5 Ways to Control Your Thoughts and Be Happier

Sometimes there is no way: you wake up in a bad mood, the coffee gets bad, the bus delays, only that subject that you did not study, sanduba mayonnaise turned sour, that person takes five hours to answer on WhatsApp, and your mind takes advantage of it all to make you moody, negative thinking and worrying about things that didn't even deserve your energy. Who never?

At such times, it is as if you have the impression that it is impossible to feel happy. The bad news is that this feeling bothers you a little, but the good thing is that this kind of thing happens to everyone and lasts less than you think. If you want to give this process a push and be happy soon, follow these steps - they were taken from Eric Barker's column in Time magazine:

1 - Become an observer of your mind for 5 minutes

Your brain is fantastic, and you probably already know that. It turns out that he likes to confuse events, thoughts, and feelings. Because of this, it sometimes makes you angry and turn a minor event into something that could ruin your entire day. Just to make it worse: this kind of situation happens often.

If it were in a movie, you would be able to recognize the behavioral pattern of the characters and even find it funny that the protagonist could not see what is in front of his nose. The truth is, when it happens to you, it's hard to notice too. When your mind is dancing between negative thoughts, it is common for you to feel bad that you cannot get rid of those thoughts, but if it's any consolation, this is normal and it happens to everyone.

Barker quotes a quote from Nobel laureate psychologist Daniel Kahneman: "Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it." Harvard researcher Daniel Gilbert, an expert in studying happiness, explains that people spend almost 50% of their waking hours thinking about something that goes beyond what they are currently doing.

According to Gilbert, this characteristic of a mind that strays too much rather than thinking about the activity it is currently doing is more likely to produce unhappiness. In this sense, it is important to understand if your mind is always wandering and in a very different place than what you currently live - it is well known that vague thoughts that take us away are usually the cause, not the consequence, of our unhappiness.

2 - You are not your thoughts

One of the functions of your mind is to produce thoughts, and often those thoughts are stupid, which does not mean that you are a stupid person either. Pay attention to what goes through your head and realize that you identify with some things you think about, such as when you hurt the pinky on the edge of your bed and feel angry. The anger you feel, however, is not what defines your personality, right? You must always understand the difference between what you feel and what you really are.

The suggestion here is that you can understand that while feeling angry, which is the feeling we are using as an example, this anger is not what defines you and the decisions you make in your life. Just because some feeling has crossed your mind doesn't mean that it needs to be taken seriously. Recognizing concerns, fears, and frustrations just as natural thoughts and sensations is critical.

3 - Name what you think and feel

Just because your thoughts don't define who you are doesn't mean they're not there, in your little head, creating confusion. Name your feelings. Ever. Is it anger? Is it concern? Is it jealous? Is it fear?

From the moment you name feelings, it becomes simpler to separate them from all that you really are, so that over time it becomes easier to relax and lessen the emotional pressure that some feelings cause us.

“It's like a frame around an image. The idea is not to look at the frame, but it helps us focus our attention so we see the picture more clearly, ”explains Joseph Goldstein. In meditation, this type of exercise is called "observation" and is a practice that anyone can perform.

In scientific terms, it is already proven that naming what you feel is good for your health. In a survey of the subject, a group of participants analyzed the expressions of random people in a series of photographs. At first, participants had the entire brain amygdala region activated, but when they needed to name their emotions, their brain activity was reduced, meaning that recognizing emotions helps lessen the impact these feelings have.

4 - Learn the difference between thinking and making decisions

No, it's not that obvious. When you have emotional thoughts, it is common to find that these thoughts can define who you are, and then start acting on what you think, saying things you don't like, and taking actions that in the long run only bring unhappiness and unhappiness. frustration - impulsives don't let us lie.

It does not mean that it is not cool that you follow your heart and your instincts, but first it is important to train the way you follow your heart to avoid creating more problems.

The point is that we all have motivations and we don't always have to listen to what our instincts tell us, even because our impulses aren't always full of wisdom. Knowing how to discern between productive impulses and those that make us make the wrong decisions can make us have more happy moments than sad ones. Before taking an impulsive attitude, ask yourself the following question: Is this helpful?

From there, you may be able to find out if your near-impulse will bear fruit, contribute to others, help you achieve a specific goal, or just create confusion, conflict, and unease. Discerning one thing from another is a fundamental exercise that will help you make better decisions. At first it is not a very easy exercise to do, but the idea itself is quite simple and can be very useful in your life.

Want an example? Let's say you missed a flight. Your first reaction is to be very angry and possibly act rude to an airline employee. The question here is: will this help? Will losing control and acting uneducated bring the plane back to the airport just to pick you up? Of course not? So it's no use pitting and ruining the whole day because of a fatality.

5 - Have compassion

When we are happy, we can feel compassion more easily and without suffering. When we empathize and put ourselves in someone else's shoes, it is common for us to be hurt, depending on the situation. Still, compassion and empathy make us happier, so it's important to know how to deal with those feelings as well.

When you know well how your mind works, feeling compassion and empathy can no longer cause suffering. It is not always easy to know the suffering of others closely, but when you master your mind more accurately, you can do this exercise without suffering too much and, on top of that, show enough strength to offer help. The more training, the easier.

Can you control your mind and better understand what you think? Comment on the Mega Curious Forum