Help me learn how to control my own mind. How do I stop thinking about things that I shouldn't be thinking about?
posted by tokaidanshi to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
First off, I know this is probably a question best left for my therapist. Unfortunately, I am out of the country for the next two months and am unable to visit a therapist until I get back, so I'm once again turning to the hive mind to help me deal with my own mind.
My mind is often filled with thoughts that are pointless and unhealthy. These have, as of late, centered around a relationship that ended about 5 months ago, but this has been a problem that has dogged me for a long time (maybe most of my adult life?) and in all liklihood was a contributing factor to the end of the aforementioned relationship.
I relive the past, a lot. This sometimes takes the form of me remembering something I wish I hadn't done and just feeling bad about it, but more often than not, it starts with a mistake and then progresses to me thinking about a hypothetical past where I did things the way I wish I'd have done them and everything turns out ok. I'm getting better at catching myself when this kind of thinking starts and telling myself something along the lines of, "hey! get back to the present here, that was then, it happened, you can't change it, and now is now, focus on now," which helps, but it doesn't stop me from falling back into those thoughts later on. I'll often catch the thought, pull myself back into the present only to find myself falling back into the same thought pattern a while later.
When I am successful at drawing myself back into the present, I often start worrying about the future! For example, I'd like to be in a relationship again, but I don't have many opportunities to meet women, and am picky, very picky as well. There are very few women I'm attracted to or feel a connection with. So I start to worry about running out of time (especially since I hit 30) worry that I won't find someone I like as much as my last girlfriend, etc, etc. This is just one example, I also worry about career, education, life path, etc.
The thing is, I know, intellectually, that all of these thoughts are useless. The past is unchangeable, and I've learned the lessons that were there to be learned from my past mistakes, so there is no use in thinking about it any more. I don't know what the future will bring and worrying about it is mostly pointless, I know that. All of these thoughts just distract me from the present and make me lose out on the life I have now, and hamper my ability to work on myself and try to make a better future. I know all of this, but I have a really hard time stopping myself from either ruminating on past mistakes or worrying about the future anyways.
Does anybody know any ways to deal with this? What are some things I can do to center myself in the present, stop thinking about the past and stop worrying about the future. And specifically, what are some ways to stop these thoughts from happening in the first place, if that's at all possible? I am getting better with catching and dealing with these thoughts after they crop up, but they crop up all the time and it gets to be a lot of work to constantly catch them and deal with them.
I try to get as much exercise as my schedule allows, which helps to a point, and I try to stay busy and occupied, but I continue to struggle with this.
As always your suggestions and advice are much appreciated.