How do you get rid of unwanted thoughts that interfere with your day?

Here are three things to consider:

1. Recognize that you’re judging the thoughts as unwanted and spending time and energy on them. Often, that’s because we attach lots of other meanings to the thoughts, like: What if that means I’m a horrible person, what if the thoughts come true, what if people find out I thought that, I’m going to go to hell for thinking that, something terrible will happen if I don’t correct that, etc.

So it helps to stop attaching all of that extra baggage to the thoughts. The reality of the thoughts is separate from all of the uncertainties that you attach to them. You had a thought. It’s just a thing that pops out of that organ sloshing around in your skull.

2. If you feel good when you get rid of these thoughts, your brain is going to keep giving them to you so you can get rid of them. The more you don’t want them, the more you’ll have them. That doesn’t mean you have to want them. But remember that hating something and disliking something requires time and energy. You’re choosing to spend your limited resources on these thoughts. Do you want to do that? What if the thoughts weren’t unwanted or wanted?

3. When people send me questions about getting rid of unwanted thoughts, I ask them: How do you get rid of unwanted clouds? Most people don’t judge specific clouds as unwanted. But if they did, it would be very stressful because there’s nothing they can do about the clouds. Judging clouds and trying to get rid of them can cause lots of anxiety. There are so many horrifying clouds in the sky each day, so how do you find the time to constantly be outside practicing acceptance with those clouds?

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