Posted by: Greta Jaeger | October 12, 2009

Control Your MIND Part 1

Controling Your MIND
Part 1:

Recently, I received a comment on my blog suggesting that I go into more detail the next time I write about the topic of controlling one’s mind.  By the way, I appreciate the feedback it was motivation.  When I write, I do often tend to remain brief.  However, that is not always best or beneficial, as in this case.  So, in this post, we’ll discuss this topic further.

Learning to control my mind has been a life long struggle for me. I began the process while in college at U.C. Davis.  During this time, I realized I was depressed and had been at least mildly depressed for many years.  While graduating with my Bachelors in Psychology, however, I went to a fabulous therapist. We only had a total of four inspirational sessions together, but they were four sessions that would prove invaluable in my quest for growth.

During the first session, she let me know right off the bat that we didn’t have much time.   “Let’s get to work,” she spoke, “and you need to know right now that you will have to work hard.”  I remember her words and how willing I was to do precisely as she had asked.  The tasks given me were simple, but during that period, they changed my life.  Now, I’m going to share what I learned with you.

Plainly put, here are the initials steps I needed to take.

First – I began journaling daily.  I simply scribbled down whatever came to me in the moment.
Second – I had to learn how to say “no” to my parents to begin establishing my necessary separation from them.
Third – I had to not only start, but also consistently practice, reframing my negative thoughts.

Although I had a good idea, at this point, what “reframing” was all about, I was by no means an expert.  In fact, it took a great deal of time and application before I finally began to master these concepts.  Now, I can share my expertise with you, helping you achieve in a matter of months… or even weeks… what took me years to learn.  I’m here to tell you that, by following some simple steps, you truly can and will become the MASTER of your OWN MIND.

There are two vital things I want you to keep in mind right now – the importance of breath and the art of reframing negative thoughts.  The foundation breath and the ability to reframe our thoughts are two things that help our minds become open to new ideas and new ways of being in the world.  When we stay in a negative state of mind, we stay in a state in which we tend to focus on and seek out negativity within ourselves as well as our environments. We become inept at finding the good side of something even when the positive aspects are obvious. For example, it’s a bright, sunny beautiful day, but instead of enjoying the weather, we only notice the heat and humidity and feel compelled to complain about it.

It becomes a habit to see the negative.  In fact, as humans, our survival instincts are geared this way, to some degree.  The “fight or flight” instinct is one of those innate parts of our make-up that aids us in recognizing danger.  The problem, however, is this.  We’re no longer running from tigers and bears, yet we’re still living life as if we were in survival mode.  People have evolved since the age of hunters and gatherers and our mind has the capacity to control its’ thoughts and reactions.  Learning to reframe your thoughts can help significantly in changing some of these negative thought processes, habits, and behaviors.

Humans have an average of 5,000 to 6,000 thoughts a day.  Most of these are negative or neutral.  The majority of us, through our conditioning, have unconsciously made negativity a habit.  There is good news, though!  If we can become a master at negative thinking, this means that we can also become masters at POSITIVE thinking.  All it takes is practice.

First, we have to learn how to take notice of our thoughts.  Right after you catch a negative thought, practice taking in a nice long deep breath. The next step is one that takes a lot of practice and creativity.  This is the point in which we reframe the negative thought we just caught and turn it into a positive statement.

Here are some examples:

Negative – “I can’t do it.”

Positive – “I can do it.”  Alternatively, you could say, “I can do it. I just haven’t learned how yet.”

Negative – “This sucks, another traffic jam!”

Positive – “Traffic is slow again today.”  Alternatively, “Traffic is slow, giving me a few minutes to practice some deep breathing.”

Negative – “My job sucks.”

Positive – “I’m not enjoying my job right now.”  Alternatively, “I love this part of my job (insert info),” or “I enjoy parts of my job (list them), and some, I don’t.  Can I do anything about the parts I don’t like?”

Sometimes, you’ll notice the reframe still sounds a little negative.  You may have also noticed that the reframe consists of an action statement, the purpose being to drive you towards making a change. In the end, moving forward (doing something) is more positive than sitting in your yucky, sucky, negativity.  Believe it or not, even when we make what appears to be the wrong choice, it is often better than making no choice at all.  If we’re moving, it will shake things up.  I am not advocating that you make bad or unwise choices.  I am simply challenging you, trying to help you understand that until you do make a choice, you will remain stuck.  The easiest choice is to change our thinking, making it either action- oriented and positive or just positive.

When we practice reframing, we must remember that we are not our thoughts and our thoughts do not control us.  We control our thoughts or we choose not to control them.  Do not expect that you will gain instant gratification using these methods.  It takes practice and practice makes permanent, not perfect. Please also remember that if you have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, this is not a replacement for any treatment your doctor is presently administering.  These are supplemental techniques that you can use daily to improve your life.

Please send any questions to:

Please put in the subject line “Question for Coach Greta” or leave a comment on my blog and I will get back to you.

Greta Jaeger, LPC, PLC


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