4 Steps To Take Control Of Your Thoughts

Here are 4 steps you can follow to take control of your thoughts

1. Make a practical list of the things that are troubling you. 

Whether you're writing on paper or a computer, you should first define a problem, write down your options, and then list the pros and cons for each option. Seeing your thoughts in front of you will also help you stop cycling through them in your head. Once you can't think of anything more to write, your mind has done its job, and it's time to stop thinking.

  • If making a list still doesn't help you make a decision, don't be afraid to follow your intuition. If two or more options seem equally appealing, thinking more will not make things clearer. This is when you should listen to something deeper.

2. Keep a diary of the things that are troubling you. 

Instead of lingering over your most persistent thoughts, jot down all of the things on your mind every day. At the end of one week, go over what you've written and make a note of the things that are troubling you the most. You need to deal with those first.
  • Try to write in your diary at least a few times a week. This will help you get used to the idea of a "thinking time" and will help you sit down with your thoughts, instead of having them trouble you throughout the day.

3. Have a to-do list. 

Make a list of all the things you have to do on a certain day. Unless "brooding" is on your list of priorities, this will force you to see that you have more important things to do than to sit around pondering the meaning of the universe! The quickest way to organize your thoughts is to put them into something actionable. If you're thinking that you haven't gotten enough sleep lately, make a plan for getting some Z's pronto instead of worrying about it!
  • The list can be practical and can deal with the bigger things, like: "spend more time with my family."

4. Set a "thinking time" aside for yourself every day. 

This may sound crazy, but picking a time every day for yourself to worry, wonder, be dreamy, and to get lost in your thoughts can help you control your thoughts in a more productive manner. If you need to, give yourself an hour, say, from 5-6:00 every day. Then, try to get the time down to 5-5:30. If an upsetting thought comes up earlier in the day when it's inconvenient to deal with it, just tell yourself, "I'll worry about that at 5 pm."
  • This may sound ridiculous, but you've got to try it before you knock it.