How to control your thoughts

How to control your thoughts is a very important topic, as thoughts have a huge impact on the reality of your life for a number of reasons.

Thoughts form the basis of beliefs, create emotions, influence the actions you take and the decisions you make, develop into parts of your mindset, and attract circumstances of a similar nature through Law of Attraction.  

Wow! That is a lot of power to accredit to an invisible form that many of us don’t even pay much attention to.

when thoughts seem to control you

Unless you learn how to control your thoughts, chances are that it will feel as if they are controlling you.

How often do you hear phrases like “My mind is running away with me,” or “This situation is messing with my head”?

These statements make it sound as if your mind is in control of you, or that the situation is in control of your mind.

While this is a common feeling, it is not accurate, as thoughts and situations can only have the power over you that you give them.

You are probably not consciously deciding to give power to thoughts of worry or fear, but allowing the thoughts to continue unchecked allows them to hold power.

Learning how to control your thoughts step by step

1.       Being aware

The first step in learning how to control your thoughts is to become more aware of your habits and patterns of thought. Notice what you tend to think at different times of the day, and which type of situations trigger certain types of thoughts. It can be helpful to write down some of these observations, as your thoughts become clearer and you become more of a detached observer. Thoughts can be fascinating when they are not pulling you into an emotional web.  

2.       Questioning the thoughts

Once you have identified some key areas of habitual thought, a really big step in learning how to control your thoughts is to question the validity and results of the thoughts that you have recognized.

A wonderful process for doing this is Byron Katie’s method called “The Work”. What this involves is simply naming a thought, and then asking yourself the following four questions about the thought:  

·  Question 1: Is it true?

·  Question 2: Can you absolutely know it's true?

·  Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought?

·  Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?

3.       Deciding whether or not you want to keep the thoughts

Once you have investigated your thoughts by using a process of questioning, it will be clearer to you whether they are thoughts that are beneficial to you or not.

You might have thoughts that you often think, such as “I am so fortunate to live in this beautiful city,” which are clearly thoughts that feel good. When a thought feels good to you, I strongly encourage you to keep thinking it. Good-feeling thoughts have the immediate plus of making you feel good while you think them (duh!), and also create a lot of other benefits such as increased optimism and confidence, and helping you harness the power of the Law of Attraction to your advantage.

You will be able to recognize some other thoughts that are obviously less helpful to you. Thoughts like “I’m never going to find a job I love,” have the exact opposite effects of good-feeling thoughts. These negative thoughts feel awful to think, encourage a more pessimistic and less motivated outlook, and engage with Law of Attraction in attracting more thoughts and circumstances which match the initial negative thoughts. Deciding which list to put these thoughts should be a no-brainer!

The Law of Attraction is a powerful Universal principle. It states that things with a similar energy are drawn to each other. In other words, like attracts like. This means that if you have consistently doubtful habits of thought, more things will occur in your life that confirm and help to continue the feeling of doubt. By practicing thoughts of hope or optimism, you allow Law of Attraction to bring you things that are a match to these more positive emotions.

4.       Consciously choosing thoughts

The next step in learning how to control your thoughts is to decide what thoughts you want to think in various areas.

Would you like to believe in abundance or scarcity? Do you want to see yourself as an evolving being, or as someone stuck in a rut?

In every area of your life, you can decide what type of thoughts you would like to think. Just don’t expect to jump instantly to thinking these thoughts, especially if you have been in the habit of thinking the opposite.

Moving towards thinking the thoughts of your choosing is not only an incremental process, but a life-long one as well. Like being physically fit, you can’t just exercise for a few months and then expect to stay fit for life. You have to keep exercising. You also have to keep training your thoughts as you move through varying life experiences.

5.       Training yourself to replace old thoughts with new ones

Although in step 3, you decided that there are certain thoughts that you no longer wish to keep thinking, there is no “delete” button in your mind. You can’t just decide to stop thinking a thought and be done with it. You need to record over the unwanted thought by gradually replacing it with an increasingly more positive version.

6.       Practicing “no thought” through times of quiet or meditation

A very helpful practice for how to control your thoughts is to incorporate periods of mental stillness through any type of meditative practice. Whether you listen to a guided meditation, watch the flickering of a flame, or doing something more active like walking while counting your breaths, this trains your mind to become clearer and more receptive.

final words

As you focus on the importance of training your mind, and begin understanding how to control your thoughts, keep reminding yourself to be patient and persistent.

You may have been letting your thoughts control you for many years, and it is going to take time and effort to learn new habits.

The important thing is though, that you do have the power to control your own thoughts, and in fact it really is the only thing that you can control. However, it is enough, as your thoughts are powerful!

In the words of Debasish Mridha, “Bad news is that you can control nothing but your thoughts. Good news is that with your thoughts you can control everything else.”

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