It never seems to fail. You’re trying to concentrate on your work, but your mind wanders off to a completely unrelated topic. Or your mind wanders off into a disaster scenario from a situation that may never happen. These are examples of unhelpful thoughts.

Unhelpful thoughts can be distractions or they can be destructive. Neither are helpful.

It is said that our minds process trillions of thoughts per day subconsciously and our brain only sends summaries of this information to our conscious mind. 

Your mind is a terrible thing to waste, and if you feel like you can’t manage your thoughts, you’re not using your mind to your advantage. Sometimes we feel like our thoughts are out of our control. Our brain sends us signals and instead of taking a moment to decide whether or not we are going to listen to our brain, we take those first thoughts as truths and absolutes.

We have programmed our minds to default onto subconscious behaviors. But, what many of us may not realize is that we can change the way we react to our random thoughts and surges of emotions.

As we build this muscle, we can learn to produce more thoughts that serve us in our day to day life and reprogram our mind to seek positive solutions.

Imagine how powerful you would become if you could ignore or replace your negative thoughts! You could accomplish more and get greater enjoyment from your life, your relationships, your family, and your career. 

You can achieve anything and everything, just by managing your negative thoughts and reprogramming your mind to have a greater awareness of the experiences you have. 

Use these strategies to manage thoughts that don’t support you:

    1. Maintain space between yourself and your thoughts. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to engage with your thoughts. You don’t focus on every person, tree, and car you pass when you’re driving down the road. Most of these things pass through your awareness without you pursuing them further.
  • You can do the same thing with your unhelpful thoughts. Allow them to simply pass on by. Let your brain tell you its concerns, and then continue forward with a positive mindset.
  • Your thoughts are simply something that you experience. You are not your thoughts. If something doesn’t serve a purpose in your life, ignore it. What is the point in dwelling on it?
  1. Understand that it is your brain’s nature to produce random thoughts. The thoughts you experience says little about you. It’s the nature of your brain to produce thoughts. It’s always going to give you something to think about. This is especially true with our emotions. Emotions are an experience of the body that. They flow through us, they are meant to be experienced. Emotions are nature’s way of letting us know about potential dangers or opportunities in our lives. We don’t have to act or accept every emotion our brain sends to us.
    • Occasionally those thoughts are useful. Frequently, they’re frivolous. Sometimes, your thoughts can be quite disturbing. Understand them for what they are and then move on.
  2. Meditation is a helpful tool for understanding the nature of your mind. The first thing you notice when you attempt to meditate is the random and restless nature of your mind. Meditation can be a very touchy subject for people. I am not saying you should become a yogi, grow a beard, and live in nature. (unless you want to!) What I am saying is practicing being in the present moment (meditation) will help you reduce stress and enhance your relationships. Many of us experience anxiety from stuff in the future that may never happen or even regrets from digging up our pasts lives. Meditation will help you stay grounded in the present moment and help you filter out the thoughts that don’t serve you.
    • Focus on your breathing. When you find yourself fuming about your boss, wondering what happened to your high school friends, or making a mental grocery list, simply redirect your attention back to your breathing.
  3. You can focus your attention on the thought of your choosing. You can think about anything you choose to think about. You can think about how happy you are for the relationships you have, concentrate on how good the current moment feels, or what you need to accomplish today. The key idea here is that we have more control over our thoughts than we think we do. No longer will we let our thoughts control us.
    • When you’re experiencing an unhelpful thought, you can decide to think about something more useful. Recognize that you have the power to direct your thinking as you see fit. 
    • You can also change your state when you start experiencing a negative thought. Get up, move your body, change your environment. Changing your state can help bounce off the negative thoughts.
  4. Apply logic. Poor thinking leads to poor decision making. When your thoughts are leading you astray, put your logical mind to good use. Ask yourself what a sensible person would do in this situation. What is a logical, intelligent decision for your circumstances? What would you advise a friend to do?

Are negative or distracting thoughts getting in your way on a regular basis? You’re not alone. The human brain loves to stay active and will wander from one idea to another if you fail to take control of it.

The key is to focus your attention on what you intend and avoid getting too involved with your random thoughts. Just allow them to pass. 

If you’ve never meditated before, this can be an excellent way to learn how your mind works and how to deal with random, intrusive thoughts. Most importantly, remember that you are not your thoughts. There’s no reason to take them personally.


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