Many children and adults deal with unwanted thoughts on a continual basis. These unpleasant thoughts can often detract from school, work and personal relationships. Fortunately, there are some effective strategies that can free the mind from these negative thoughts.
One of the most effective ways to keep unwanted thoughts from plaguing the mind is to not think about blocking them. A concept known as the ironic monitoring theory explains how the mind is more likely to think about the unpleasant thoughts when trying to block them out of the mind. Many negative thoughts are automatically blocked after a while when the mind is not trying to think of ways to stay distracted from them.
Writing unpleasant thoughts on paper is another method to combatting this problem. Putting these ideas on paper can be cathartic for the mind, and seeing them in written form might make them easier to analyze. It is also a good idea to eventually cross off the thoughts on the list that no longer seem overwhelming.
Certain mental disorders also cause people to think of things that are negative. Anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, in particular, often cause the mind to focus on unpleasant thoughts and feelings. Having these disorders treated through therapy can put the mind into a better state and help control thought processes.
Some people have even benefited from scheduling a time during the day to think about unpleasant thoughts. This helps establish a better sense of control over the thoughts, and thinking about them at designated times will likely cause less feelings of anxiety or grief.
Taking proactive steps to keep the mind distracted from unwanted thoughts can be further beneficial. Exercise has been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, and focusing on working out can force the mind to concentrate on the tasks at hand. Other distractions that may be helpful include focusing on work, spending more time with friends and taking up new hobbies.
Blocking out unpleasant thoughts is possible, and some of the best ways to adopt a more positive mindset do not take a lot of extra effort. Gaining control over these thoughts can help anyone live a happier, more fulfilling life.