NAMING / LABELING
When: when your thoughts are overwhelming, ruminating, intrusive, taking too much space
Why: You are capable of observing, naming and taking some distance from your thoughts. Once you observe the quality of your thoughts, you can take some space from them, you can disidentify from the thought. It’s really helpful to observe the quality of the thoughts, the kind of thoughts, or just even observe that we have thinking going on.
- Notice the thought – for example: ‘”Oh, I am having a thought…”
- Watch the quality – fast, slow, repetitive, ruminating, etc
- Name the thought – for example: “doubting thought, critical thought”
- You can ask: what does that thought want or need from me? What purpose could it be serving?
- Observe the nature of the thought: Does this sound like someone from my past? Who? Where did I learn to think like this? Watch what happens to the thoughts when you trace them to the past?
REDIRECTING ATTENTION TO THE BODY
When: when your thoughts are overwhelming, ruminating, taking too much space, when you want a break from your thoughts
Why: You can pendulate between a thought and a resting place in the body. All you need to do is resource yourself in your body, finding a place that feels good, open, flowing, available. Once you have that, move your attention from your thoughts to a place in your body that feels ok.
If you prefer not to redirect to the body, you can open up to the environment around you and notice what is supportive to look at in your environment.
Remember pendulation is about creating a rhythm where rhythm is lacking – it’s not about simply distracting yourself, it’s about creating the environment for your attention to move from one experience to another, so that the energy moves and then you don’t get stuck.