Becoming “the watcher” of your mind is necessary in gaining self-awareness. It means you are able to separate yourself from your thoughts and simply observe without being a part of the story you’re telling yourself.
It is especially helpful for busy moms feeling overwhelmed. When you’re feeling stressed and your mind is running crazy fast, it’s easy to feel out of control. Stepping outside of that chaos as “the watcher” can bring it all back in perspective in a matter of seconds.
This is a skill, and therefore takes practice. It can be awkward and strange at first, and that is part of the process.
Here are three components I found helpful when watching my own thoughts.
It is important that you see your thoughts through a non-judgemental lense. Remember you are not your thoughts – you are simply watching them. There is nothing wrong with having “negative” thoughts. It only means that you’re human.
Don’t tell yourself what you should or shouldn’t be thinking. We all have the good and the bad, that’s part of life. So when you are observing your thoughts, just be curious about it all.
Writing everything down on paper is a good way to slow it down and see everything, especially when you’re overwhelmed. If journaling feels awkward to you (like it did for me at first), I recommend setting a timer for 3-10 minutes, gradually adding more minutes over time, and requiring yourself to write that entire time. No matter what it is, get everything that comes in your head on the paper.
Afterwards, you my want to look through the thoughts to pick out what are indisputable facts versus the ideas you have about the facts. That is where you can see what you are creating. It doesn’t mean you need to change anything about the way you think, but it can help you gain perspective on your circumstances.
When we are in our own head, it is so easy to believe the stories we tell ourselves. It feels like we can’t help the way we feel, believe or think. As you practice listening to your thoughts, don’t assume any of it to be true.
Ask yourself why you believe what you do; how someone else might see it differently and why; what if you’re wrong; why are you choosing to think what you’re thinking.
Again, it doesn’t mean you have to change anything about what you think, but using this skill of “the watcher” means you are objectively seeing what your mind does. Our human brains run through about 60,000 thoughts a day whether or not we monitor them. Think of all the power we are giving up if we don’t use those thoughts intentionally.