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You’ll Regret It If You Haven’t Done These 30 Things Before 30

You’ll Regret It If You Haven’t Done These 30 Things Before 30

Everyone has a bucket list. These days though, that isn’t enough. Indeed, there are now a bunch of things you should do not only before you die, but before you reach the ripe old age of 30. Here are a few I was able to whip up:

1. Go to college.

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    Though it can be expensive, going to college is definitely worth the investment. You’ll make friends, acquire connections, and be around (moderately) smart people all day, every day. The younger you do it, the better. While it’s possible to launch your college career at 30 (and I’m not discouraging you), there’s no question you’ll have more energy to deal with the trials and tribulations of university life when you’ve got all that youthful energy to work with.

    2. Watch Doctor Who.

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      Ah, Doctor Who, one of the best science fiction shows in existence! This is a show that can change your entire perspective towards life (for the better) if you give it a chance, especially if you’re still an impressionable teenager. Plus, it’s the longest running sci-fi series ever, so if you start watching it as a youngster, it’ll probably still be there for you to enjoy once you’re middle aged or older.

      3. Start a workout regimen.

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        People who are fit later in life started making the right choices at a young age. If you build the foundation in your teens and twenties, finding the time to go exercise for 45 minutes a day is a relatively easy task. Once your fitness plan becomes part of your routine, you’ll find it difficult to live without it. I’d outline the benefits of this, but they’re pretty self-explanatory.

        4. Play video games.

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          Not to lecture the baby boomers among us, but a lot of problems would be solved in today’s world if people found the time to play video games. They improve your reaction times, allow you to become familiar with all kinds of technologies, and introduce you to fantastical stories and worlds. Don’t miss out on one of the best inventions of the last century; pick up a controller today!

          5. Read a history book.

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            As a history major, I’m probably biased in suggesting this, but oh well! It angers me how the majority of people reference the past in vague platitudes that are no more accurate than your favorite Greek myth. Start educating yourself at an early age, and learn the truth. You’ll be amazed how often you catch politicians and pundits lying once you’ve read actual historical sources!

            6. Get a smartphone!

            6-2

              Yup, I added an exclamation point. These little devices are pretty much a necessity if you want to take advantage of everything life has to offer. They boost your productivity, social networking potential, and familiarity with technology by a bucket load, so it’s best to become acquainted with them before you reach the three decade mark.

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              7. Build a computer.

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                In today’s world it’s useful to know how computers work, inside and out. While you don’t have to be a programming expert, you should at least be able to open up your desktop tower and know what you’re looking at. I’m by no means a math and science oriented person, but it’s still useful to be able to do these things without having to rely on ridiculously overpriced services like Geek Squad. Why do this before hitting 30? We live in an age of technology; knowing little things like this can give you the upper hand in the job market. Plus, it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run if you start tinkering early.

                8. Fire a gun.

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                  Before I get gun activists yelling at me, I swear I have a good reason for putting this here. I didn’t fire a gun until I went to a range a couple of years ago, and while it didn’t make me an ammo-spewing maniac, it did teach me to respect how powerful these things are. If anything, you should get a sense of the damage they can do in order to better understand the ongoing US Second Amendment debate as an adult.

                  9. Find a best friend.

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                    I’m an introvert, so I couldn’t care less about having tons of friends. All you really need are two, three, or even just one best friend to make the world a brighter place. These sorts of relationships are more easily forged when young, and they’ll last a lifetime.

                    10. Write a fictional story.

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                      I know most people hate writing, but hear me out on this one. Everyone should try writing a piece of fiction when they are young and imaginative, not only because it’s fun but because you’ll develop your writing skills (which most people neglect nowadays). Additionally, you may be surprised at what you come up with.

                      11. Read or watch the news.

                      11-2

                        I lectured baby boomers once in this article and now I’ll do the same to millennials. While the news is usually boring and/or extremely biased, it’s nice staying up to date on current events. It’ll also help when talking to older people, since they appreciate when us young folks are aware of all the important (and unimportant) things happening around the world.

                        12. Watch “Rocky.”

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                          Everyone references this famous underdog flick, but few have actually watched it in its entirety. The original “Rocky” was nothing like the exaggerated stuff that came later with Ivan Drago and Clubber Lang. It was an emotional and gritty tale about a destitute Italian boxer trying to prove his self-worth by accomplishing something that nobody believed he could do. This is the type of Cinderella story everyone needs to see at a young age, especially since we’re living in a time of economic hardship. If nothing else, it will inspire you to finish that paper you need to write!

                          13. Address your own political biases.

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                            Everyone is biased when it comes to politics. That being said, it’s better to know where you stand than to foolishly assume that all of your views are always correct. That is why you should become familiar with whatever political positions go against yours, especially at a young age when you are more open to considering multiple angles. I did this by growing up in a conservative town and attending a super liberal university. While it was a bit jarring going between each, it was a worthwhile experience that helped me attack my own biases and misconceptions.

                            14. Go to a foreign country.

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                              I haven’t done this yet myself, but I’m definitely making it a goal to do it before I hit 30. Why? Mainly because I’ve had several friends who’ve gone, and they each came back to the United States filled with more wisdom and acceptance for other ways of life than they had before. It’s best to do this when you’re young since you still have a moderate amount of freedom to move around, and because there are lots of opportunities to go abroad through colleges.

                              15. Rock out at a concert.

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                                I generally dislike being around people (cue high-functioning sociopath jokes here). That being said, even I enjoy a jaunt to a concert every now and then. You can definitely do this after 30, though I doubt it’ll be as much fun since you more than likely won’t want to be stuck in a writhing mass of young people doing all sorts of strange dance moves.

                                16. Familiarize yourself with a foreign language.

                                16-2

                                  Notice I didn’t say “learn” or “become fluent in,” though that would be nice too. As long as you can become decently acquainted with a language, I’ll give you a pat on the back (or a high five, whichever works). The younger you are, the easier it is to pick languages up, so there’s no excuse not to try!

                                  17. Pull an all-nighter.

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                                    While you could do this at 30 or above, you’ll probably acquire some form of narcolepsy and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone! This is much easier to do when you’re a hip and happening college-aged kid, so do it while you can. I can vouch for the fact that seeing the sun rise twice in a day is pretty sweet.

                                    18. Troll a celebrity on Twitter.

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                                      We all know how self-important celebrities can be. Turns out they’re like that on Twitter, too. Do yourself a favor and try trolling them with a few witty, sarcastic, or borderline rude tweets. Sometimes they’ll reply to you … that is, if you’re good. If you do this before you hit 30 they’ll forgive you for being a crazy kid, past that and you might get hit with a lawsuit.

                                      19. Go on an insanely long hike.

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                                        I’m talking like a six- to twenty-mile odyssey. Preferably one that goes uphill the entire way. You’ll feel accomplished, and you’ll lose so many calories that you can eat whatever you want for a week! By doing this before 30, you lessen the risk of passing out and tumbling down the mountain.

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                                        20. Watch “24.”

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                                          What? You’re under 30 and haven’t watched Jack Bauer shoot down a helicopter with his pistol? Sure, you could watch this fantastic television series when you’re older … but then you’ll miss out on one of the best (and sometimes unintentionally hilarious) shows of the 21st century, and you’ll miss out on all of the cool references at parties. It’s been out since 2001 so you have no excuse!

                                          21. Acquire a taste for coffee.

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                                            Coffee is great. I’m in my twenties and I go through at least three, four, five, sometimes six cups a day. Not only is coffee arguably good for you, it’ll keep you awake while you’re in college or grad school. Let’s face it, you’ll be drinking it later in life regardless, why not start while you’re young so that you can take advantage of its magical powers now?

                                            22. Get lost while driving.

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                                              This will probably happen regardless of you reading this list or not, but still, in the case that your GPS never messes up (unlike mine), turn it off one day and go explore. When you’re young, you have the time to do random stuff like this; plus, you have an excuse to get lost since you have no life experience yet and folks will understand (right?).

                                              23. Learn some astronomy.

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                                                This could be a class you take in college, or something you do on your own time. Either way, learning about space (the final frontier) is an awesome experience. Looking up into the night sky and seeing all of the stars is humbling, and makes you forget your earthly issues. This sensation only becomes more powerful once you know exactly what you’re looking at. This is better to do in your formative years so that you can use your youthful vigor to demand more funding for NASA. (Yes, I am biased!)

                                                24. Don’t listen to conventional wisdom.

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                                                  As a young person, you’re often told by others that you can’t or shouldn’t follow your dreams because of X or Y. Don’t listen to all of that jazz. They’ve never been in your shoes, and there’s no way things can turn out too badly if you put enough effort into what you’re doing. You only have one shot to live life the way you want to, so don’t miss your chance!

                                                  25. Get yourself organized!

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                                                    My mom is an elementary school teacher, and she always talks to me about how one of the main skills they teach kids is how to keep their lives in order. Evidently this is an issue even amongst college-aged kids (as I can attest to). So, fix this by injecting a little bit of OCD into your life at an early age. Keep post-its, uh, posted around your desk to remind you of things you need to do. Use the reminders app on your iPhone. Keep a planner, and update it regularly.

                                                    26. Stop drinking soda.

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                                                      It was tough, but when I was around 16 I cut myself off from soda for good. At first I couldn’t fathom drinking plain old water or iced tea at restaurants or at home, but over time I got used to it, and eventually acquired a taste for it. Nowadays, all of that high-fructose corn syrup in soda is overwhelming (read: disgusting) to my taste buds. Get started on quitting the sweet stuff before 30, and you’ll be healthier for the rest of your life.

                                                      27. Take a theater class!

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                                                        I always hated theater in junior high and high school. As a senior in college, I discovered that I had room in my schedule to take an intro to theater class, and while I was fearful at first, I begrudgingly enrolled because I wanted to broaden my horizons. I knew I made the right choice after the first day of class. Take this when you’re young because you’ll learn valuable lessons about interacting with people, how to lose your stage fright, and stuff like that. I also got a girlfriend out of the class so I really can’t complain!

                                                        28. Become a leader.

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                                                          People generally shy away from leadership positions. I’m no exception. That being said, as I did with theater, I bit the proverbial bullet and took on a leadership role in college to get over my fears. Turns out I wasn’t so bad at it! Everyone should have some sort of experience directing things while they’re young; you’ll become more of an independent thinker and won’t take as much crap when you’re older.

                                                          29. Move out of your parents’ house.

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                                                            Sure, sticking around with Mom and Dad will save you tons of money. By the time you’re 29 though, you should really start thinking about getting your own place, not only for your own sake but for your parents’, who by that point are probably fantasizing about being empty-nesters day and night.

                                                            30. Cook your own meals for a week.

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                                                              Most Americans go out to eat more than they make their own meals (no, I don’t have a statistic, but I’m probably right). In college I had to cook for myself regularly, and while it wasn’t always pretty, I became quite creative with what I was putting on the plate. Plus, it’s good practice for when you’re older and need to stick to a strict budget (eating out is so expensive). It’s far easier to choose to cook your own dinner when you know how to make things that are actually (mostly) edible!

                                                              Did I miss something? I probably did since I based most of these on my own life experiences. Let me know some of the things you think we should all do before 30 in the comments below!

                                                              Featured photo credit: Sign_30_1702.JPG/MorgueFile via mrg.bz

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                                                              Last Updated on July 3, 2020

                                                              How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                              How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                                                              Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

                                                              Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

                                                              I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

                                                              You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                                              Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

                                                              When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                                              I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                                              Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                                              Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

                                                              If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                                              Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

                                                              1. The Inner Critic

                                                              This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                                                              • Other people’s words—many times your parents
                                                              • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
                                                              • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
                                                              • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                                              The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

                                                              Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                                              2. The Worrier

                                                              This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

                                                              The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                                                              3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

                                                              This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                                                              This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                                              The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

                                                              4. The Sleep Depriver

                                                              This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                                              The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                                                              • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                                              • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                                              • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
                                                              • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                                              How can you control these squatters?

                                                              How to Master Your Mind

                                                              You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                                              Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                                              There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                                              • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                                              • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                                              This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

                                                              The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

                                                              Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                                              1. For the Inner Critic

                                                              When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                                              You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                                              For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                                                              You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

                                                              “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                                              If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

                                                              This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                                              • They rile up the Worrier.
                                                              • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                                              • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                                              • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                                              • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                                                              Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                                              Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                                              2. For the Worrier

                                                              Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                                              Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

                                                              You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                                              • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                                              • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                                              • Muscles tense

                                                              Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                                              If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                                              Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                                              “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                                              Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                                              If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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                                                              Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

                                                              Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                                                              For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                                              “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

                                                              Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                                              Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                                              “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                                              Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                                              3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                                              Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                                              The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

                                                              I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                                              Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                                              Breathe in through your nose:

                                                              • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                                              • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                                              • Focus on your belly rising.

                                                              Breathe out through your nose:

                                                              • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                                              • Focus on your belly falling.
                                                              • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                                              Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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                                                              One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                                                              Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                                              4. For the Sleep Depriver

                                                              (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                                              I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                                              Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                                              1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                                              2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                                              When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

                                                              From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                                              For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                                              If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                                              You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                                              • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
                                                              • Shut down your thinking
                                                              • Calm your feelings
                                                              • Simply focus on the present moment

                                                              The Bottom Line

                                                              Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

                                                              You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                                              Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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