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Can you control your mind?

Can you control your mindI’m a very seasoned flyer, but when we came back from a family holiday in Barbados last month, we hit some unexpected turbulence that was so bad, it scared even me.

All around me people were crying and panicking, and I thought for a minute that this might be the end. But after a short while I took hold of my thoughts and calmed myself down, thinking about the facts, that I had an enormous chance of being just fine, and remembering that if not, there was nothing I could do about it!

I’m pretty good at thought control. It’s something I’ve learned since I started coaching, and it came in very handy this time. Soon I was relaxed, listening to some music and feeling very grateful for life and the beautiful holiday we’d just had, while my neighbour was still being calmed down by a stewardess long after the bad patch was over.

Mind control is a valuable tool in life and business, and it’s something everyone can learn once you realise that you have power over your thoughts. They are just thoughts, and if you want to, you can choose to think other thoughts. Here’s how you do this:

Step 1: Awareness
Be aware that fear (or worry or anything else for that matter) is just a thought. It’s fine to be scared during dreadful turbulence or when you’re just about to fall off a cliff – that’s real! But unless you’re in imminent danger, remember that your fear is just a thought that lives inside your head.

Step 2: Realise you can change your thoughts
Once you’re aware that what you’re feeling is just a thought, you then need to believe that you can change that thought. Don’t think you can? Of course you can, you change thoughts all the time. If you were worried about your cashflow, but then the police knocked on the door to say your spouse had been in an accident, you’d immediately forget about the cashflow and focus on your spouse. A bit of an extreme example maybe, but it gets the point across.

Step 3: Just do it.
It sounds so simple, and that’s because it is. Whenever you feel overwhelmed with a negative emotion (fear, worry, sadness), just stop thinking about the bad things and think about something else instead. Keep doing that each time your negative thoughts try to creep back and threaten to take over.

The other thing to do is to trust in your ability to deal with whatever comes your way. Bad things do happen of course but there’s no point in worrying about what hasn’t happened – and might never do. Of course you need to think about reality and take precautions and actions to avoid problems, that’s a different story. But worrying about things or making things up in your mind is never the way out of problems. Taking action and getting on with it is.

And if you hit a spot of turbulence on your travels? Don’t worry, statistics show we’re far more likely to be in a car accident than an aeroplane one. Now there’s a thought…

2 Responses to Can you control your mind?

  1. Paul Randall July 13, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

    Great post Inge! May I offer a tip? I write down my worries/anxieties and look for routes to help me plan and put solutions into action. at least writing it down enables me to deal with any issues clearly which certainly helps my mind focus on more fun things! 🙂

    • Inge Dowden July 14, 2016 at 11:14 am #

      Thanks Paul, writing things down is always a good idea as it helps you work things out.

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