How many times have you felt frustrated with yourself for your inability to control your thoughts?
Most of us face this situation often enough in our lives.
You know that your thoughts are not the right kind and they are disturbing your peace of mind. And if you allow it to continue like that it may affect your physical health as well.
You just want to find a way to stop thinking about something but the more you try the more present and near they are.
Don’t you hate that feeling of helplessness? Can you stop thinking about someone or something?
The good news is that there are mental exercises available for you to achieve this. This article lists exercises you can use to regain control over your thoughts and thereby your overall wellbeing.
Why do you ruminate on negative events?
When you come across a difficult or undesirable situation, it triggers negative thoughts in you. It is natural to dwell on the issue to figure out a solution. If you have a positive mindset, it won’t take much time to do this and move on.
If you are suffering from a negative mentality, this would become a never-ending process. You are unsatisfied with any of the available solutions. You will be more focused on unnecessary things and how they can go wrong rather than find solutions and make them right.
If you have OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), the situation can easily get out of hand. The basic nature of the thoughts is obsessive. Often, they are unwanted and distressing thoughts.
At times, negative thoughts are triggered by health issues, sleep deprivation, tiredness, stress, or even hunger.
You ruminate on negative thoughts to figure out a solution. Or when you are expecting things to go wrong and want to avoid the consequences. It can be just a force of habit or due to mental illness.
Can you stop thoughts and make them disappear?
The simple answer is, yes, you can. There are very few things that you have complete control over in your life. One of them is your thoughts. It may not be easy but definitely doable.
There are many ways you can get your mind off something, forget something scary, and steer your mind away from negative thoughts. A technique known as thought stopping is very effective for some people in some instances. It involves telling yourself “Stop!” and learning to stop the thought abruptly. It is like trying to shut your mind off.
This method has its advantages and disadvantages. It can make the negative thought go away in an instant and reduce further damage. All other methods involve influencing the mind to change thoughts. And this is going to take some time.
However, thought stopping has its downside as well. Suppressing thoughts, especially of the negative kind, is not an easy exercise to master. The more you try, the more they come back with a vengeance. Even if you succeed, they may remain dormant in your mind and pop back at a later date. This means you will have to deal with them again.
Here are some exercises for the mind that can help you get rid of those negative thoughts.
6 Mind exercises to stop bad thoughts
One of the most effective strategies to steer your mind away from undesirable thoughts, distraction can be achieved both mentally and physically.
Physical distractions produce better results but not always possible due to various limitations. Exercising, dancing, playing music, or any hobby will do the trick. Clearing clutter or rearranging furniture or cooking new dishes are all considered excellent distractions.
Mental distractions involve thinking about an unrelated yet compelling matter or talking to a friend. Solving a puzzle, planning your next vacation, listening to music, or watching a movie can help your mind change track. The idea is to do something unrelated to the thoughts you want to get rid of.
Some people find it hard to erase thoughts as they need something to occupy their minds. In this scenario, the best solution would be to rewrite the negative thoughts into positive or neutral ones.
Instead of going around in circles with the same thoughts, process them, get to the root of the thoughts, and try to find a resolution. Asking yourself questions may help. “What do these thoughts mean to me?” “What do I want?” “How can I make it happen?”
Remind yourself that you are in charge and you and only you can decide what you are thinking. You can decide to not allow them to affect you. Just remember that these are merely thoughts and not facts. You can always choose to ignore them and stop worrying.
3. Write them down and destroy
Writing things down brings more clarity and purpose for some people. When something sad is troubling you, you can sit down with a paper and pen and pour your heart out. Don’t bother about grammar or spelling. Write them down as the thoughts appear in your mind.
This exercise is cathartic. It helps in cleansing your mind of the negative thoughts plaguing it. Once you have finished writing down every single one of those thoughts, fears, anxieties, and repercussions, you may burn the paper or tear it up or flush it down the toilet.
Destruction of the written word translates to the destruction of the thoughts you want to be eliminated.
4. Talk about it
This is an age-old remedy for negative thinking. When you feel your mind cannot take it anymore, venting your feelings to someone you can trust helps. You feel as if you have found a release to the pressure that had been burdening and weighing heavily on your mind.
Talking to another person may give a different perspective to the problem that has been troubling you. When you look at the same problem from another angle, the solution may be obvious.
After all, a worry shared is a worry halved. By talking to a friend, you can get the load off your mind.
5. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a meditation technique that requires you to focus on the moment without judgment or evaluating the meaning of your thoughts. You need to immerse yourself in your surroundings and during the process forget about everything else.
This exercise is hard to master and needs practice. However, once you gain expertise in the mindfulness exercise, it can serve you well forever. You can choose to empty your mind or change the channel or just ignore the negative thoughts.
6. Seek professional help
If negative thoughts are persisting even after repeated attempts and impacting your everyday life, you should not hesitate to reach out for professional help. Not all thoughts are harmless negative thoughts that can be stopped with self-care. Before it causes serious harm, seek help. A therapist would be able to help you get rid of them.
A logical approach may help some deal with their unwanted thoughts. Ask yourself questions like “Are these thoughts important?” or “Are these thoughts related to my goals?” or “Will they affect my life?”. If the answers to these questions are no, it would be easier to convince your mind that the thoughts are unnecessary and a waste of your time.
Finding the triggers to negative thoughts and eliminating or replacing them may be helpful. The earlier you realize that your thoughts can be controlled, the better. After all, you should know that you cannot control situations or people.