How to Control Thoughts?

The biggest problem faced by us every day is how to cope with the pressure of the influx of hundreds and thousands of thoughts. Everyone faces this problem. Such thoughts disrupt the tranquility of our minds and create hindrances in our productivity. There is nothing to be worried about and if you are thinking that you are alone who is having such an experience, you are absolutely wrong. In fact, this is a sign that you are normal. There is in fact no harm in having such a problem. But when our productivity is concerned, it is for the sake of our wellbeing that we must adopt some strategies to deal with such issues. In this chapter, we are going to discuss a very simple method I often follow to get rid of the problem of experiencing the regular cognitive cyclone.

Thoughts in general are of two types. The first kind deals with the issues over which we have active control. For example, the thought is disturbing me whether I can finish my next book within a couple of months as my publishers have been continuously nagging. Or, if you are a student, you may be worried whether you can finish the syllabus before the next test or not. You may be worried if you can achieve your financial goals this year or not. Now there is a similarity between all these thoughts. They raise certain issues which need action from us only and none else. If I can write beyond my routine, I can definitely complete my novel within the prescribed time. If I study hard and sleep a little less, I can definitely complete my syllabus before the test. If I spend a little less and save a little more, I can definitely find out ways to achieve my financial goals. So, all these thoughts are associated with issues I can directly control. These are Useful Thoughts and we can use such thoughts to take those into a positive stride. Let us term these as UFT (Useful Thoughts).

Now, let’s talk about some other thoughts. What if I experience an earthquake now and my house is destroyed and I die? What if the team I support loses the next match? What if there is a crash in the stock market tomorrow and I lose my investments? All these thoughts also follow a common pattern. They all are associated with something we do not have any control over. No matter how much hard we work, we cannot change anything regarding any of the issues. But still the thoughts keep on coming to our mind and disturbing our tranquility. Let us call these Useless Thoughts (ULT).

Now, take a pen and paper. Write down all the thoughts which are disturbing you. Do not think too much. Just write down whatever is going on in your mind. Suppose, you have written 50 thoughts you are having now. Now, write down UFT or ULT after each thought you have enumerated. Check how many are UFTs and how many are ULTS. I am sure UFTs are outnumbered by the ULTs by a huge margin. Just do it and see if I am right or wrong. Do not just read this article. Unless you do what you have been told to do, there is no purpose of reading this anymore.

Now, strike off the ULTs from your list. They have nothing to do with your present. They serve only one purpose- disturbing you. They do not have any positive side. You do not have any control over these issues and there is no point in wasting your precious time on such issues. Then why to even think about those? Rather, focus on the things which need your active action and the things which can make your life brighter. Work on the UFTs to make the future steady and smooth. Just like the way the ULTs were struck off, push away those thoughts from your brain so hard that those are not going to pry into your life anymore.

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