passing thought and assumption may cause us to behave differently toward ourselves and others.

Therefore, we must pay attention to our wandering minds at present. A brilliant way to practice is through meditation. These types of mindfulness exercises can help reduce stress[1] and make us pay attention to our thoughts with a gentle curiosity.

The benefits of mindfulness-based stress reduction and meditation practice can go a long way. You only need three to five minutes of free time, a comfortable seat, and an attitude free of judgment to start. Before we dive into how to engage in mindfulness meditation, let us learn more about what it means to be mindful of your thoughts.

What Does It Mean To Be Mindful Of Your Thoughts?

Psychology shows that the mind wanders and processes a wide variety of positive and negative thoughts. These create emotions and beliefs that some may carry for the rest of their lives. Noticing these imaginative thoughts at the moment will create awareness and control over our thinking. Left unchanged, we will be slaves to our minds.

Monks provide a metaphor that best explains these thoughts. They think of their thoughts as pages written on the river; a person takes notice of a particular thought, then the one after it comes into the picture, and then the one after that. This is the Buddhist idea: thoughts come, and they go.

Mindfulness is simply the practice of being fully present in the moment and being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Kabat-Zinn, a meditation teacher, believes that “mindfulness is the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment” without judgment.

Meditating and noticing these thoughts, bodily sensations, and other feelings can help reduce stress and anxiety. While this may sound simple, many people have difficulty thinking about their thoughts. There are various techniques, like mindfulness meditation, that can help us focus and be aware of our thoughts.

Research has shown that mindfulness of thoughts can have many positive effects on our physical and mental well-being. Regular practice of mindfulness can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while enhancing cognitive function. It can also improve sleep and promote overall better sleep quality. Mindfulness has also been linked to increased empathy, compassion, and overall happiness.

Furthermore, according to the American Heart Association, adults who suffer from high blood pressure have found that by participating in activities and exercises that promote mindfulness, their elevated blood pressure has decreased over time.

This proves that practicing mindfulness meditation benefits not only the mind and soul but also the physical body. It has been found that this technique can help reduce symptoms of heart disease and chronic pain, as well as clinical depression.

Elizabeth Hoge’s study in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine found that using mindfulness meditation techniques significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in people with generalized anxiety disorder.

How Can I Practice Mindfulness Of Thoughts?

To practice awareness of thoughts, people should first focus on their well-being. Take a few minutes out of your life and meditate on how you are feeling. Beginners should take their time and set their perspective on life non-judgmentally. Sit down in complete silence and begin by taking deep breaths.

Take control of your breathing and pay complete attention to the thoughts flowing through your head. Diaphragmatic breathing is one way to achieve this. While doing so, think about past or future events and your relationships with family, friends, or other people. Having a clear awareness of our thoughts teaches us more about our brain and body.

Thinking Without Judgment

Enough people in this world have made wrong judgments about themselves or others. That is why, during mindfulness meditation, a person should look at their feelings or suffering without having assumed anything regarding those situations.

It is crucial to accept yourself and the community around you to learn to exercise mindfulness of your thoughts. There are a couple more mindfulness exercises, like guided meditation, that can prove helpful to others trying to live in the moment.

The practice of mindfulness can change us in ways that we do not expect and allow us to combat anxiety and find peace.

  1. Awareness: Begin by cultivating awareness of your thoughts. Notice when a thought arises without immediately reacting or attaching any judgment to it. Simply acknowledge the presence of the thought.
  2. Non-Identification: Remember that you are not your thoughts. Instead of getting caught up in the content of the thought or identifying with it, view your thoughts as passing mental events. Recognize that thoughts come and go, and they do not define your true self.
  3. Detachment: Practice developing a sense of detachment from your thoughts. Rather than becoming entangled in the story or emotional charge behind a thought, cultivate an attitude of detachment where you can observe the thought from a place of inner stillness.
  4. Non-Engagement: Avoid getting involved in a dialogue with your thoughts. Instead of reacting to or engaging with the content of the thought, maintain a stance of non-engagement. Simply let the thought be present without giving it undue attention or trying to analyze it.
  5. Compassionate Curiosity: Approach your thoughts with compassion and curiosity. Instead of judging or criticizing yourself for having certain thoughts, adopt an attitude of self-compassion. Treat your thoughts with gentle curiosity, observing them without condemnation or attachment.
  6. Reframing: If you find yourself judging a thought, try reframing it. Rather than labeling a thought as “good” or “bad,” view it as a neutral mental event. Recognize that thoughts arise based on various factors and are not inherently positive or negative.
Daydreaming and Mindfulness of Thoughts

How To Practice Mindfulness In Daily Life

While meditation is pretty useful for increasing awareness of thoughts, there are different ways to exercise the mind and enhance the feeling of being aware of our surroundings. Mindfulness exercises also benefit those who want to focus on improving their mental health and have control over a specific thought.

  • Notice The Nature Around You

A brilliant way of calming yourself before practicing mindfulness meditation is to observe your surroundings. Look at the clouds in the blue sky, feel the effects and impact of the air flowing by, or hear the birds chirping. This helps in reducing stress and bringing a sense of calm to our minds.

Those who don’t have a pleasant environment around them can close their eyes and take a short breath first, processing images of trees and a river in their heads. This thought can help calm nerves and begin mindfulness meditation. It is also a valuable technique to improve sleep quality for those who struggle to fall asleep or sleep properly throughout the night.

  • Take A Moment To Notice The Feeling In Your Body

Before beginning your mindful meditation, take a moment to do a complete body check. Start from the bottom of your toes and slowly move up until you finally reach the top of your head. Take a while to think about how you are feeling. This exercise helps us be more conscious of our health and frees us from any burdens that may hinder mindfulness during meditation.

  • Breathe In And Begin The Stream Of Thoughts

After being thoroughly prepared, invite the domain of emotional thoughts and feelings to take center stage in the domain of awareness. Here, the idea is to take these thoughts as pages flowing through a river. Take a deep breath and let every thought flow through your head as calmly and smoothly as possible.

Remember that these are just thoughts, not facts. Don’t start believing a thought; instead, look at it neutrally. This technique is essential to learning about the truth and lies in each thought entering our minds. The more you practice this mindfulness-amplifying exercise, expect to gain a significant amount of clarity in your decisions, actions, and others’ attitudes towards you.

  • Learn How Thoughts Fabricate Your Belief

During your mindfulness meditation, have a quiet reflection about how thoughts affect our views, ideas, and stories and how easily they change our beliefs.

To do this, experiment with past scenarios and try to remember how certain words could affect our thoughts during these situations. Realize in this particular moment that you don’t always have to believe or get caught up in these thoughts.

There are plenty of benefits to paying attention to the reality of a particular thought. It can bring more clarity to your life and free you from negative thoughts that could happen in the future. After completing this or other forms of meditation, let go of the thoughts with another deep breath and open your eyes.

Anyone, including children, can practice this regularly to learn to listen more to each passing thought. Even better, this can help make our beliefs firm in certain situations in life and promote a more decisive attitude.

6 Different Mindfulness Techniques

While mindfulness is often associated with meditation, it can also be practiced in everyday life. There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into our daily routines.

Remember that mindfulness is a skill that improves with practice. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the duration as you feel comfortable. Feel free to explore these techniques and find the ones that resonate best with you.

Mindful Breathing

Taking a few deep breaths and focusing on the sensation of the breath can be a simple yet powerful way to bring mindfulness of thoughts into your day. Pay attention to how your breath feels as air enters and exits your nostrils. You can do this while sitting at your desk, waiting in line, or during a break.

Mindful Eating

Eating mindfully involves paying attention to the taste, texture, and smell of your food, as well as the sensation of chewing and swallowing. This can help you savor your food and eat more slowly, which can lead to better digestion and satisfaction.

Mindful Walking

Taking a walk outside can be a great way to clear your mind and connect with your surroundings. As you walk, pay attention to the sights, sounds, and sensations around you and feel your feet touching the ground.

Mindful Communication

Mindful communication involves being fully present and attentive when speaking with others. This means listening with an open mind, speaking with intention and kindness, and being aware of your own emotions and reactions.

Body Scan

Start from the top of your head and slowly move your attention down through your body, paying attention to each body part. Notice any sensations, tensions, or areas of relaxation. This technique promotes body awareness and relaxation.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Cultivate feelings of love, compassion, and kindness towards yourself and others. Start by directing these feelings towards yourself, then extend them to loved ones, acquaintances, and even challenging individuals. This mindfulness meditation nurtures positive emotions and strengthens empathy.

If you have trouble practicing mindfulness on your own, there are many resources online that offer free meditations. You can also download a free meditation app online to guide you.

Common Obstacles To Mindfulness

While mindfulness of thoughts can be a powerful tool for improving our overall well-being, it’s not always easy to make it a consistent part of our daily lives. There are many common obstacles that most people face when trying to practice mindfulness meditation. Acknowledging these will help us tackle them more effectively.

Lack of Time

One of the biggest obstacles to mindfulness is often a perceived lack of time. We often feel like we’re too busy to sit still and meditate or practice mindfulness throughout the day. However, mindfulness doesn’t have to take up so much of our time. Even a few minutes of deep breathing or mindful walking can make a difference.

Try to set aside a specific time each day for mindfulness meditation, even if it’s just a few minutes. This can help to make mindfulness a habit, and over time, it may feel more natural to incorporate it into your day.

Difficulty Focusing

Another common obstacle to mindfulness is difficulty focusing. Sometimes, it’s hard to quiet our minds and stay present in the moment.

However, it’s important to remember that mindfulness is a practice, and like any other skill, it takes time and patience to develop.

It may help to start with shorter periods of mindfulness practice and gradually increase the length of time as your focus improves. You can also choose a specific object of focus, such as the breath or a sound, and gently bring your attention back to that object whenever you notice your mind wandering.


Restlessness or physical discomfort can also be obstacles to mindfulness. It can be hard to sit still for long periods or to focus on your breath when your body feels uncomfortable.

You can experiment with different postures and positions, such as sitting on a cushion or lying down, to find what feels most comfortable for you. It can also be helpful to focus on the sensation of your breath or your body rather than trying to suppress discomfort or restlessness.


Today, many distractions can pull us away from mindfulness meditation. From notifications on our phones to the chatter of our thoughts, it can be hard to stay focused on the present.

One solution to this is to create a designated space for mindfulness meditation, such as a quiet room or corner of your home, where you can minimize distractions. It can also be helpful to turn off notifications on your phone or other devices during mindfulness meditation and to practice self-compassion when your mind wanders or you become distracted. We can then gently return our attention to the present.

The most important thing is to be kind to yourself. By acknowledging and working to overcome these common obstacles, we can find ways to integrate mindfulness into our daily lives and reap the many benefits that it has to offer.

The Importance Of Mindfulness

By being mindful of your thoughts, you develop a greater sense of inner clarity, emotional balance, and alignment with your values and beliefs. It empowers you to navigate life’s challenges with wisdom, compassion, and a deeper understanding of yourself and others.


Being mindful of your thoughts helps you develop a deep understanding of your mind and inner experiences. By observing your thoughts without judgment, you gain insight into your patterns of thinking, emotional tendencies, and recurring thought patterns. Self-awareness empowers you to choose consciously, not just react to automatic thoughts.

Emotional Regulation

Thoughts and emotions are closely intertwined. When you are mindful of your thoughts, you become more aware of the underlying emotions associated with them. This awareness enables you to regulate your emotions more effectively. Acknowledging your thoughts without distraction allows for a clear and composed response to challenging emotions.

Cognitive Flexibility

Mindfulness of thoughts promotes cognitive flexibility, which is the ability to shift perspectives, consider alternative viewpoints, and generate new ideas. By observing your thoughts without attachment or rigidity, you cultivate an open and curious mindset. This flexibility enhances problem-solving skills, creativity, and adaptability in various aspects of life.

Reduced Rumination

Mindfulness helps break the cycle of rumination, which is the repetitive and unproductive dwelling on negative thoughts or past events. By observing your thoughts without judgment, you can notice when you’re caught in a loop of rumination and gently redirect your attention to the present moment. This reduces stress, improves mental well-being, and allows for more constructive use of mental energy.

Enhanced Spiritual Growth

For those with a spiritual inclination, mindfulness can deepen their connection to their faith and spiritual beliefs. By observing and exploring their thoughts, individuals can align their thinking with the values and teachings of their faith. Mindfulness can foster a greater sense of gratitude, compassion, and a stronger relationship with God.

Man in Deep Thoughts and Mindfulness of Thoughts


Mindfulness of thoughts can help support our goal of improving our mental well-being and being a better version of ourselves. There are plenty of engaging exercises to practice this ability without judgment, and these will help us distinguish our thoughts and beliefs and assist us in building resilience towards anxiety, stress, and other consequences of poor mental health.

You can practice mindfulness exercises early in the morning or at night. Evidence shows that taking a few minutes every day and regularly meditating for eight weeks can help make a difference in your life and alter your brain for the better, so begin the journey today and don’t hesitate to let this practice be part of your daily life.

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