How we relate to our thoughts has a big impact on how our day unfolds, and also how we approach triggers in our lives. By taking a few mindful moments, we can gain some space between us and our reactions, and have some freedom from what triggers us—we don’t have to respond the same way every time. It’s a practice in breaking our habitual negative responses by first tuning in to how a thought or action makes us feel, and how it generates certain storylines in our minds. We can step back for a moment and recognize: hey, that’s not a tried and true fact—it’s just a thought.
Try these three simple approaches over the weekend and see if you can work on changing your relationship certain patterns of thinking. Let your experience be your guide.
- Thought definition is - something that is thought: such as. How to use thought in a sentence. Synonym Discussion of thought.
- A subject matter or general area of interest. A loose or irregular train of thought. The faculty or activity of imagining change or innovative things or ideas. Any of many rhythmic fluctuations of electric potential between parts of the brain, especially those seen on an electroencephalogram.
Looking for Thought fonts? Click to find the best 4 free fonts in the Thought style. Every font is free to download!
1. Recognize the Thought: If the thought is I’m not good enough, life is never going to get better, or some form of complaining or blaming or something like that, take a moment to recognize that the thought is forming in your brain.
2. Relax the Body, Release the Thinking: When you’re experiencing negative thoughts, your body is also reacting. You’re going through some form of a fight-flight-freeze response, so take a moment to relax your body. Through mindful breathing, you can use the out-breath to release tension in your body, as well as any negative thinking. You can even imagine negative thoughts leaving your body with the out-breath.
3. Name a Positive: Now that you have a little space between you and your negative thoughts, consider for a moment: What’s actually good right now? What’s going on that’s good in life? Could it be that you’re safe, you’re body is working okay in this moment, you actually have some friends you can count on, you have a job—whatever it might be, see if you can name a few of those, recognize them, and also just linger in that a little bit.
Practice these three things over and over again as an experiment. What you practice and repeat starts to become more automatic.
Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is hosting an online course to help people fully integrate mindfulness into their lives in a deep way in order to realize more enduring change. The in-depth 6-month online course called A Course in Mindful Living . Sign up now to join a community of people growing in confidence, calm, compassion and a life you love.
Suzanne Ouimet writes:
I have written several books which are ‘dialogue driven’. What I am wondering is how to express my characters’ thoughts.
It gets a bit tiresome to keep saying something like ‘he thought to himself’. (who else would he be talking to anyway?)
I have also tried putting the character’s thoughts in italics or some other font. That too may be disruptive.
Anyone who writes fiction wrestles with the problem of how to convey a character’s inner dialogue without distracting from the flow of the story.
How not to do it
Setting off a character’s thoughts in quotation marks is a definite no-no. Such a technique is confusing to the reader. When we see quotation marks, we have the expectation that a character is speaking the words aloud.
Some writers and writer’s guides do use or recommend italics to designate thoughts, but the device is distracting to many readers.
Using a different font would make things worse.
As Suzanne points out, adding to himself to he thought is redundant.
How to do it
Sometimes it is necessary to use “he thought,” or “she wondered” to avoid confusion, but such tags can be used sparingly.
Here are some illustrations from Ellizabeth George’s mystery Deception on His Mind.
Teachingfont For Thought Definition
In an early scene, in which Rachel and Shalah are together, Rachel’s thoughts are conveyed without any tags through four paragraphs. Then, as Rachel watches Shalah, a tag becomes necessary:
Shalah made two more folds in the nappie and placed it on the pile at the end of the ironing board. She walked to the window and checked on her nephews. It seemed a needless thing to do, Rachel thought. They were sleeping like the dead.
When a character is alone, no tags are needed to convey unspoken thoughts.
Chapter 10 of George’s novel begins with internal dialog:
When she’d first made her escape from the jewellery shop, Rachel had only one destination in mind. She knew that she had to do something to mitigate the uneasy situation in which her actions had placed Sahlah, not to mention herself. The problem was that she wasn’t sure what that something might be. She knew only that she had to act at once.
Teaching Font For Thought Writing
This internal dialog continues without tags for about five pages before another character appears. In one place in her internal musings, Rachel recalls the words of a salesman. George puts the recalled words in quotation marks:
She didn’t want to think of the flat. “Our very last one,” the salesman had called it…
The Marshall Plan
In his writing guide, Evan Marshall does recommend using italics to convey thought. I don’t agree with this particular piece of advice, but overall, Marshall’s guide is one of my writing bibles.
If you’re not familiar with The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing, check it out. The cover copy bills it as “a 16-step program guaranteed to take you from idea to completed manuscript.”
In “Step 11,” Marshall talks about how to convey feelings, thoughts, and back story without slowing down the reader.
Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily!
Keep learning! Browse the Fiction Writing category, check our popular posts, or choose a related post below:
Stop making those embarrassing mistakes! Subscribe to Daily Writing Tips today!
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!