Having once ridden my bike down a steep slope straight into a canal lock (don’t ask) I certainly recall the stomach-churning feeling of knowing I was out of control.
Although I trust you’ve never made precisely this foolish mistake, it’s a pretty safe bet that your childhood will have involved at least one occasion on which you careered down a hill without the power to stop yourself.
Of course, you tend to have little or no fear when you’re young, so having no hope of slamming on the brakes doesn’t necessarily bother you: in fact it’s probably quite exhilarating.
As you grow up, however, you tend to develop more worries about being out of control, exercising rather more caution.
But while we recognise the need for control over our physical actions, how often do we stop to think that we generally have the same kind of power over our thoughts?
It’s easy to get swept along on a wave of believing that thoughts show up in your mind unbidden, resulting in feelings over which you have no choice.
It’s certainly true of me at times, when I find myself reacting unhelpfully to some kind of unpleasant situation.
It’s as if my mind hurtles towards the same old conclusions without for once stopping to wonder if it has a choice.
Controlling your thoughts ought to be easy, but when you do actually pull it off it can be a weird feeling – something akin, perhaps, to picking up a trumpet as a total novice and blowing a B flat out of the blue.
Where on earth did that come from?
It could be something you already do on a regular basis, in which case keep it up.
However, if you’re like me, you may need a reminder that you’ve more control over your thoughts than you may sometimes believe.
If you find yourself about to slip into negativity today, see if you can’t apply the brakes.
You might just surprise yourself in being able to take a slightly more positive approach.