Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for creating good in your life, but it can also be the most destructive force in your life if not used correctly. Controlling your thoughts entails influencing how you conduct your life.
Your vision and, as a result, your understanding of reality is influenced by your mind, mainly your thoughts.
According to what I’ve heard, the average human has roughly 70,000 thoughts per day. That’s a lot of time, especially if they’re unproductive, self-abusive, or just a waste of energy in general.
You can let your mind wander, but why would you want to? Isn’t it time you regained control of your mind and thoughts? Isn’t it time you took command?
Choose to be the person who thinks your thoughts actively and intentionally. Become a master of your mind by being able to control your thoughts.
You will change your feelings when you change your thinking, and you will also eliminate the triggers that cause those sensations. Both of these consequences provide you with a higher sense of mental calm.
I’m having a few thoughts right now that aren’t of my choosing or are a result of my retraining. Because I am the ruler of my thinking, I am now at ease. It’s possible for yours to be as well!
Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?
Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.
If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.
Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.
1. The Inner Critic
This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:
- Other people’s words — many times your parents
- Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
- Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
- The lies you told yourself as a result of stressful events like betrayal and rejection. In times of rejection and betrayal, your interpretation causes self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely unfair.
The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.
Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is you — why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?
2. The Worrier
This individual exists in the future, in the realm of “what ifs.”
The Worrier is driven by fear, which is frequently irrational and without foundation. This person is occasionally motivated by a dread of what has happened in the past happening again.
3. The Reactor or Troublemaker
This is the one that makes you angry, frustrated, and hurt. These triggers are the result of old wounds that haven’t healed. Any event that is even remotely connected to a previous wound will send him off.
This person can be triggered by words or feelings, as well as sounds and odors.
What’s Missing in Your Life?
The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you — if it ever did.
4. The Sleep Depriver
This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehashes, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.
The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:
- As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
- Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
- Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
- As listed above for the inner critic and worrier
How can you control these squatters?
How to Master Your Mind
You are the one who thinks and observes your own thoughts. You have influence over your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them in order to figure out “who” is in charge — this will define which strategy you should apply.
Start each day by committing to paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you’re thinking negative ideas.
There are two ways to control your thoughts:
- Technique A — Interrupt and replace them
- Technique B — Eliminate them altogether
This second option is what is known as peace of mind.
The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.
Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.
1. For the Inner Critic
Interrupt any negative thoughts you have about yourself (such as calling yourself names, demeaning yourself, or berating yourself).
You have the ability to yell (in your head) “Enough!” or “Stop! No!” Now I’m in command.” Then, replace whatever negative thinking you had about yourself with an opposite or counterthought, or an affirmation that starts with “I am.”
If your thinking is, for example, “Replace “I’m such a loser” with “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit.” I am a perfect spiritual entity in the process of mastering the human condition. I am an energy, light, and matter being. I am majestic, brilliant, and stunning. I accept and love myself just as I am.”
You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought — if you know whose voice it is:
“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”
If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.
This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:
- They rile up the Worrier.
- The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
- They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
- They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
- They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!
Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.
Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.
2. For the Worrier
Long-term anxiety is harmful to one’s mental, emotional, and physical health. It may have long-term health consequences.
Fear triggers the fight or flight reaction, causes mental stress, and causes physical uneasiness. It may be more difficult for you to successfully manage your thoughts as a result of this.
You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
- Shallow breathing or breathlessness
- Muscles tense
Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.
If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:
Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):
“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”
Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.
If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.
Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.
Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.
For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.
“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.
Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.
Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:
“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”
Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.
3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor
Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.
The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.
I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry — well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.
Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds — just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.
Breathe in through your nose:
- Feel the air entering your nostrils.
- Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
- Focus on your belly rising.
Breathe out through your nose:
- Feel your lungs emptying.
- Focus on your belly falling.
- Feel the air exiting your nostrils.
Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.
One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.
Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!
Most importantly, find your real motive. What’s the inner drive that can help you to keep on moving? If you’re not sure, join the free Fast-Track Class — Activate Your Motivation. It’s a free intensive session that will help you identify your inner drive and build your unique motivation engine around it. Join the free session here.
4. For the Sleep Depriver
(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)
I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.
Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.
- I started by focusing on my breathing — paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly — but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
- Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking — imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.
When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.
From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.
For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.
If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!
You can also use this technique any time you want to:
- Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
- Shut down your thinking
- Calm your feelings
- Simply focus on the present moment
The Bottom Line
Your mind is a tool, and it may be utilized constructively or destructively, just like any other instrument.
You have the option of allowing unwanted, undesirable, and harmful tenants to take up residence in your mind, or you can choose desirable tenants such as peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.
Your mind can become your best friend, your most ardent supporter, and someone you can rely on to cheer you on. Your thoughts are under your control. It’s entirely up to you!