Allowing and Letting Be
Segal et al. (2002)

In previous sections of this skill module, you have been using mindfulness to focus on routine activities (such as walking, brushing teeth, washing dishes, showering etc.), and you also learned how to use your breath as a focus for attention.  It is important that before you try to use mindfulness as a way to cope with difficult situations, that you have first practiced mindfulness in everyday situations.

If this is the first mindfulness module that you have looked at, please return to the “Allowing and Letting Things Be” module menu, so that you can practice the basic skills of mindfulness before completing this module.

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When we have unpleasant thoughts or feelings, our natural instinct is to try to avoid them, usually by pushing them away and burying them deep inside. 

As you probably already know, this “pushing away” takes a lot of effort and energy.  And it doesn’t always work - thoughts and feeling keep popping up regardless of how many times we try to push them away.

Up until now, your mindfulness training has focussed on making you more aware of how your mind wanders from one thought to another, and how this keeps you in your “automatic pilot”. 

You have learned how to stop this from happening, by bringing your attention back to the present, either by paying attention to routine activities, such as walking, or by using your breath as a focus. 

The next step is to now learn how to use these skills to actually focus on unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  You will learn how to allow them to come, and to let them be - to accept they are there, without trying to push them away. 

Without really trying to change them, to latch onto them and worry about them, you will now learn how to let them come, and then watch them leave.

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Allowing and letting things be