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  • Writer's pictureStacey Murtagh

Can you control your thoughts?

The short answer - NO!

You can't fully control your thoughts, but you can learn how to manage them. The brain is a complex organ in the body and our thoughts are processing so quickly that we can't possibly control every single thought that comes into our mind. What you can do is control your reaction and behaviour surrounding your thoughts. There are many ways that you can do this which may help you manage your thoughts a little better.

  • Have a word with yourself: literally when a thought occurs, ask yourself if it's true? is it possible? how does this affect/impact me?

  • Meditate: this helps us reduce the brain chatter and gain clarity & focus so we can recognise the thoughts that make sense and our positive for our life.

  • Positive Mindset: be kind to your thoughts, they are just thoughts. Acknowledge them but don't react if it doesn't ring true to you. Try to keep a positive mindset and recognise negative thoughts that occur so you can re-frame with a positive thought.

  • Reframing: reframing how we view things is so important. For example is the glass half full or half empty, it's all about perspective and how we see things. If you are experiencing negative thoughts, try to reframe them with a positive thought. So for example, I applied for a job and didn't get it - instead of thinking badly of yourself or negative reframe by acknowledging the opportunity wasn't meant for you and the right one will come along soon.

  • Walking: no music or distractions and just allow yourself to experience your thoughts. This can be a little scary but it can also be liberating with practice. It can be a creative outlet and allowing yourself to talk with your thoughts (not in a crazy way - see #1 above).

  • Talk it out: talk with a close friend or family member if certain thoughts are bothering you or speak with your GP. Speaking out loud about thoughts that are confusing helps us process if they are real or just a thought.

  • Nutrition: eat a clean and balanced diet focused on supporting your gut microbiome to support your gut-brain health.

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy): this is an effective method if your thoughts and feelings are overwhelming. This can be discussed further with a GP if this is something you may need.

Self-compassion is something I work on personally and negative self-talk is a real thing with me. I have to manage this every day, whether it's managing my feelings around imposter syndrome, body confidence or my work. It can be a hard thing for many of us, but know that we all have an incredible brain but sometimes it tells us things that are untrue and we need to be able to manage that.

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