We all have one, an incredible mind, and yet so few of us understand how to use them to our best advantage. Mostly, our minds seem to do what they want, running freely, making up stories about the past and the future. And because of this, they are often not doing what we want them to do and so we want to know ‘How Can I Control My Mind?’
Maybe ‘control’ is not the best concept? Wouldn’t it be better if we wanted to know how we can BETTER USE our incredible minds? Because the proper use of our minds would mean that we could direct them to create amazing lives for ourselves. And after all, we all want to be living a great life experience, right?
“A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.” – Andrew Carnegie
So, read on to find out how we can improve the way we use our minds to achieve better life outcomes for ourselves and those that we love.
How Can I Control My Mind?
Our mind is not our enemy. It is not some wild animal that we need to tame. It is the most incredible sensory ‘tool’ that we possess. Among other things, our minds enable us to feel, perceive, think, will, and reason. ‘Control of our minds’ should mean aligning our thought processes with our goals and dreams. To do this, all we need to learn is how to focus and concentrate on what we desire instead of what we don’t want.
Are our minds the problem, or is the problem the way we are using our minds?
If our minds were continually producing positive, happy, life-affirming, successful thoughts and therefore giving us ‘good feelings and emotions,’ would we be complaining about wanting to control our minds? I think not!
So the reason we are not happy with our minds and think they need to be controlled is that they’re producing too many thoughts that we don’t want to be thinking. It’s like we are having a bout of ‘mental diarrhea,’ and we want it to stop!
However, if you take a moment to think about it, you may come away with a different way of thinking about the activity of our minds. Because it’s no accident that our minds behave the way they do. And just like our heart, lungs, stomach, mouth, limbs, etc. our minds are perfectly suited to the job they are designed for. Depending on what you believe, either the Creator or millions of years of evolution, has seen to that!
Therefore, our issues are more to do with the ‘thought content’ our minds are producing and the importance we give to this content, rather than an actual ‘problem’ with the structure or function of our minds themselves.
I can’t meditate because my mind is too busy!
If you have ever tried to meditate or sit in quiet contemplation you will know that it’s normal for the mind to continue to chatter away. And, unfortunately, the more we try to control them, the more anxious and stressed we become. Nevertheless, there is good news……. Your mind will stop one day!
However, on that very same day, your heart, lungs, kidneys, and all other aspects of yourself will also cease to function….. So, failing death, we should be thankful that we have such wonderful tools as our bodies and minds with which we get to experience life in this reality.
And so the question remains: How Can I Control My Mind? I realize that many of us want to meditate and achieve peace, and we can’t if our minds are unceasingly chattering away, which is not what we want them to do.
The best answer is……
…….we need to create a distance, or space, between us and our minds. And we can do this because just as we are not our thoughts or our emotions, neither are we our minds.
And once we achieved some space we will know that the current functioning of our minds is not actually a problem. After all, we don’t complain when our lungs continue to breathe, our stomachs continue to digest food, our kidneys continue to work as designed…. we even appreciate that these functions continue to happen while we are meditating! So why do we have a problem when our minds are doing what they are designed to do?
Our out-of-control mind is a problem only when we think it is a problem!
The problem is us thinking that our minds need to be doing something different from what they are doing. Many people believe that the purpose of meditation is to have no thoughts, however, it’s more of a process that allows us to become aware of our thought processes and to practice detachment from them.
This may be easier to understand with an example: Imagine you are stuck in a traffic jam and you are late for an important event. Being directly involved in this event will naturally cause anxiety and stress for most people. However, if we can create some distance/space between us and the event, we have the opportunity to experience it differently.
So, instead of being on the ground, in your car, stressed out and frustrated because events are not unfolding in the desired way, imagine if you were viewing the event from a distance. What if you were in a hot air balloon, gently being supported by the warm air currents far above the event? Do you think you would be feeling the same way about what is happening?
I know you may think the two events are not the same, and yes you are correct. But how we choose to view the events of our lives (like sitting for meditation) is a choice we can make…… and we can choose to be ‘in the thick of uncontrollable traffic’ or ‘separated and floating above it.’
How can we choose to be at peace with the activity in our minds?
We know that it is possible to achieve a relaxed state of being while in a potentially stressful situation because many other people can do it! And they are not superhuman or have any different mind structures to us. However, they do have a different thought process than we do. Their thoughts, whether due to early life programming or by learned habits, enable them to remain at peace in situations that can stress others of us out.
Therefore, the difference is in the choices we are making…. or the choice we are left with (subconscious mind chatter) by failing to choose to be a proactive conscious thinker.
If we want to live better life experiences, or just meditate with a peaceful mind, we must understand something about our existence. And that is this:
……our minds (and bodies) are something so amazing, so fantastic, and so extraordinary, that WE CAN DECIDE HOW WE ARE GOING TO THINK AND FEEL ABOUT THE EVENTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF OUR LIVES. In other words, we can choose to be stressed out so we end up wondering How Can I Control My Mind, OR we can view the contents of our minds with some distance (non-attachment) and enjoy the show, the continuing unfolding game of life 🙂
One way creates suffering (attachment to wanting to control our minds) and the other way (non-attachment) brings a sense of peace and overall wellbeing. And when we are at peace, our minds are no longer a problem. They then take their rightful place as our best friend, as a tool that we use to our advantage to create amazing lives for ourselves.
How would I sum up what I think about having a mind that is ‘out of control?’
We all have minds that are constantly producing thoughts. However, this natural process of the mind carrying out its proper functioning is not a problem for everyone, just some of us.
The difference in how we each relate to the content that our minds are producing determines if our mind needs to be ‘controlled’ or not.
If we are producing thoughts that are satisfying and supporting our basic needs for a great life, then we will not consider our mental chatter to be a problem.
However, if our minds are producing chatter that conflicts with our wants, needs, and desires, then we consider our minds to be a problem that needs to be fixed.
And the way to fix it, or to ‘control’ (still don’t like that word) our minds, is to first become aware of the chatter they are producing. The best way to do this is to sit quietly, without distraction, and to just observe our mental chatter, without judgment…… learning to meditate is the best way to achieve this!
We will discover that the majority of the content is coming from our subconscious programming….it is information that is already programmed into us and is part of the habitual chatter that continues when our minds are not actively focused on something else.
The way to reduce (now) and eliminate (over time) the chatter that we determine to be an out-of-control mind, is to become detached from it (float above and observe it.)
And with practice, we can replace the unwanted chatter with thoughts that we desire to be thinking about…. thoughts that align with our goals and dreams for a better, improved, life.
And by learning to focus on what we want, even if it is a quieter, more relaxed mind, we can begin the journey to achieving it. Because all things, including thoughts, are just energy vibrating, and…..
“Every Thought Is Attracting Its Vibrational Essence… Whether you are thinking about wanted things or unwanted things, you are still sending out a “request” to attract more things like the subject of your thought. And all things that happen to you – all people, things, experiences, situations that come to you – come in response to your Vibrational invitation.” – Abraham Hicks
So, practice choosing your thoughts wisely, and you will slowly but surely transform your life into the wonderful experience you desire it to be!
Shared with love and respect for all souls who choose to play the game of life,
10 thoughts on “How Can I Control My Mind? (Stop Unwanted Chatter and Achieve Peace)”
I am so excited to read your article.
A few years ago, I was the person reading every article on the internet that how to control your mind. I was trying to fight with my mind and tried every solution provided on the internet. Later I realized it’s not something that I could fight over.
I just set free myself and filled with positive thoughts instead of negative.
With practice, I am able to turn negative situations into positive ones by filling my mind with good and positive thoughts. When I read your article I could relate.
Also, meditation is one of the greatest weapons to achieve peace of mind.
I am curious to read other articles of yours.
Thanks for sharing this wonderful piece.
Welcome to my website, and I’m happy you got some value from reading my article.
All too often we hear about people fighting to control their minds when the problem isn’t our minds, but just how we are using them.
If we were walking down the road and our feet decided to go in different directions, would we accept that…. no, because it would be impossible to get to where we wanted to go. If we were swimming in deep water and our arms decided they were bored and didn’t want to continue stroking, would we accept that? No…. because we would drownd.
So, we have control over our bodies and generally accept that the limbs of our bodies will do what we tell them to do because this is what they have learned from us over the years.
Why don’t we apply the same logic to our minds? They are only out of control because we have not paid enough conscious attention to them. If we have been more of a conscious thinker/creator throughout our past, we would not have a problem with how our minds are performing now.
Yes, meditation is a great tool to learn about how our minds are currently functioning, to decide what it is we want to achieve, and then to bring our thoughts and goals into correct alignment so that we set about achieving our goals.
I hope to see you again soon, and wish you a great day,
I think this is an art that gets better with time if you consistently practice it. I have become aware of my thoughts over time and it is the feeling like you can control them. What you are talking about here is very practical and possible. If one is not careful you can become captive to your mind and it is devastating to live like that.
Being aware of one’s thoughts is the gateway to happiness. I practice it in everyday situations. Let’s say I have a conversation with a friend and something my friend said was not clear to me. My thoughts will probably rush and say “oh that was not cool, why would she say that, she’s not nice” and go over that again and again and feel miserable for the entire time.
Instead, I have learned over time like you are saying here, that what you feed your mind is what you get. What I will say to my mind now is if I didn’t understand it, it’s not worth going over. I might have to say that to myself a few times when the thoughts present again, but that is it. Next time I see my friend I will ask for clarification if necessary otherwise I am good. It works for me all the time. Thank you for writing about such an important topic.
Hi Angee 🙂
Thanks for sharing an example from your own experience, one that works in the real world.
I know personally and also from talking with many others, how we can get caught up thinking a certain way about stuff that happened or something someone said, and we can be totally off track! AND the worst part is that it can lead us into negativity when none was intended.
I like your sensible approach, and like all wise people, you look to the source of your interpretation of events…. which is how you experienced it within your mind. Really this is the only sensible thing to do because it is within our minds that we will find the remedies to our problems.
Thank you for your contribution. It is most welcomed.
I wish you a happy day, every day,
Thank you for this text that reveals the power of our minds and our thoughts.
It is amazing how much power and influence our thoughts have on our lives. Psychology is something I have always been interested in but this goes beyond its limits. Practically, we can make heaven or hell out of our lives. It’s all in us! And really Andrew, I’ve noticed that I react differently to stressful situations when I control my thoughts by not letting them terrorize me. And that is the whole philosophy of a happy life. Reject or at least limit the negative thoughts that attack us most often for no reason.
The courses and exercises you suggest look very useful and I will definitely give them a try. Thank you for helping, that means especially in these stressful and bad times. Keep going on.
All the best,
You are right. Heaven and hell are places that exist here and now, within our minds. And where we are living is a choice we are making with every thought we have.
Haha! It’s a wise choice not to think thoughts that terrorize you….. and yes it makes a huge difference to the quality of your life…. so why wouldn’t you choose better feeling thoughts?
You are definitely in a good mental space, and from here, once we are aware of, and learn to choose our thoughts more wisely, our lives can only ever get better.
I wish you a happy and fulfilling life,
“Many people believe that the purpose of meditation is to have no thoughts, however, it’s more of a process that allows us to become aware of our thought processes and to practice detachment from them”
This got to me.
I used to think that not being stressed out by a situation that’s beyond my control is to stop panicking/thinking too much about it. Turns out, it is by being intentional with my thoughts and determining how I want to feel about a particular situation, which in turn brings a sense of peace and allows me to better navigate the process and make better decisions. That way, I am not ruled by my panicky mindset, but by a clearer mind that is filled with the kind of thoughts I want to bring into existence, in essence, the solutions or helpful thoughts.
Thank you for such an insightful post on how to better channel our minds to helpful and better thoughts.
As with most things in life, there is always more than one answer. And regarding meditation, there are many different answers as to what is the purpose of meditation.
When I try and understand the questions I have, I always gravitate to the answers that will return the most benefit for me. And of course, as we grow and evolve ourselves, our understanding of the ‘problems’ and the solutions also change.
And because of this, there is no one absolute answer that is going to suit everyone because we all have a different understanding of life and are in different stages of our life cycles. By this, I mean that an older woman from America may have a different reason and expectations for meditating than a young novice monk from Tibet.
Generally speaking, the desire to control our minds comes from the knowing that we are not living our lives as well as we could and we want to be able to better use our resources (including our minds) to improve our lives. And since the quality of our lives is determined by the way we are feeling, it is our feelings that we wish to improve….. and this is achieved by thinking better feeling thoughts…… therefore, if we can learn to detach our emotions from the thoughts that make us feel not-so-good, and direct the incredible power of our conscious minds to generating good-feeling-thoughts, we will create a better life for ourselves….. Simple?
I wish you all the best, my friend,
Being mindful and aware of your thoughts is certainly a great way to feel calm.
I suffer from anxiety at times and the idea of visualizing yourself floating above a problem sounds perfect.
I often catch myself thinking about past mistakes and understand how these thoughts attract similar energy. Fortunately, I’m aware of that and tell myself to focus on the positives!
Being aware of when we are in a negative frame of mind is the first step to being able to pull ourselves out of it. So, good for you!
The sooner we can recognize when we are falling into a negative state, the sooner we can proactively change our thoughts and turn them around to create a positive state of feeling.
I’m sure that none of us want to wake up in the morning and say, ‘today I’ll going to do my best to feel bad all day!’ However, once something happens to bring us down or put us in a negative feeling state, often we will allow it to drag on a lot longer than it should….. and when we do this, we are the ones that suffer!
And since being mindful of our thoughts and feelings is the way we monitor the quality of our lives, it’s beneficial for us to notice what thoughts we are having and how they are making us feel…. then our priority should be to do our best to make sure we think thoughts that make us feel good, as often as possible!
Have a great day, Kathy