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Healthy Mind – Control your Thoughts

Mind

Don't let your mind control your thoughts. You need to be in control. Below are seven strategies to help you control your thoughts to have a healthy state of mind.

Mind

Our mind does not often switch off (and, by the way, that is a good thing!) We think, and we think a lot. This is something we do naturally, and I want to focus on this as it is critical for you to learn how to control your thoughts as opposed to your thoughts controlling you.

What happens when something happens? You start thinking, right?, and when that something is bad, you start thinking bad, right?

We get a thought, and then another one, and then another one, and it is a continuous process. And, it happens over and over again, like a race track. Worrying is a common behaviour; even according to the Wikipedia definition, a small amount is healthy as it prompts us to take precautions (e.g., fastening your seat belt).

BUT:
What happens when your thoughts are keeping you awake?
What happens when your thoughts are keeping you in a state of fear?
What happens when your thoughts are negative, repetitive, distorted, and intrusive?

Simply put, there are destructive; they affect you, they impact your results, and your success. All starts with your thoughts.

And, I want to focus on these moments. Those moments, where we become addicted to our thoughts, addicted to our negative thoughts, and we obsess, we worry, we live in fear, we stay awake… Can you relate?

Here are my top strategies to overcome this. Remember, we can interrupt any of our behaviours; we are powerful, our mind is our best asset and we can learn how to control it for the best, and these strategies will help you interrupt this behaviour, and have a positive impact on your life.

Each of these strategies work, when, and only when, you apply them. You might like one better than the other, and by applying them all, you will find out which one is the best fit for you; this will be an individual choice. Also, you might do one after the other, and stack them, till you reach that positive and happy place.

So, a negative thought comes in…

You can ignore it; although, I would not suggest it, as this means you are not dealing with it, and suppressing it, does not make it disappear, and you are still letting it hold space, and control you.

When you start obsessing and looping, face, and apply these seven “S…” strategies to interrupt that behaviour:
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Stop
You are the boss, so as simple as this sounds, the first thing you can do is to send a command to yourself, say Stop (STOP!). A direct command, given with a firm order tone, will interrupt the behaviour, like stopping you in your track.

Swap
You can replace a negative thought by a positive one; I like to do a double swap, so, not only swap one for another one, but swap one for 2 other ones. Keep a list of positive, happy, healthy, constructive thoughts, and swap away.

Store / Share
You can store it AND this is only half of the strategy; remember, you do not want to store it, as in ignore it, you want to store it, and re-access later, by sharing it with a supportive person: a friend, a colleague, a coach, a mentor. Someone with an outside perspective, an objective one, who will help you move forward.

Switch
You can do something else: call a friend, watch a movie, go for a walk, a run… there are so many things you can do; here you want to select an activity that you can do straight away, once the negative thought comes in.

Shhh
You can go to sleep or meditate, to free your mind; you can either meditate on your own, in silence, or have your favourite music on, or thanks to a relaxation cd /track or, a visualisation, guiding you to think of something else and relax.

Speculate
This comes from Dale Carnegie, who said in his ‘How To Stop Worrying And Start Living' book, “First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.” So, ask, accept and proceed.

Scribe
You can start writing; from head to paper, write about what you are thinking to free your thinking place. Whatever is it that you are thinking as long as it stays in your head, it is a jumbo-mumbo mess (!), so write it down; and write it exactly as you are thinking it.

 

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