Conversation 2: Action & Experience versus Thought & Emotion

Thank your Mind

Listen to this section as audio, or read below.

Thank your Mind – a recording of Julian McNally (4:27 min)

(“Thank your Mind” by RMIT Counselling and Psychological Services, Six ACT* Conversations, RMIT University is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

The fifth exercise is called Thank your Mind.

Exercise 5: Thank Your Mind

This is simply the process of thanking your mind for its thoughts.

As soon as you recognise a thought, you just say to yourself, “Thank you, Mind.

Of course you can say it out loud if you wish, but since you’re talking with your mind, there’s no real need to.

It’s time for you to practise this one. Let yourself have thoughts and Thank Your Mind for each one.

[PAUSE – 1 minute]

Were you able to do that?

Person viewing vista
Photo by Anthony Tori on Unsplash

Many people find this easier than the more intense and focused exercises like Thoughts On The Highway.

This exercise is especially useful for what I call fishhook thoughts. Fishhook thoughts are thoughts that pop into your mind like those annoying advertisements on some websites. They look like they won’t go away until you click on them. Like a fat juicy worm on a baited fishhook, they are just begging you to take them in and digest them – to obsess over them, worry about them or fantasise about them.

An example would be when you’re sitting down to study and turn off your phone so you won’t be disturbed – and then 20 minutes later the thought pops up, “Hey, I wonder what Kim’s doing tonight? I’ll just send a quick text and see what’s up.

Once you have that thought, it seems to demand that you turn on the phone and send that text.

Instead, try thanking your mind and returning to the study.

When I suggested that just now, did your mind say, “That won’t work! That thought will just keep coming back.“?

Yes, it probably will.

Anyone who’s done some fishing knows you don’t just give up and go home the first time a fish ignores your bait – your mind will keep tempting you to pay attention to what it thinks is important.

If you’ve completed Conversation 1 – where I asked you to not think about the obstacle – just like that, your mind is going to continue to present that thought to you.

Each time that happens, if you gently Thank Your Mind and return your attention to what you consider important – guess what?

You get to swim away to wherever you want to go, rather than being stuck struggling on the end of a line with a hook in your mouth.


Share This Book