Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tip Tuesday: Don't Let Thoughts Control You

Sometimes we can become consumed by thoughts. With our brains on nearly the entirety of our lives we have lots and lots to sift through. A study by the National Science Foundation estimates that humans have between 12,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day. It's hard to believe it's that many! But with all thought thoughts flowing through our heads, many of them unwelcome at any given time, it becomes difficult to focus at the task at hand or tougher, relax our mind completely. 

Some people really struggle with an influx of negative thoughts. And even positive people sometimes have a hard time pushing negative thoughts from their mind. When there comes a time that you want to become less consumed by the thoughts that are difficult to you or you want to relax your mind try these tips I've gathered from various sources. 

I recently began listening to a new podcast from NPR called Invisiblia. In one particular episode a man had become overcome by strange and unwelcome thoughts of killing his wife. In the show this man began working with a therapist that did a specific visualization exercise with him. She pulled out a book that she used as a physical representation of peoples' negative thoughts.  She explained that many people hold negative thoughts as the primary focus of their attention. She held a book to her clients forehead. After it was enough time to feel uncomfortable by thisthe therapist then moved the book to her clients lap. She explained that the thoughts were still there, they just were no longer the focus of attention. Give this a try yourself. 

What meditation is, is just learning how to displace thoughts so that they do not control you. This leads me to bringing Eckhart Tolle into this Tip Tuesday. I recently listened to a meditation of his which encouraged you to be aware of the thoughts flowing into your head, but if they are not useful at that time, just let them float on by. You may acknowledge that the thought was indeed there, don't try to fight it, just don't let your mind latch onto it.

I think so many people identify so much with their thoughts that when they have undesirable ones, they may feel negatively upon themselves. But as the Invisibilia podcast explains our thought are not us. There is no good reason to focus on the bad ones.

Listen to the full Invisibilia episode here.
Try the Eckhart Tolle meditation here.