how to prevent your mind from wandering

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Wandering in the negative territory

James should have showed up 30 minutes ago, what happened?
Is he OK? Could an accident have happened to him?
What if he didn't show up? How is the band going to perform without him?
Will we cancel the Event? And how are we gonna explain this to the audience?
And what will happen to our careers when people talk about this incident?
Will our feature as a band be ruined?
What will.....huh.....James?? Where have you been?

Do these thoughts seem familiar? Of course they do! How many times your brain started wondering in the negative territory only to find out that your worries weren't rational?

Do you know who is the one who can deceive you the most? Its not your enemy or your bad friend but its your own mind for if you didn't learn how to control it then it will control you.

How to prevent your mind from wandering

Of course you do know how you feel like when such thoughts take over your brain and how your day becomes like. In order to prevent your mind from wandering in this negative direction you need to do the following:

  • 1) Monitor your thoughts: Most people have brains that run on the autopilot mode. They just feel bad all of a sudden without knowing what went wrong. The first step to be in control of your emotions is to monitor your thoughts and keep them under the radar. (see also Why do my emotions change so fast?)
  • 2) Reply back to your mind: Before our emotions change our thoughts have to change. In other words if you managed to stop your thoughts your emotions won't change. But the problem is, those thoughts come out randomly, how can they be controlled? you just need to reply back to your mind when it sends you a negative thought. For example : what happened to James? (Your reply: he must be on his way, its so normal that people arrive 30 minutes late).
  • 3) Find facts when possible: This kind of wandering happens for one main reason which is that you don't have solid facts. Our minds can't rest when we have missing information that's why we keep creating scenarios in our heads whenever we can't figure out what's going on. In some cases collecting the missing information might be possible and thus you should do your best to get such information for it can end this kind of wandering (see also How to hypnotize someone during a conversation)

Why do some people worry more often?

Worrying is just a habit that can be learned or unlearned. Just like some people lose their temper fast some people start jumping to negative conclusions when they can't get a hold of solid facts.

Our brains doesn't have a constant structure but this structure changes as we learn new skills. Just like you can learn tennis and change your brain structure a bit you can also learn how to worry fast and change your brain structure as well.

When you change your brain structure it becomes easier to do the same thing you learned. This is why people who worry often keep worrying often. In fact each time worrying becomes easier for those people.

The only way to stop this cycle is to learn how to not worry and apply what you learned for sometime until your brain structure changes again and makes it less easier for you to worry.

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