For whatever reason, we all have times in our life when our thoughts and our feelings can get away from us and we can feel as if we don’t have quite the level of control that we would like. Although this is a normal part of the human condition, it doesn’t mean that we need to simply accept it. There are a few things we can do to get back on top of our brains! Here are six steps you can take to regain some of the control you crave.
01. Try Counseling (or a psychologist)
Counselling is a great way to begin to take control of your life, there isn’t the stigma today that there once was. If you are feeling like your thoughts are getting on to of you then this is probably something you should try. Especially if you aren’t sure what has caused the change in your thought patterns or if you have tried a few things and it hasn’t been working out for you.
Some professionals like John Arber will even do it over Skype, so you don’t even need to physically go and see someone. A counselor’s job is to work with you to try and change your thoughts and, or behaviours so that you can lead a more healthy life. If that sounds like something you might want you should act now and don’t allow your difficulties to become any more severe.
02. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a way of thinking that when mastered can help calm you down in a pinch but it requires practice. For it to work when your thoughts are whizzing by you need to have mastered it when you are already reasonably calm. The idea is to rid your mind of all thoughts except those which concern the exact moment you are in.
You concentrate on the data your senses are noticing and forget about past trouble or future concerns. When other thoughts intrude you don’t give them a moral value (good or bad). You can do this for as little or as much time as you like as long as you bring the practice into your daily life.
03. The Teflon Mind Trick
This is similar to mindfulness but instead of focusing on the present moment, you simply allow your thoughts to happen. You again don’t think of them as good or bad you just notice them and notice how you feel about them. Then (and this is the hard part) you let them pass, you do not dwell on or judge the thoughts you just let them go, as if they are slipping off a non-stick surface. This exercise is can take work, but it is a healthy way of examining thoughts without getting bogged down in them or becoming over-emotional.
04. Stop Or Divert Thought Loops
When your thoughts are starting to loop or you are in a situation where it is inappropriate to deal with the thoughts you are having you can try to put them aside for the time being. You can do this one of two ways. Firstly you can firmly tell yourself to stop and actively think about something else very specific. Or alternatively you can divert the thought with a behaviour, for example every time you feel as if you are getting stuck in a loop you can go for a quick run, or do some star jumps..
05. Write it Out
If you chose to use the stop or diversion techniques it is important to know that this is not actually dealing with the thoughts so it is not a permanent solution. Be sure to write down the thoughts and feelings associated so you can address them later, either by yourself or with a friend or therapist.
06. Modify Behaviour
If the problems you are facing are ongoing there are behaviour you can introduce or reduce to promote overall well being and you may find improvement that way. Some general activities that help with stress are:
- Regular physical activity
- Adding more structure to your day via scheduling
You can also learn to avoid unnecessarily triggering the thoughts that are problematic.
For example, if you always find yourself struggling when you see a certain person in your life, it is okay to reduce or cut contact with that person.
There are always things to be done if you are feeling like your thoughts are controlling you and not the other way around and hopefully this list has given you a good place to start.