Quite often we find ourselves with many negative thoughts going through our mind. These trains of thoughts can become very powerful as we endlessly repeat them in our mind. The problem is that that the more we focus on the thoughts, the more powerful they become. Therefore, it can become very difficult to stop these endless cycles of thoughts.
However, it is definitely possible and these are a few tips to control our thoughts.
1. Make a conscious decision to Stop the thoughts
The problem is that sometimes we attach ourselves to certain ideas and problems, and we subconsciously get a kind of pleasure from going through a certain problem / issue. If we subconsciously keep inviting the thoughts, we will never be able to stop them. Therefore, the first stage is to make a clear and conscious decision to stop the repetition of the thoughts. Be aware of their negative impact and don’t allow them to come any more. This conscious step is an indispensable stage in controlling our thoughts.
2. Look upon the Thoughts as being Outside of yourself.
When we first try to stop the thoughts, it seems very difficult because they feel such a strong part of our mind. Therefore, the second stage is to feel that the thoughts are separate to our self. When a thought appears in your mind, look upon the thought as coming from outside yourself. This is a very powerful way to reduce the impact of thoughts on our mind. Once we realise our thoughts are separate to ourselves it becomes possible to stop them.
3. Who is it who listens to thoughts?
This is a technique to try and discover the origination of your thoughts. Whenever a thought appears, just ask yourself, who is it who is thinking this? What we do is to try and discover the source of thoughts. Through asking this question we realise that there is an “I” which can decide to accept or reject thoughts. By asking this question we will be able to stop the thoughts as soon as they enter. You are not a victim of your own thoughts, it is you who either rejects or gives life to thoughts.
4. Catch thoughts as soon as they appear.
This exercise requires a determined effort on our part. We need to be vigilant and watch every thought that enters our mind. As soon as we see a negative thought enter, we must immediately discard it and refuse to follow it. The more we follow thoughts, the more difficult it becomes to stop them later. Therefore, it is best to catch them as soon as possible.
5. Concentrate on Something else.
If we have a train of thoughts which have gained a stranglehold over our mind, the best solution is often to just try and do something completely different. Don’t just sit around, go and do something which gives you no opportunity to ruminate over your thoughts. By doing this we ignore the thoughts completely, and they lose there hold over us.
“Wrong thoughts are inside us just because we identify ourselves with these thoughts. If we identify with something else, immediately they have to leave us.”
Meditation is the best way to learn how to control our thoughts. Meditation involves the art of concentration and quietening the mind. In meditation we not only try to control our thoughts but we also can bring to the fore our inner qualities of peace and oneness. If we can invoke the calming power of our own heart, then we use an alternative force to take the place of the negative mind.
“The mind has its own power, and right now this power is stronger than your present eagerness and determination to meditate. But if you can get help from your heart, then gradually you will be able to control your mind. The heart, in turn, gets constant assistance from the soul, which is all light and all power.”
We should meditate every day so that we can bring to the fore as much as peace as possible into our mind. If we only meditate when we are overrun with thoughts, we will find meditation very difficult. But, if we gain peace of mind through our daily meditation then we develop our inner capacities to control our thoughts.
There are times when we must go through negative situations. Maybe people say something negative about us, or they show rejection or even resentment against us. In such situations, it may be difficult to stay positive. We may be inclined to react negatively to them. That won’t do us any good though; doing so will just make the situation worse. People may behave even more negatively to us. Our day would be filled with anger and disappointment. At the end, nobody wins.
Though it’s not easy, it’s important to stay positive in negative situations. Beat the negative situations by staying positive. Here are 15 tips on how to do it; pick the ones that work for you:
1) Never respond when you are not calm. If you are not sure that you are calm, don’t respond. Take time to calm yourself down first.
2) Take a deep breath as a first step to calm yourself down.
3) Speak in gentle tone to reduce the tension of the situation.
4) Realize that you can find opportunities in negative situations. Albert Einstein said: “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.”
5) Look at the content of what people say to you for something positive that you can act upon to improve yourself. Don’t just reject the whole messages.
6) For the rest of the messages which is negative, simply ignore it.
7) Maintain positive view of the people. Maybe you don’t like their messages or behavior, but that doesn’t mean that you can hate them personally.
8) Realize that having negative feelings will just hurt you, not them. So there is no reason for you to have any negative feeling.
9) If you make mistakes, be open to admit it.
10) If you make mistakes, remember this quote by George Bernard Shaw: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
11) If you can, listen to motivational audio program to feed positive thoughts into your mind.
12) Talk to a positive friend who can encourage you.
13) Remember your favorite quotes to give you inspiration and motivation. This is one reason why you should have quote of the day.
14) Look at the negative situations as your training sessions for real life. The higher you climb in life, the worse the negative situations would be, so you’d better be prepared for them.
15) Realize that you can’t please everyone. In fact, nobody can. Sometimes you need to just let some people go. Realizing this will relieve you from a lot of unnecessary burden so that you can focus on the people that you can positively interact with.
Is it possible to avoid depression? What is the secret of cultivating happiness and avoiding periods of unhappiness? To a large extent, we determine our own frame of mind; we shouldn’t feel that we are a helpless victim to depression. Depression is something that we can avoid by cultivating the opposite – happiness.
Here are some tips for avoiding depression
1. Offer goodwill to Others.
If we seek to make others miserable how can we expect to be happy ourselves? If we offer goodwill to other people this creates a powerful positive energy. Focusing on other people’s good qualities can definitely help improve our own state of mind. There is a principle that what we give out, we get back. Therefore, by offering positive energy to, at some time, we will also be the recipient.
2. Learn to Detach from Thoughts
Thoughts play a very significant role in determining our state of mind. If we pursue negative thoughts then we give them greater power and influence over our state of being. However, it is possible to decide which thoughts to allow and which to reject. We have to learn to be vigilant and prevent negative thoughts from taking hold. As soon as we become aware of negative thoughts we should let go of them. We can imagine that we are throwing them out of our mind into a cosmic dustbin.
3. Keep Busy.
If we struggle to detach from negative thoughts we should just throw ourselves into other activities. When we get involved in other activities that we enjoy it takes us out of ourselves. Activity forces us to do something constructive, and does not allow us to dwell on our depressed state of mind.
4. Avoid Feelings of guilt.
If we have made a mistake, harbouring feelings of guilt will not help alleviate the situation. In particular, we are seeking to avoid feelings of guilty for minor events of no significance. Often we have done nothing wrong, but, others seek to make us feel guilty for their bad fortune. Instead of feeling guilty we should seek to concentrate on doing the right thing.
5. Live a Balanced Life.
In life we need to make room for different aspects. If we focus all our time and energy on work then we will have no time for relaxation and cultivating other aspects of our life. If we pursue an unbalanced life unhappiness is more likely to occur.
6. Don’t Base your Happiness solely on other people.
If we expect to gain happiness from another person, at some time, we are bound to be disappointed. If bad relationships end, we should see it as an opportunity to move on. It is no use dwelling on what might have been. It is also a mistake to feel that we can change somebody to match our preferences. If we seek to change a person fundamentally we will just feel frustrated when we fail.
7. Share Problems
Good friendships can offer tremendous help. Especially, if we can have 1 or 2 friends who are able and willing to listen to our problems. Our friends will not be able to solve our problems. However, simply having someone to talk to and share difficulties is a tremendous help in being able to work through our own problems.
8. Cultivate Happiness.
To avoid depression we have to focus on the alternative which is happiness. The problem is that when we are depressed, the idea of happiness seems a million miles away. But, sometimes if we can force a smile or try to be insincerely happy, we can trick the mind and force happiness to descend; and after a while we start to achieve real happiness.
9. Have Low Expectations.
Depression often occurs because our desires remain unfulfilled. The more desires we have, the more likely we are to be disappointed. After disappointment comes a sense of frustration and depression. If we minimise our desires then we will not be prone to disappointment. This does not mean we cannot strive for excellence and achieve things. We definitely should strive to achieve various accomplishments. However, we should try to have an attitude of detachment to the outcome. Nor should we expect people to behave in a certain way.
10. Don’t Dwell On the Negative.
This is the key to avoiding depression. If we focus always on negative things this will eventually filter through into our state of mind. Negativity can be, miserable people, depressing situations and our own negative thoughts. If we want to cultivate happiness, we should seek to avoid depressing situations and depressing people.