When we are being mindful, it is very important to realize the importance of being able to Describe what is going inside your mind. I liken it to “thinking about your thinking” or simply commentating what you are telling yourself. Every one of us has conversations inside our heads; where we decide what we are going to do next or trying to figure what we just saw. When I ask my clients how often they think about their thinking, I mainly get a blank look back at me with a response of “what do you mean?”
The first step in learning how to describe your thoughts is thinking of yourself like a commentator during a football game. The announcer will see what is happening and will commentate what just happened to the viewer (i.e. Montana drops back to pass). When you are commentating on your thoughts, call a thought a thought, a feeling a feeling, and a physical sensation a physical sensation. For instance, if you suddenly become hungry, you say to yourself ” I just had a thought that I am hungry; I know I am hungry because I also have a physical sensation that my stomach is growling and my mouth is salivating”.
This process accomplishes several things. First, it allows you to start becoming more cognizant and mindful of what is going through your mind. But secondly, it also helps slow down our mental processes. If our thought processes are a shade slower, then we are able to identify what we are think when we feel a particular way as well as identifying our thoughts before we take an action. I always explain to parents of children with ADHD that their children act impulsively because they do not think before they act. the thought processes are happening too quickly; mindfulness helps slow down that process so they begin to have the ability to have forethought or thinking before they act. if a person thinks before they act, then they have the ability to decide whether or not their planned action is a good idea.
Furthermore, many clients do not know why they feel the way they do. When I ask several of my clients why they are sad, they often answer that they have no idea. Mastering the step of Describing will help those clients think more about their thought processes and allow them to become privy to cognitions and thought patterns that they did not pay attention to previously. If a client knows the distressing thoughts that are causing them to feel sad, angry, anxious, etc., then they are able to utilize techniques to change their thinking.