Our mind can be like a wild animal at times and can almost have a mind of its own. I experienced this in university when I would find myself getting embarrassed in large groups of people or doing presentations in front of the class. I would fear becoming embarrassed and would try my hardest to not, but inevitably it would happen. I started to wonder why...I soon realized this was a cause of having an "untamed" mind. It would actually take over when I was up in front of people. I would have automatic thoughts of becoming embarrassed and before I knew it my face would blush. I got so fearful of this happening I started to isolate myself and avoid situations where my greatest fear would come true.
As a counsellor in training, I thought "I cant run from this forever", so I decided to find ways to tame my mind. The following exercise is very effective for me and I have many clients practice this if they struggle with an "untamed" mind. An "untamed" mind can basically be defined as automatic thinking that arises without conscious control of the individual and has an undesired affect. It often tends to be a manifestation of subconscious beliefs the individual possesses that play out through our thought process.
Mind Taming Exercise:
Find a focal point for you attention (for me it was a candle burning in a dark room), sit quietly with your focal point and use this as a anchor for your thoughts. When your mind begins to wander you bring it back gently, without judgement to your focal point. My suggestion is to try this for no more than 5 minutes your first time or it may feel overwhelming. I remember when I first started, my mind must have wandered 20 times in 5 minutes. The reason this works so well is because it is brining you awareness of your thoughts and an ability to choose when your mind will be used and when it just need to take a back seat. You will notice this practice begin to transfer to other areas of your life. You may be more attentive in meetings at work, you may notice its easier to shut down negative thinking before it takes over your day, or maybe your insomnia wont be as bad because you can now control the rate at which thoughts enter your mind. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Give it a try and see if it works for you. The key to this exercise is consistency of practice. You will not benefit from doing this once. Aim for 5 minutes a day (preferably before bedtime if you suffer from insomnia).