If you've been practicing mindfulness for a little while, you've probably noticed that negative emotions and difficult experiences begin to act as a sort of mindfulness bell that brings you back to your immediate experience.

A key part of this process is becoming grounded in body sensations. Often we think of difficult emotions like fear, anger, and sadness as being states of mind, yet, looking beyond the stream of thoughts, they are largely composed of sensations in the body. If we are not mindful of them, those sensations (such as the tension and heart-pounding accompanying stress) can seem to make those thoughts more believable. It's a lot like how background  music can make a speech seem so much more powerful. 

Becoming grounded in the body is like just learning to listen to that music in itself, and not let it carry you away with the content of the speech. So, the next time you find yourself in the grip of some negative emotions, try to look past the thoughts and become grounded in your body; note what sensations are taking place, where abouts, and with what intensity, like a composer listening to a piece of music. Does it change your experience? This can be a fascinating practice to experiment with, and can help you unhook from the spell of a charged thought.

Ollie Bray