How to Stop Letting Your Thoughts Control You
I’ve had anxiety my entire life. It wasn’t until I realized that it was my attachment to my thoughts that was causing the anxiety that I learned how to detach from my thoughts and reduce my anxiety. It’s taken me a long time to get to where I am today, and it is still a daily practice. I use meditation, mindfulness, and affirmations to help me detach from my thoughts, and let my body and true self guide my choices and behaviors.
It’s completely normal to get lost in your thoughts and let your thoughts dictate your feelings and behaviors. But, what if the thoughts are untrue or irrational? What if the thoughts are giving you negative and shameful messages about yourself? When this happens, this causes us to react with feelings and behaviors that may not be in line with our true self.
As humans, it is easy for our brains to get stuck in a cycle of thinking certain ways. We are creatures of habit, and so are our brains. However, we can change those patterns and create new ways of thinking. Yes, it takes commitment, consistency and hard work, but it’s totally doable. Here’s how to get started:
Write down your thoughts, positive and negative.
It’s really helpful to know what you are thinking. Write down as many thoughts as you can, positive and negative, and identify which ones you want to keep and which ones you want to leave behind.
Create a thought intention for each day.
Every morning, take about 5 minutes to reflect on the thoughts you would like to intentionally think, and the thoughts you want to leave behind or replace. Write down the thoughts you want to intentionally think and keep them in a handy place so you can quickly refer to them.
Bring awareness to your thoughts frequently.
Most of us get lost in our thoughts, and are not aware at all about what we’re really thinking. This is our brain on automatic pilot. It continues to play the same thoughts over and over again. However, if we can intentionally bring our awareness to our thoughts frequently throughout the day, that gives us the opportunity to change what we are thinking. It’s helpful to use an object or alarm to help remind you of your thoughts. Stick a post it note on your computer, frame a positive statement on your desk, wear a bracelet that reminds you to think positively, or set a reminder every hour to bring awareness of your thoughts.
Shift your attention to your breath and body frequently.
Another way to detach from your thoughts is to shift your attention to your breath and body. When we shift our focus to our breath or body, we detach from the thinking mind, and connect with the authentic self. This allows us to make decisions and choices that are intentional, and not reactions to our thoughts.
Not letting your thoughts control you takes practice and persistence. I can attest to how life changing this has been for me in reducing my anxiety. A regular meditation practice will also help you learn how to practice mindfulness in your daily life and will make this process easier.
Stay healthy and well and reach out anytime!