At times, you might have thoughts that you would rather not have, such as persistent worries, little niggles, or recurring concerns that don’t go away. Often, the more you try to free your mind from these thoughts, the more persistent they become. For example: try not to think about a big pink elephant. Chances are the more you concentrate on not thinking about the elephant, the more your mind will actually focus on that image. This is because the mind is not good with focusing on “not doing” something.
The best way to free your mind from unwelcome or unwanted thoughts is to engage it with other thoughts or to remove or resolve the cause of the thoughts you are having. Here are 31 ways that you can free your mind immediately:
Forgiving another person (or yourself) can help you to move on from the past and release yourself from negative emotions and thoughts.
Meditation has been used for thousands of years to clear and free the mind. Doing so doesn’t have to involve burning candles and sitting in the lotus position; it can simply be sitting comfortably, allowing thoughts to enter your mind and pass through without engaging in them. Doing this for as little as ten minutes can be enough to free your mind from persistent or annoying thoughts.
Exercising focuses the body on its physical requirements and takes your attention off your mind. Exercise also releases endorphins and lowers cortisol, often bringing about a more positive and happier mood.
4. Let Go of the Past
Letting go of the past allows you to focus on the here and now, and also helps you choose more empowering thoughts.
5. Be Mindful
Being mindful is the practice of focusing the mind on everyday actions that you might normally do on autopilot. By practising mindfulness, the mind concentrates on the task at hand rather than thoughts and feelings you might prefer not to have.
6. Practice EFT
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is something that can be learnt quickly (in a matter of minutes) and can help you to feel better immediately. EFT is often also called “tapping”. EFT involves verbalising the problem or issue in hand whilst using an affirmation phrase and tapping energy points on the body.
7. Stop Feeling Guilty
Guilt is an emotion that, when left unchecked, can escalate and leave you feeling trapped and powerless. Practice noticing when you feel guilty and find ways to let go of guilty feelings.
8. Smile and Laugh
Research shows that you will feel better for smiling and laughing, even when you don’t feel like it! Your brain registers the movements of the muscles in your face when you smile and then releases hormones and chemicals that make you feel good. Your improved emotions will make it easier to change how you are thinking.
9. Watch a Funny Film
Watching a funny film is a great way to escape reality! Just taking time out to immerse yourself in another world via a film is often enough to break the cycle of over-thinking.
10. Stop People-Pleasing and Approval-Seeking Behaviors
Many people are people-pleasers or approval junkies, but engaging in these behaviours ultimately leaves you feeling trapped, as though you are living your life for others. Notice when you are engaging in these behaviors and start practicing living life for you.
11. Just Do It!
Do one thing today that scares you or that you’ve been putting off. Your mind will be brought into sharp focus by the adrenaline your body produces.
12. Declutter Your Physical Possessions
A calming environment free from clutter can help you get into a more relaxed state of mind. Without the distraction of clutter around, you are freer to let your mind focus on more positive thoughts.
Check out this guide on how to declutter: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)
13. Visualize Yourself as the Person You Want to Be
Think of someone you admire and imagine how they would handle the thoughts you are having. Then visualize yourself acting in the same way.
14. Make the Decision to Let Go of Toxic Relationships and Nourish Positive Connections
Unhealthy relationships can lead to negative thoughts and stressful states. Nourishing positive relationships will enrich your life, filling your mind with more positive thoughts and memories.
15. Do One Thing Every Day to Work Towards a Dream
Everything starts with the first step. Identify your goal and the changes needed and take the decision to take that first leap: you’ll soon be on your way to achieving your dreams rather than just thinking about them.
16. Try Hypnosis
Hypnosis is a proven therapy that enables your subconscious thoughts to influence your unconscious and conscious thoughts and feelings. Hypnotherapy can improve and resolve issues in your life and free your mind of worries and concerns.
17. Notice the Hobbies or Activities You Enjoy so Much That You Lose a Sense of Time
Do these more often! Engaging in a pastime you enjoy helps to promote a more mindful and meditative state of mind. This state allows the mind to relax and mindfully focus on the pursuit being undertaken, replacing other thoughts that may be occupying your mind.
18. Let Go of Regrets
To let go of regrets, you could write a letter to yourself or make a list and then burn or throw it into a stream as a ritual of letting the regrets go.
19. Practice Self-Love
Honor yourself and your choices and let go of self criticism and judgement: 30 Ways To Practice Self-Love And Be Good To Yourself
Move your body and let go of what you think you look like! This is guaranteed to alter your mood and free your mind.
21. Spend Time Alone
Get used to your own company and enjoy just “being” without the need for constant company, entertainment, or being busy for its own sake.
22. Try something new
Try something new; maybe a new hobby or even a new meal choice. Mix things up and get out of your usual way of doing things.
Allow yourself time to daydream regularly. This is so good for the soul!
23. Let go of Labels
Notice when you are defining yourself by external labels and let them go.
24. Become Less Attached
What are you attached to? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying things in life, but when you become attached, you rely on something external to make you happy, which traps the mind.
25. Let Go of Guilt
Guilt is a strong emotion that can become overwhelming and all-consuming. Look at addressing what you feel guilty about, and see how you can either resolve the issues you feel guilty about, or how you can be more compassionate towards yourself.
26. Practice Gratitude
Being grateful allows you to live in the present and see the blessings in front of you right now. Here’re 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For.
27. Read Inspirational Stories
Reading about people and events that inspire you can help put your thoughts into a different context.
28. Find Like-Minded and Positive People
When you spend time with positive and like-minded people, you spend more of your time in the moment instead of over-thinking or analyzing yourself.
Learn more about this here: The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You
29. Make a Commitment to Keep Learning
Learning helps you to expand your mind, which can help you achieve a more enlightened and informed point of view.
30. Use Positive Affirmations
You are affirming all the time by the way you think and talk. “Things never go my way” is a negative affirmation, for example. You could replace such a thought with a positive affirmation such as “things are working out perfectly”.
Using positive affirmations helps you to make better choices and see things from a different and more positive perspective.
31. Practice Putting Yourself in Other People’s Shoes
Reading, listening, and discussing opinions different from your own can open your mind and help you to see life from different perspectives. This can be particularly freeing if you are stuck in thinking about certain things in a particular way.
Featured photo credit: Sage Friedman via unsplash.com