Mindful Tip #4: Master your mind

Often we find it impossible to switch off our minds. We think, and we think a lot.

However, in some cases, our thoughts can be destructive. While this is completely natural, it's certainly not healthy and most certainly the time step in and deploy strategies to cope with unwanted notions, feelings or opinions.

To help master our mind (and not vice-versa) we love Frederique Murphy's top strategies for overcoming unhelpful thoughts that arise by applying seven “S…” strategies to interrupt that behaviour:

  • Stop: You are the boss, so as simple as this sounds, the first thing you can do is to send a command to yourself, say Stop (STOP!). A direct command, given with a firm order tone, will interrupt the behaviour, like stopping you in your track.
  • Swap: You can replace a negative thought by a positive one; I like to do a double swap, so, not only swap one for another one, but swap one for 2 other ones. Keep a list of positive, happy, healthy, constructive thoughts, and swap away.
  • Store / Share: You can store it AND this is only half of the strategy; remember, you do not want to store it, as in ignore it, you want to store it, and re-access later, by sharing it with a supportive person: a friend, a colleague, a coach, a mentor. Someone with an outside perspective, an objective one, who will help you move forward.
  • Switch: You can do something else: call a friend, watch a movie, go for a walk, a run… there are so many things you can do; here you want to select an activity that you can do straight away, once the negative thought comes in.
  • Shhh: You can go to sleep or meditate, to free your mind; you can either meditate on your own, in silence, or have your favourite music on, or thanks to a relaxation cd /track or, a visualisation, guiding you to think of something else and relax.
  • Speculate: This comes from Dale Carnegie, who said in his How To Stop Worrying And Start Living book, “First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.” So, ask, accept and proceed.
  • Scribe: You can start writing; from head to paper, write about what you are thinking to free your thinking place. Whatever is it that you are thinking as long as it stays in your head, it is a jumbo-mumbo mess (!), so write it down; and write it exactly as you are thinking it.

The way we think directly affects the results we get in life; our thoughts control our actions, which determine our success. So there you have them, seven 'S' Strategies. And, remember: you control your thoughts, do not let your thoughts control you.


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