Guest Post

7 Strategies To Control Your Thoughts (and not the other way around!)

by Frederique Murphy

Our mind does not often switch off (and, by the way, that is a good thing!) We think, and we think a lot. This is something we do naturally, and I want to focus on this as it is critical for you to learn how to control your thoughts as opposed to your thoughts controlling you.

What happens when something happens? You start thinking, right?, and when that something is bad, you start thinking bad, right?

We get a thought, and then another one, and then another one, and it is a continuous process. And, it happens over and over again, like a race track. Worrying is a common behavior; even according to the Wikipedia definition, a small amount is healthy as it prompts us to take precautions (e.g., fastening your seat belt).

BUT, What happens when your thoughts are keeping you awake?
What happens when your thoughts are keeping you in a state of fear?
What happens when your thoughts are negative, repetitive, distorted, and intrusive?

Simply put, there are destructive; they affect you, they impact your results, and your success. All starts with your thoughts.

And, I want to focus on these moments. Those moments, where we become addicted to our thoughts, addicted to our negative thoughts, and we obsess, we worry, we live in fear, we stay awake… Can you relate?

Here are my top strategies to overcome this. Remember, we can interrupt any of our behaviors; we are powerful, our mind is our best asset and we can learn how to control it for the best, and these strategies will help you interrupt this behavior, and have a positive impact on your life.

Each of these strategies work, when, and only when, you apply them. You might like one better than the other, and by applying them all, you will find out which one is the best fit for you; this will be an individual choice. Also, you might do one after the other, and stack them, till you reach that positive and happy place.

So, a negative thought comes in…

You can ignore it; although, I would not suggest it, as this means you are not dealing with it, and suppressing it, does not make it disappear, and you are still letting it hold space, and control you.

When you start obsessing and looping, face, and apply these seven “S…” strategies to interrupt that behavior:
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Stop
You are the boss, so as simple as this sounds, the first thing you can do is to send a command to yourself, say Stop (STOP!). A direct command, given with a firm order tone, will interrupt the behavior, like stopping you in your track.

Swap
You can replace a negative thought by a positive one; I like to do a double swap, so, not only swap one for another one, but swap one for 2 other ones. Keep a list of positive, happy, healthy, constructive thoughts, and swap away.

Store / Share
You can store it AND this is only half of the strategy; remember, you do not want to store it, as in ignore it, you want to store it, and re-access later, by sharing it with a supportive person: a friend, a coach, a mentor. Someone with an outside perspective, an objective one, who will help you move forward.

Switch
You can do something else: call a friend, watch a movie, go for a walk, a run… there are so many things you can do; here you want to select an activity that you can do straight away, once the negative thought comes in.

Shhh
You can go to sleep or meditate, to free your mind; you can either meditate on your own, in silence, or have your favorite music on, or thanks to a relaxation CD /track or, a visualization, guiding you to think of something else and relax.

Speculate
This comes from Dale Carnegie, who said in his How To Stop Worrying And Start Living book, “First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.” So, ask, accept and proceed.

Scribe
You can start writing; from head to paper, write about what you are thinking to free your thinking place. Whatever is it that you are thinking as long as it stays in your head, it is a jumbo-mumbo mess (!), so write it down; and write it exactly as you are thinking it.
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Here you have them, my seven S… Strategies.

The way we think directly affects the results we get in life; our thoughts control our actions, which determine our success.

And, always remember: you control your thoughts, do not let your thoughts control you.

© Copyright Frederique Murphy Limited, 2008-2012

Frederique Murphy publishes her M3 Power newsletter for business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate executives who want to bring their life and their business to a whole new level! She believes that a strong mindset gives you the power to move mountains and, shares her free tips and teaches exactly how to do that in her newsletters – Start Climbing Now!

4 Replies to “7 Strategies To Control Your Thoughts (and not the other way around!)”

  1. Frederique Murphy

    Hi Dawn,

    Thanks for your comment, delighted you’ve enjoyed my post, and that it took you on a journey!

    I agree, it happens to all of us, and as there are several ways to tackle it, it is almost like a testing experience, that’s why I wanted to share 7 suggestions. I also know from experience, that it works to stack them, as in, you do them, one after the other, it is very powerful.

    You know you mentioned that everything changed for you, the day where you made that decision, and “coincidently” what I wrote about last week 😉

    Have a great week Dawn,
    Frederique

  2. Frederique Murphy

    Melissa,
    Thank you VERY much for featuring one of my blog posts!

  3. Eva Christina

    My favorite strategy is to hum… (in German with S = summen). A certain kind of thought gets cut by a certain (strong) melody… concentrating on humming, you will forget your thought and the act will become automated.

    1. Frederique Murphy

      Hi Eva,

      Thanks for your comment.

      And, for sharing one of your own strategies. Do make sure that you are not only suppressing it, as you need to deal with it, so that you can fully move forward. So, start with the humming, but do come back to it, to control it yourself and come up with an outcome you are happy with.

      Happy humming! (whether it is to suppress a thought or pure enjoyment!)
      Frederique

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