Tara Brach and Sticky Thoughts

Jan 13, 2023
Sticky Thoughts are like Sticky Bees

Tara Brach, the author and meditation teacher, describes habitual ways of thinking that don’t serve you as “sticky thoughts.” They’re the habitual thoughts that don’t help you but stick to you – they’re on repeat. These are usually thoughts that are driven by strong emotions such as self-loathing, self-doubt, or imposter syndrome, or it could also be something you’re experiencing that feels unfair, or you are blaming someone else. She describes the most persistent of these habitual unhelpful thoughts as your “top ten hits.” These thoughts pester you, even though often they’re not even true. When you notice one of your top ten hits, what to do? The first is to notice the thought without judgment. You can even bring humor and patience to it. Where do you feel that associated feeling in your body? When you notice one of these, you can label the thought: “top ten hit” or “oh, there’s one of my sticky thoughts.”

See if you can make a list of your top ten hits. Once you’ve written them down, can you notice what they evoke in your body? Play around with quieting the judgment and remaining curious as you practice labeling these sticky thoughts throughout the day. Over time this practice of noticing and labeling can help alleviate the sting of these habitual thoughts and help you to quiet your mind and your body.

See what you think!