Can We Control Our Thoughts?

Do We Control Our Thoughts Or Do Our Thoughts Control Us

Embarking on an exploration into the realm of our thoughts often leads us to a pivotal question: Are we the masters of our thoughts, or are they the puppeteers of our actions?

This complex interplay between our thoughts and our sense of control forms the essence of understanding our mental processes.

Let’s journey together to unravel this intricate tapestry of the mind.

Do We Control Our Thoughts Or Do Our Thoughts Control Us?

Are we merely passengers in the journey of our thoughts, or the drivers steering the course? Who holds the reins – us or our thoughts? I invite you to join me in unraveling this mystery, to build a deeper understanding of the delicate dance between control and acceptance in the theater of the mind. This article explores how our perceptions, shaped by past experiences and emotions, tint our thoughts like lenses. We’ll look at the power of emotional intelligence and mindfulness in navigating our thought patterns, challenging the notion of being trapped in autopilot mode!

Let’s first build our understanding of the mind, and then we’ll explore some burning questions!

Understanding the Mind’s Complexity

Unraveling the Challenge of Thought Control

The concept of mastering one’s thoughts is a staple in self-help literature, promising life-altering changes.

Yet, this endeavor is far from straightforward.

Thoughts often emerge unexpectedly, shaped by various external elements, revealing the unpredictability and spontaneity inherent in the human mind.

The Intricacies of Intrusive Thoughts

Intrusive thoughts, while common, can sometimes signal deeper issues, such as anxiety or obsessive rumination.

Understanding the nature and influence of these thoughts is vital for overall well-being.

The Impact of External Stimuli

Research has shown that external factors can spark specific thoughts, highlighting the intricate relationship between an individual’s environment and their mental processes.

The Subconscious Mind’s Role

Studies indicate that our conscious thoughts are often swayed by subconscious predispositions. This discovery challenges the conventional belief in complete thought control.

The Unpredictable Nature of Thoughts

The spontaneous emergence of thoughts often contradicts the idea of personal control over them. This spontaneity is particularly evident in moments of calm or reflection.

The Subconscious Mind at Play

A significant portion of our thought process, especially during sleep, is subconscious and beyond our control, emphasizing the limits of our mastery over the mind.

You might find this article by John A. Bargh published in Scientific American insightful to understanding how our unconscious thoughts and perceptions affect us every waking moment.

The Complexity of Decision-Making

Even conscious decisions have subconscious underpinnings, suggesting that our control over mental processes is not absolute.

While we can guide our focus, complete dominance over all mental activities remains elusive.

If you find it hard to understand why you stay stuck in patterns of emotional reactivity and unhelpful ways of being in a relationship, watch this video!

Reevaluating Our Interaction with Thoughts

Moving Beyond the Master-Slave Dynamic

It’s essential to question the belief in a master-slave dynamic with our thoughts.

Accepting the natural and spontaneous nature of thoughts can lead to a healthier, more accurate understanding of the mind.

Embracing Mindfulness and Meditation

In contrast to the idea of reigning in one’s thoughts, mindfulness and meditation advocate a different approach: embracing and understanding them.

These practices train individuals to observe their thoughts impartially, focusing on comprehension rather than control.

The Concept of Free Will in Universal Consciousness

A growing school of thought suggests that free will is more a function of universal consciousness than an individual trait.

Recognizing this interconnectedness can foster a sense of serenity and contentment, moving the focus from personal control to a broader comprehension of thought processes.

The Myth of Total Thought Control

The Gap Between Societal Norms and Reality

Society often upholds the ideal of thought control, but this can lead to detrimental coping strategies.

Attempts to suppress thoughts can ironically make them more persistent.

The Power of Acceptance and Compassion

Adopting a stance of acceptance and compassion towards one’s thoughts is often more beneficial than trying to control them.

Embracing thoughts without judgment fosters a healthier mental state.

How Can I Control My Mind from Unwanted Thoughts?


Deepening understanding of the body and the mind is key to resolving emotional turmoils.

The constant inner confusion and doubts are a result of our not knowing how to work with the mind.

This is a reel from my Instagram handle @shobhali.innerworkguide.

It shares exactly what it is because of which your mind seems to trouble you so much!

Imagine your mind is like the changing scenes through the window of a moving vehicle where thoughts just go by as the vehicle moves.

Some of these thoughts bring peace and joy, while others carry the burden of anxiety and negativity.

The challenge lies in learning how to gently guide these thoughts without letting them dominate our mental space.

This begins with the power of perception.

Perception: The Lens of Our Thoughts

Our thoughts are colored by our perceptions, shaped by our past experiences, emotions, and deep-seated beliefs. Imagine wearing glasses with lenses tinted by these factors.

To control unwanted thoughts, we must first recognize and adjust these lenses, altering our perspective and emotional responses.

Emotional Wisdom: The Compass for Thought Navigation

Emotional Wisdom (generally referred to as emotional intelligence) is our compass in navigating the seas of our thoughts.

By developing this skill, we become adept at recognizing and managing our emotional triggers and thought patterns.

It’s about gaining the upper hand in the dance with our thoughts, leading rather than following.

Do We Control Our Brain, or Does It Control Us?

Often, we find ourselves in the grip of autopilot mode, where our thoughts flow unchecked, driven by subconscious beliefs and past conditioning.

This automaticity of thought can feel like being adrift in a boat, swayed by unseen currents.

The first step to regaining control is recognizing when we’re on autopilot.

Can We Control Our Subconscious Mind?

Breaking free from ingrained negative thought patterns requires mindfulness and deep self-awareness.

The very word control in this case is an oxymoron. Because here to gain control you need to let go of control!

Through mindfulness, we allow the thoughts to come in and observe them without judgment, becoming the sky that remains vast and unaltered by the clouds of thoughts.

This space of non-judgment allows us to influence our subconscious mind, planting seeds of positivity and growth.

Cultivating a Garden of Positive Thoughts

Controlling our minds involves actively cultivating positive thoughts.

Just like in a garden, there are plants we want, and plants we don’t want that we call weeds.

If you want your garden to flourish, you’ll need to do two things simultaneously – sow and nurture the plants you want, and weed out the ones you don’t want.

Similarly, for your mind garden to flourish, you’ll need to consider what plants you want to sow and nourish.

Practices like affirmations, expressing gratitude, and focusing on positive experiences help shape a more constructive thought landscape in our mind garden.

It’s a conscious effort to nurture the seeds we wish to grow in the garden of our mind.

What to Do When Your Thoughts Control You?

The journey towards thought control is about balance.

While we can steer our thoughts, we must also recognize that not all thoughts can be controlled.

The aim is not to suppress every thought but to cultivate a harmonious relationship with our mental processes.

Embracing the Ebb and Flow of Thoughts

Life, much like our thoughts, is a blend of highs and lows.

Accepting this natural ebb and flow is essential.

We learn that while we can influence our thoughts, giving them space to exist is equally important.

This acceptance reduces internal conflict and brings peace.

The Path to Self-Discovery and Control

Understanding our thoughts is a profound journey of self-discovery, offering insights into our inner workings.

As we engage with our thoughts, we unlock the door to better mental and emotional well-being.

My invitation to you is to continue this adventure with curiosity and openness, learning from the dance of our thoughts and moving from control to flow!

P.S. If you’re ready, Rooted In Chaos is for you if you are not just looking for superficial solutions but are ready to dive deep into your emotional and relational complexities.

Find out more about Rooted In Chaos to see if it’s what you might need right now.

Conclusion: Mastering the Dance with Our Thoughts!

  • The dilemma of controlling our thoughts or not is about that couple dance where the lead alternates!
  • Through mindfulness, emotional wisdom, and deep self-awareness, we can navigate this dance with grace.
  • It’s not about exerting absolute control but about moving in sync with the rhythm of our thoughts.

We are not our mind, but unless we learn how to work with it in the right way our mind will continue to create our reality without consulting with us!

I hope this article has added some perspective for you in your work with your mind 🙂

How do you “control” your thoughts? Have you tried mindfulness or something else? Has it worked for you?

I’d love to hear from you – your experience, questions, doubts, suggestions, everything – bring it on!

P.S. You might appreciate The Ultimate Guide To Happiness as your next read.

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