When I was a teen, I spent a short time focused on controlling my mind. I’d wake up before school and think, “It’s an amazing day. I’m lucky to be alive!” I’d go to school smiling at everyone, drumming up the confidence to chat with each passerby, a bubbly tone to my voice. But it took great effort, and life had its struggles, so I stopped.
And that’s where we all tend to go wrong; we stop striving for constant happiness when it takes too much effort. I believe we’re meant to invest that effort to 24-7 happiness.
Thirty-five years later, I’m back to controlling my mind. And I hope to share what I’ve discovered.
Avoid judging. To be happy, it’s wise not to judge anyone. We gain from overlooking others’ faults, focusing instead on fixing our own faults. It’s helpful to see everyone on a journey, each person’s life lesson unique from our own. Valuing everyone’s journey helps us to never condemn others. And never condemning others leaves us happier.
Love others. It’s also blissful to feel love instead of judgment for every soul. When we feel love, we feel happiness. And when we feel love for every single soul, no matter their circumstances, that feels like fireworks of happiness!
Reframe thoughts. To control our minds it’s important to reframe our thoughts, ensuring we avoid jealousy, anger, frustration, or tension. If someone confronts us with anger, instead of retaliating, we can empathize with that person and dwell on his or her strengths. Or if we feel frustrated after a test, we can seek the positive: every bit of learning, we might think, is gold. Thus, acceptance and appreciation are ideal for training the mind.
Visualize success. Visualizing success also helps us train our minds. We may find value in spending fifteen minutes a day visualizing the achievement of a goal, the steps to be taken, the tasks we’ll tackle the next day. As well, there exists a branch in Hinduism called Karma yoga that instructs us to work selflessly to serve the greater community. Visualizing success for ourselves—and especially for others—are two great ways of controlling the mind.
Set goals. Controlling the mind also involves setting inspiring goals. Everyone can reach for the stars –and claim a supernova. It just takes an inspiring goal and a commitment to never quit—even when faced with failure after failure or with daunting limitations. Any goal is doable if we tame the desire to quit.
Strive for health. Seeking healthy activities also helps with mastering one’s mind. For instance, meditation, especially the loving kindness type, may help us control our minds. A healthy diet and exercise can, too, help pacify an otherwise unstable mind. And reading about religions, saints, or self-help can lay out actions that yield a mindset of peace.