“In every job that must be done there is an element of fun – you find the fun and snap!  The job’s a game.  And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake, A lark! A spree! It’s very clear to see that……..A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down……..In a most delightful way”.

I heard this song yesterday afternoon on the radio and for the first time listened to the words that Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) sang and realised that in this happy sing-along tune there was a dose of mindfulness!  When we choose to look for the positive in challenging situations it can definitely help the “medicine go down in a most delightful way”.

Life is stressful and challenging for us as human beings, as a community, as a country, as a universe and it may be very difficult to find the positive in the present moment.  You may notice that your thoughts are of stress and rumination and you may in turn notice how they are affecting your moods and emotions. 

In mindfulness meditation we pay attention on purpose moment by moment, non-judgmentally, to the ever-changing conditions of our minds and the environmental distractions that constantly occur.

Bringing a mindful approach to our thoughts, learning to observe them from a different perspective can release us from the constant internal “story telling”.  “Stories” that can overwhelm and stress us, affecting how we feel and what we do.

So what if we learned to broaden our lens of awareness and allow our thoughts, both pleasant and unpleasant, to appear and disappear without conflict, struggle or harm?

A simple technique of naming or labelling thoughts can allow you to take a step back so you can view them from a different perspective before you let them go.  Labelling your thoughts does two things:

  1. It raises your awareness of the kinds of things you think about
  2. It gives your mind something to do while still maintaining the observer stance.  

But more importantly it breaks the cycle of rumination.

There are several different ways that you can label your thoughts but here are my favourites:

•   Useful / Not Useful – You can simply label whether a thought is helpful or not. This is a very simple distinction that can cover virtually all thoughts. Just label them “useful” or “not useful,” and let them go.

•   Types Of Thoughts – You can label your thoughts with greater depth by classifying them according to their function. Thoughts that can be labelled as “judgment,” “planning,” “fear,” and “remembering,” for example, may drift into your awareness. Label them, and let them go.

Mindful awareness of your thoughts will allow you to choose your “spoonful of sugar” and help you to remain positive and hopeful in times of crisis.