Are you are troubled by an over-active mind where you can’t seem to slow down or manage your thoughts? Many people are, I guess it happens to almost all of us at times.
It can go further. Obsessing about the bad stuff, ruminating, constantly focusing on one’s own distress, can take away any sense of control. It’s also a slippery slope; compulsively contemplating the causes and consequences or one’s anguish is draining, and self-sustaining. The more you do it the easier it gets to do it some more.
It’s a popular misconception that the best way to stop intrusive and unwanted thoughts is to block them out, or to distract yourself. Both are hard work and equally likely to provoke the habit you’re trying to stop. In order to stop thinking about something you have to think about it first.
Another commonly held view is that mindfulness shuts out unwanted thought, that it is a way of becoming passive and inert, kind of zoning out and away from troubling thought. But this is wrong too.
The way to still your mind and gain control is to purposefully focus your thinking so that you reposition yourself in relation to your thoughts. This means learning to see things clearly, rather than avoiding or chasing them away.
My Mindfulness LifeHack is now available on Kindle:
Mindfulness – How to Give Your Day a Lift: An introduction to using mindfulness in daily life.