Those damn thoughts. They seem to go on and on forever whether you want them to or not, don’t they?
STOP thinking. Come on.
You can’t. Can you?
With a little honest observation, it’s easy to see that the mind goes on thinking whether you want it to or not. At best, we can control the mind for short periods of time, but then it goes right on chattering away.
We notice the noisiness of the mind most often when we’re highly stressed, depressed or anxious. It’s at these times when a quiet mind would be the most welcome relief, and yet it’s also at these times when achieving a quiet mind seems impossible!
What to do?
This article will shed some light on 4 very important understandings of how the mind works and what you can do to ensure your mind starts working FOR you in life rather than against you.
Let’s get into it.
Before we begin, let me just say that what you’re about to learn is not just “theory.” These are the very steps that changed my life in profound ways. For almost 20 years, I suffered with moderate to severe depression and anxiety. I’m happy to say, the very insights I’m sharing with you today are what allowed me to heal myself and go on to live a happy and successful life.
Step 1. Stop Trying to Control the Mind!
The first thing you’ll notice is that trying to control the mind only makes the mind more resistant to your efforts. Naturally, we think that we need to “do” something or make some kind of effort in order to control anything in our lives, yet when it comes to the mind, that’s not the case at all. Quite the opposite actually.
Why does control not work?
Because the mind operates largely based on programming and habits that were developed over many years. Trying to control your mind is like telling a hardcore drug addict to quit in a day. Not only is it highly unlikely to happen, it’s actually dangerous to even try!
Just like an addict, we need to slowly wean our way off of certain types of thinking. Our thoughts are not much different from a drug. Because thought is like an addiction, attempts at “self-control” rarely if ever work.
What works is setting a strong “intention.” A drug addict doesn’t get better through pure self-control. They get better first and foremost because of their genuine intention to do so. When they create a new positive intention, it activates the necessary choices and decisions required to improve.
Self-control is not the answer. Self-control is trying to eliminate the negative, and when you are focused on the negative, you only get more of it.
Instead of fighting against what you don’t want, decide on what you DO want. Choose peace, love, forgiveness, kindness, etc.
When experiencing these positive qualities of consciousness becomes your new intention, you’ll find the negative, obsessive thought patterns fading away on their own.
In summary: don’t try to quiet your mind or eliminate negative thoughts. Instead, simply add in a new type of thought that says, “I intend to be at peace. I intend to be happy. I intend to let go of that which doesn’t serve me.”“I intend to be at peace. I intend to be happy. I intend to let go of that which doesn’t serve me.”Click To Tweet
When the negative thoughts return, as they will for some time out of habit, just reaffirm your intention to be peaceful, no matter what. Then get on with your life.
This doesn’t require “control.” It only requires you to remember one single word: Peace.
Step 2. Look At the Emotions (The Roots), Not the Thoughts (The Branches)
In step one, I suggested to not give the thoughts, especially the negative ones, any attention. But if you don’t pay attention to the thoughts, what else is there to pay attention to? Your emotions is a good place to start.
Your emotions are like the generators that supply your thoughts with energy. This is why when you’re feeling bad, it’s not possible to stop your mind from worrying. It’s simply because the negative emotional energy is feeding the cycle of negative thoughts.
Addressing the thoughts won’t help in any way whatsoever unless you find a way to release the negative emotional energy behind them.
How to do that?
First, we have to bring the power of awareness to what we’re feeling and simply notice it without judgment.
Most of us have created the habit of doing anything and everything to avoid experiencing our painful emotions. We will eat food, watch movies, socialize, read, and distract ourselves with all types of things in order to avoid having to deal with our emotions.
Yet all this distraction just puts the issue off for a later time. It does nothing to get rid of the underlying issue, and so those painful feelings will come up again in a matter of time. They’re not gone just because you temporarily suppressed them. Essentially, nothing has changed.
So before we can even begin to discuss what to “do” with our emotions, we have to understand the importance of taking time to observe and pay attention to what is going on within ourselves.
Ideally, we should spend at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening in quiet introspection, noticing and observing our deepest thoughts, desires, intentions, and feelings.
Sitting and doing “nothing” seems unproductive and a waste of time to the mind. Yet this one simple practice can open your mind to answers and wisdom that could change your entire life in ways you’ve yet to imagine.
Step 3. Stop Resisting the Emotion
This whole process is very counterintuitive to the mind. Our mind automatically believes that “control” and “effort” is the answer to problems. Don’t be fooled here.
It’s very important to understand that the inner world of thoughts and feelings operates by different laws than the physical world of material and matter. Your emotions are not like objects to be manipulated. They are more like clouds to be dissolved.
Emotions drive thoughts, so to quiet the mind, we need to release the emotional energy within ourselves. This is not done by suppressing the emotions, ignoring them, or pretending they don’t exist. In contrast, it is done by completely accepting them and allowing them to be without any attempts to change or control them.
All my life, I tried to control my emotions. I pushed them out of the way and carried on with life, but this only made me more and more miserable as time went on. All that emotional energy was just being pushed deeper and deeper into myself. And with no outlet for release, it eventually led to chronic stress, suicidial depression, and serious health problems.
When I began to practice silent observation and radical acceptance of my feelings, even the most unpleasant ones, my life changed in ways I never expected. I felt lighter, more confident and free, without any effort at all. The more I practiced it, the better I felt. Eventually, my chronic anxiety disappeared and never came back.
It was quite a shock to realize that the answer to my problems was so simple.
So what do you need to “do?” You sit quietly with yourself, watch your feelings, accept them completely with no attempts at control, and watch the energy of those feelings release all on its own.
As the emotional energy releases through your continued observation and acceptance, you will notice your mind getting quieter and quieter and your body feeling lighter and lighter. In a short time, you’ll notice a deep sense of joy and peace wash over you. This is the joy of your True Self…
Step 4. Not Working? Start Over!
Do not overcomplicate this process. Your mind will try to trick you into believing that it must be more complicated or that there must be more to it than simply intending to be peaceful and then watching and accepting your emotions. I can say from a lot of experience, the complicated strategies almost never work.
Simplicity is power.
It is essential to realize that trying to control thoughts and emotions is what keeps them alive. The intention to control leads to emotional suppression, which is a coping mechanism that pushes the emotions out of awareness temporarily, but does NOT release the energy behind those emotions. Thus, you’re prolonging your emotional suffering, not reducing it.
I hope this article has given you some new insights and realizations that will put you on the path to greater success in all areas of your life.
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll probably also enjoy this article and free video training: How to Stay Calm in the Midst of Chaos
I also highly recommend you read this book for additional guidance on your journey.