How do you control your thoughts?

Our thoughts travel along a river of consciousness. You can become aware of a thought as it arises and as it eventually passes by. In the same way that you can sit by a stream and watch leaves float by, you can become aware of your thoughts as they come and go.

Instead of being actually in the river with your thoughts and hopping from one to another, absorbing them as they come, we need to stand on the riverbank, perhaps on a hill with a bit of distance and therefore a better perspective, and watch the thoughts flow through your consciousness. Be interested in how fast the river flows; is it a gentle river with a gentle rhythm – are your thoughts occasional and gentle? Or is it more like rapids – with your thoughts firing at you, fast and furious, often piling over and into each other? You might be frantically trying to keep up with the fast pace, feeling like you are drowning with the speed of your thinking.

Next, as you ‘thought watch’, study the themes that you notice. What do the patterns from these passing thoughts tell you about yourself and your issues? For example, are you frequently having negative thoughts comparing yourself with others? What does this theme tell you about your own lack of confidence? Do you notice that these thoughts are not triggered when you are with a different group of people? What does it say about you, if you feel different with this other group? Why do you feel more comfortable with them or more confident about yourself? What are your issues here? What are your patterns? What do you know about yourself from this? Just watching your thoughts gives you all the information you need to study yourself.

Your next skill to work on is how to choose to engage in your thoughts, or let them pass by. You can in fact choose. Learn how.

Wish you well, take care.


Dr Kirsten Hunter

Dr Kirsten Hunter is a Clinical Psychologist of 22 years. She works with children, teenagers, adults and couples.

Kirsten has written 6 DIY psychology books (Signposts for Living) and 4 Child Psychology picture books (SQUISH Series).

Kirsten is the mother to 5 beautiful boys. Alongside her husband Jon, she loves scuba diving and getting lost in nature.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive Psych wisdom, advice and encouragement once a month.

"The Skills we need are not just common sense, we need to learn them from somewhere"

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This