Creating inner calm by letting go of thoughts

toy train ABCsHow many times have you woken up late in the morning and within seconds your thought train has charged out of the station? Soon it may have arrived at “If I’m late, I’m going to get fired!” or “I’m such a loser.” It’s amazing the conclusions your thoughts can create from the one simple fact that you woke up late!

When you find yourself pushed and pulled by thoughts, recall what we teach in SHINE — that “It’s Just a Thought!”  

Mindfulness helps us be more attentive to how our thoughts can disconnect from our present moment reality. Only when we are aware of them can we choose to let the thoughts go. As we recognize they are simply transient electrical impulses in our brain and not our actual experience, they lose their power over us.

Try this the next time you are fretting over what didn’t go the way you planned, or frozen in fear about what could happen:

  • Notice the thoughts spinning in your mind;
  • Take a deep, conscious breath and focus on your present moment experience: sensations in your body, what you can hear, smell or see;
  • Notice if there is any connection between the sensations you are experiencing and the thought train you had been riding;
  • Remember you can choose whether you want to stay on the thought train… or move your attention to a more useful, kind and skillful thought.

In that moment of realizing you have woken up late, you can choose to take a breath, notice your present moment experience, and put your energy into what needs your attention in THIS moment. There is no need to ride the thought train into worrying and catastrophizing about what MIGHT happen later. Remember, YOU can choose what kind of relationship you want to have with your thoughts.

To what one breath can do,


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