A major contribution to waste thoughts is our past. After taking up the easy fixes mentioned here and here let us take up the deeper aspects of changing thoughts.
These are not quick fixes and require wisdom, patience and practice.
Stop Living and Reliving the Past
Human psychology says that 80% of the time we are living in the past. Thinking of things that should not have happened or thinking of alternatives of something which has already happened. As you are reliving the past you are reliving the disappointments, failures and tragedies. In spite of knowing that past cannot be changed you are all unknowingly or unknowingly doing it.
Accept your past
You don’t have any choice but to accept your past. You cannot undo it. It has happened. The only thing you can do is to learn from it.
It is said that the only thing humans have learned from history is that they have learned nothing from it. Similarly past is history. If it is still a part of your present you have not learned all that you should have learned.
Every past has a lesson to teach. Make sure you learn it. Till you don’t learn, it will keep coming back to you.
It is all karma
There is another reason to accept – Law of Karma. There is a famous saying, “What goes around, Comes around”. So, whatever has happened to you either in the past or is happening now now in the present is a result of your own karma. You cannot get negative unless and until you give it.
To err is human
Forgive yourself and others too. No one is perfect.
Change your present
It is your past which made your present and your present will make your future. So start working on changing your present as this is the only thing you can do now.
Turn failures into opportunities
The failures of your past can haunt you. They come with negative emotions which do a lot harm. While the norm is to get carried away by it, you always have a choice to sit back and take this as an opportunity to learn.
If you take up biographies of all great men in the world, you’d find them strewn with failures. But the difference lies in their abilities to turn failures into opportunities. Let your disappointments not break your hope. All have bad times and bad memories. The question is what you are doing with it. If you develop a sense of hopelessness you have given up. If you choose to take it as an opportunity to you start focusing on what can be done now to rectify it. The road to success is strewn with failures.
Search for solutions and not problems.
It is the nature of the mind to think. Whether it is thinking positive or negative is up to you. Whenever you come across a situation which is full of negativity take it as a challenge and not as a threat. When you take it as a challenge your approach towards the situation will change. You will have a problem solving approach and so your thoughts will be constructive.
Check and change
Once you have spent enough time practicing to stop your thoughts when the mind is healthy (that is to pause the thoughts every once in a while during the day when there are no negative situations as mentioned in part 1) it will become easy to change the thoughts when there is a flow of negative thoughts. Once you learn how to detach yourself from your thoughts when things are not adverse it becomes easy to detach yourself from your thoughts when things are adverse.
Stop playing the blame game
Most people play the victim card. They spend years complaining about others and about situations.
Why do people play the blame game?
My intention was good: This is one of the most common excuses used to defend the self. It was done to help. ‘I did it for the sake of others’. This defensive mechanism is also because of the attachment of being good.
Self-pity: Thinking that there was no choice, you were helpless helps gain sympathy.
I am right: Subtly everybody is attached to their own perfection and goodness. And unknowingly when you are attached to this image it becomes difficult to see your own faults. This is the most dangerous of all.
Do not want to change: Till you keep blaming others for your miseries you don’t have change. Any change requires constant discipline and effort which is not easy to put in. Blaming others is the easiest way to escape from it.
A very important reason for blaming others is the inability to put in effort to change the self.
Hard to let go: Till you don’t let it go it will keep haunting you. And many times people don’t want to let go things as they do not want to forgive. They think that by not forgiving they are punishing the other person. They fail to understand that by not forgiving they are not punishing the other person but they are punishing the self.
Start taking ownership of your life by stopping this blame game.