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Last Updated on February 9, 2021

31 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind Immediately

31 Simple Ways to Free Your Mind Immediately

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:

1. Forgive

Forgiving another person (or yourself) can help you to move on from the past and release yourself from negative emotions and thoughts.

Here’re some tips to help you:

2. Meditate

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.

You can also check out this beginner’s guide: How Do You Meditate? 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

3. Exercise

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.

Learn how to let go of what you can’t change: How to Learn to Let Go of What You Can’t Control

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5. Be Mindful

Being mindful is the practice of focusing the mind on everyday actions that you might normally do on autopilot. By practicing 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: How to Stop Feeling Guilty and Free Your Mind

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: How to Stop Caring What People Think and Focus on Your Needs

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.

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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

20. Dance!

Move your body and let go of what you think you look like! This is guaranteed to alter your mood and free your mind.

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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.

22. Daydream

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.

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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.

Here’s How to Create a Habit of Continuous Learning for a Better You.

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.

Try these 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

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

More by this author

Jennifer Smith

Life Coach & Personal Growth Blogger

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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