Taking charge of your mind is easier said than done. However, it’s not impossible. Whether you want to forget about an unsuccessful love interest or a professional failure, you need to hone your stress management skills.
Unwanted thoughts can kill your joy and make you less productive. But the worst thing they bring along is distress and self-doubt. Yes, some fancy quote page on Instagram might tell you that you need to head out and seize the day.
How do you do that with such stressful thoughts weighing you down? How to control your thoughts?
As impossible as it may seem at the moment, it’s doable. Managing stress and anxiety that comes with troubling thoughts is possible with mindful meditation and improving your lifestyle.
First off, you need to feed this affirmation to yourself. Once you’re convinced and ready to make a change, only then you can get rid of the negative thoughts.
Here are fourteen ways to be in control of your thoughts and organize the mush that your brain is after a personal calamity.
#1 Identify the Stressful Thoughts
Your stress management skills are of no use unless you know what you’re supposed to manage. Start by figuring out the thoughts that plague your mind.
Emotional setbacks are normal. In fact, they’re inevitable. If you’re going through an emotional challenge, identify it initially.
By and large, living in denial won’t get you out of the situation but will only drag your mental health further down. So, to successfully deal with a trauma or an emotional condition, you must recognize what the issues are. Only then you can work towards eliminating or overcoming that stressful mindset.
#2 Accept Them
It might sound baseless to people going through a tough time but accepting your thoughts is the only way to process and let them go.
You’d want to keep pain at bay. It’s understandable. But the longer you let the pain build up, the more intense it will get.
Do the opposite. Accept the situation. If someone disappointed or hurt you, don’t stay in denial of the thoughts that keep coming up inside you. Learning this will help you move on and build new relations.
#3 Step Away From the Distressing Mindset
Regardless of the situation, there are always at least two ways to look at the problem. You have to find the right way.
If a job interview didn’t go well, don’t tell yourself that you feel miserable, but you’ll get through it since you’ve gotten over things in the past.
Instead, tell yourself that you may feel miserable right now, but you did your best, and that’s what counts. You’re strong enough to deal with challenges.
We’re often quick to look at the immediate effects of situations. Instead, take a step back and look at the bigger picture to break the circle of distressing thoughts.
Mindfulness is an excellent tool for managing stress and anxiety. Sit in your favorite place and clear your head of everything.
Meditation allows you time to sit back and concentrate entirely on your mind. It lets your thoughts wander freely. These free thoughts mostly bring back old worries and unsolved problems. However, controlling these troublesome thoughts is what you learn from meditation.
Once you’re a pro at mindful meditation, you’ll realize that you no longer need a long time to control troubling thoughts. Instead, you can simply pull a switch to gain your awareness back.
#5 Optimism Is the Key
Thinking positively doesn’t equate to denying problems or ignoring helpful solutions. Instead, it means looking at the good side of things.
It might not help immediately, but it will indeed allow you to look at things in a different light.
Again, it’s important to remember that toxic positivity isn’t the way forward. You need to learn how to balance being positive and being aware of the circumstantial graveness.
#6 Learn to Erase
When something unprecedented happens, it’s in human nature to continually think about it. But don’t give such thoughts too much room in your mind.
Accept them. Feel for a certain period and then let them go. If you allow them to remain at the back of your head, they’ll always find ways to come to the front and bother you. Most importantly, don’t let something wrong that happened in the past ruin your bright and beautiful future.
#7 Write It Down
Journaling is one of the most adaptive stress management skills. Whatever you feel or think, write it down. Think of it like dumping the emotional buildup in your mind on paper.
Besides making you feel lighter, it will also help you express complicated feelings. Follow your journaling sessions with meditation to feel instantly lighter.
#8 Distractions Might Help
Distracting yourself in every situation obviously isn’t a wise solution. However, focused distractions can help take your brain off worrisome thoughts.
Let’s say something didn’t go according to your plan. Instead of feeling bummed about it and turning your morning into a bad day, focus your brain elsewhere.
Clean your room or go for a jog. Maybe read a book or do your pending tasks to take your mind off the events of the morning. You can also try to meet a loved one or listen to uplifting music.
Beware not to let the distraction turn into a total avoidance of the situation at hand. Just let it be a momentary break.
#9 Indulge in Self Care
Possibly the best way for managing stress and anxiety is to set aside some time in your hectic routine for yourself. It could be something as small as preparing breakfast rather than living on Starbucks takeaway or something as big as a spa day.
Self-care doesn’t always have to be monetary. You can take a nap to give yourself a break or prepare a hot bath to relax – whatever rows your boat.
#10 Go for Therapy
While these simple tips might be helpful for someone going through a slight disturbance, they won’t be much beneficial in severe mental health conditions.
If you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, or a related condition, talk to a professional. Besides helping you identify the underlying issues, a therapist will also offer practical solutions.
Therapists use different methods, such as commitment therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic therapy, to help people regain control of their thoughts and emotions.
#11 Get Physically Active
Physical movement is a one-stop solution for many of your physical and mental issues. Exercise along with rest and a proper diet gives you motivation, strength, and stamina. All of them ultimately introduce balance in your mind and body.
Going through a monotonous daily routine with no actual activity can dent your overall health and poison your thought process.
According to research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, taking short breaks for physical movement in between continuous sitting times positively affects your health. In addition, it increases life expectancy too.
So, whenever you feel stuck or low, just get up and move around, take a short walk. It will lift your mood and help you feel lighter and better.
#12 Avoid Toxic People
It is no secret that your company highly impacts your overall mental health and thought process. Even if we don’t want to, we still are affected by the other’s words and emotions.
When we sit and talk with someone for some time, our brains start syncing. If they emanate negative or depressed vibes, our brain is bound to absorb those feelings and react accordingly. Therefore, it is best to keep only people with a positive mindset around us.
In addition, having affirmative social associations will automatically enhance your mindfulness towards positive aspects of life.
#13 Limit Media Consumption
Today, mainstream media is all about war, murders, and dirty politics. It feeds you tragic news 24/7. Hence, media overuse will ultimately lead to more anxiety and negative thoughts.
Typically, we are constantly consuming news in many forms, such as blogs, Youtube, viral videos, and much more. All such abundant information tends to clog our brains and impact negatively our mental health.
However, by limiting your time on social or mainstream media, you can easily keep your mind at peace. Moreover, only try to get information from a credible source. Unreliable media outlets disseminate fake news just for the sake of some views.
#14 Don’t Multitask
It may seem counterproductive to you at first, but it’s the right thing to do most of the time. When doing something, just focus entirely on that thing without starting another task midway. You will end up just wasting time and not finishing either of the assignments.
For instance, you can’t prepare for an office presentation and buy an online gift for your friend’s birthday party simultaneously.
According to a study by Stanford University, complex multitasking may not only lower your task efficiency but impair your cognitive control too.
Therefore, set up work priorities and begin with what’s most important first.
Almost everyone, sooner or later in their life, falls prey to stress and anxiety. However, how effectively you manage that negativity and control your thoughts makes the difference.
Still, it’s important to remember that stress management skills can only do so much. You might be a pro at managing stress and anxiety through journaling or mindful meditation, but when there’s a need to seek professional help, don’t hesitate.