I came across a video this morning about a man, Gabriel Noah Adams. Gabe was born with Hanhart syndrome and, as a result, is limbless.
The first thought I had when watching his video is how powerful our own minds are. From one end, our minds are our biggest asset, and at the other end, our biggest demons. But what occurred to me is that we are in control of it.
Gabe was able to teach himself how to walk, dress, shower, eat, use a phone, even take a selfie, all without legs or arms. He said he had to push himself mentally because his ultimate goal was to be able to do things just like everyone else.
And he succeeded.
Gabe succeeded because he didn’t let negativity infiltrate his mind, he pushed through and carried on. I imagine there were plenty of times where he failed but that didn’t stop him.
Gabe is a prime example of how using our mind as an asset and being in control of the outcome can make us achieve anything.
So why am I writing this blog? Well, I know first hand what its like to have your mind take over and start to dictate you. When you let yourself get so carried away with your thoughts that it starts to change your perception on a particular situation. And it totally sucks! You get so consumed in it that it starts to take over your life then too.
When you eventually begin to realise that what you were thinking was all in your head, you start to see that it literally was just in your head. Now, once you start to realise this, you can either thank the almighty that you’re no longer in that situation but continue doing this every single time anyway, or, you learn from it and you don’t let it happen again next time.
I’m not saying I have it completely under control, but I am more aware of my how my thoughts can spiral out of control. Rather than sitting there dwelling on them, I aim to make every effort to either prove myself wrong or right.
I’ve decided to share some of my tips on how I try to control my thoughts. It might not work for everyone, and it does all depend on the situation, but its a starting point. I always say that if you want to make a change, start on the small things that you’re able to control and then work your way up. Tesco got it right when they came up with their ‘Every little helps’ slogan. It’s all about baby steps.
5 tips to help you control your thoughts and stay focused
- When you feel overwhelmed, use mindfulness. Even just a 5 minute session can make a massive difference and it will allow you to see and think more clearly.
- If you feel like you are carrying way too much baggage in your head, take some time to write it down. You can even draw pictures if you hate writing words. But I find that when I can physically see what’s in my head, its easier to compartmentalise my thoughts and also rate them based on importance, priority and whether or not I made it up or if its fact.
- Don’t have too high expectations. Actually, just don’t have any expectations at all if you can. Expectations, I’ve noticed, are the beginning of a series of unfortunate ‘brain’ events. Think of it like giving a tonne of sugar and caffeine to a child at midnight. Not a great idea!
- Don’t ever assume!! I always remember that episode of ‘8 Simple Rules’ where Paul Hennessy is telling his daughter that “when you assume, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me'”. He was spot on with this. When I start to assume things, I build an image in my head based off what I think is happening, but the majority of the time, its not like that. What I tend to do in this situation is actually go to the source, or try my best to get facts. Facts is all that matters in this scenario because otherwise, its either hearsay or just a made-up story.
- Always remember that you are in control. If you find yourself running away with negative thoughts, stop, take a deep breath, and tell yourself to stop overthinking. It won’t be easy, but the more consistent you are with this, the better you’ll get at it.
Finally, if you feel like you are way in over your head and you just can’t seem to get out of a rut, ask for help. If you feel like there is no one close to you that you can trust, seek a support group. Sometimes its much easier to talk to a random person who is totally unbiased than it is talking to someone close. So find a way that works for you and go with it, don’t be afraid.
But remember, if you are seeking help, you need to want to actually solve what it is you want to solve. That person will offer their time and support, but if you’re not willing to listen to their advice or take it on board, then why did you go to them in the first place? If all you want is someone to listen to you, then make sure to make that clear too so the other person knows. Otherwise, what will happen is you’ll get frustrated because you don’t want advice, just someone to listen to you. The other person will get frustrated because they’ll feel like you sought their help but you’re pushing back on everything. The end result will be 2 frustrated people, which will probably only add to an already troubled situation.