Do you believe everything your mind tells you? If so:

  • how many disasters has your mind warned you against that never happened?
  • how many things have gone wrong that your mind neglected to warn you about?
  • how often has your mind told you to be angry about something that really didn’t matter in the scheme of things – or to be afraid of something that turned out perfectly well?

Mindfulness changes our relationship with experience and a chattering mind is an ever-present experience for most of us.

The insight that I don’t have to believe everything my mind tells me has been a liberating aspect of mindfulness for me.

This is especially so when my mind is telling me I ought to be upset, angry or fearful about something that I will have forgotten in an hour’s time. My mind also creates all sorts of hobgoblins about the future but the fact is I haven’t a clue what the future will be like. And that applies whether that future is in a couple of hours’ time or a couple of decades’ time.

A certain amount of planning is, of course, sensible – but the hobgoblins don’t help with that anyway. Once again, reminding myself that I don’t have to believe everything my mind tells me helps me to plan for the future without drama.

Next time you feel yourself getting uptight about something, remind yourself that you don’t have to believe everything your mind tells you. Move at least some of your attention onto your breathing or onto whatever is happening in the world outside our head and experience the effect.