14. Some Tips For Thought Control
Have you ever tried not thinking? Try it now. For 15 seconds just don’t think
. . . Hard isn’t it ?
In fact it is one of the hardest things to do. As long as you are awake you are always thinking about something. The thoughts are just a constant stream flowing through your mind.
It’s even more difficult to not think about something specific. Because as soon as you warn yourself to not think about something or someone, your mind will go there and stay on it / them.
And thoughts provoke emotions which lead to actions. And negative thoughts arising out of anger, sadness, envy, anxiety, worry etc. lead to negative emotions and self detrimental actions.
If you are angry in the morning, you carry that feeling throughout large part of the day (let’s face it we do carry thoughts and emotions from home to office and office to home). I do that all the time.
So if you take those thoughts with you, the emotions attached to that eventually make you take an action you might regret later. Like snapping at someone or saying something lamentable.
On the other hand if you are very happy, the feel goodness might make you push towards saying yes to something you would otherwise say no to.
And there could be many examples like these where your thoughts can control your actions. In effect controlling you and your future.
And of course we can never control the stream of thoughts and what thoughts arrive - we have already tried that.
Renowned sports psychologist Dr. Bhishmaraj Bam says -
When someone is visiting you, You open the door and if you don’t identify them or know them you don’t let them in. If they are your friends you take them to your kitchen even but if they are stranger you shut the door on them without a single moment wasted.
Thoughts however don’t knock on the door - You only realize their arrival after they have already occupied your mind and have taken control.
He later says - You have to build a solid wall around your mind - that only welcomes the thoughts you want.
In fact he explains how to do that - as soon as you encounter a negative / unwelcome thought in your mind. Do these two things
- Focus on your breathing viz. Make yourself aware that you are breathing - say that out loud if you need to - “I am breathing” - take a couple of breaths while being in this state - This brings you to the present immediately
- Now that you are in the present - focus your attention to what you are doing right now and if you are doing nothing shift your attention / focus to a positive thought.
He concludes “Anybody who can live in the present - is an achiever”
And that brings me to the quote for today - You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.
Dan Millman is an American author. He was also a world champion gymnast. He has written several books targeting personal development. He is also attributed with powerful quotes like
The journey is what brings us happiness not the destination.
And now for the picture behind the quote. I clicked this one at a fair - Thoughts are like balloons always floating around. You cannot control their existence but you can try to make sure that they don’t control yours.
Thanks for reading through,