In the words of a popular book, maybe today’s the day to stop thinking and start living.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I sometimes find myself avoiding books just because they’re popular.

Seeing them everywhere seems to put me off them for some odd reason.

It was therefore good to be persuaded by a friend to read Richard Carlson’s ‘Stop Thinking, Start Living’ – definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of self-help books.


Among a host of other useful reflections, Carlson reminds us that how you feel is very much driven by what you think.

And to a large degree you can control what you think.

I listen to the radio in the bathroom in the mornings, and even on days when I may not be feeling so great I’ll become aware that an amusing remark by the presenter has got me smiling.

In this moment I’ve clearly stopped dwelling on negativity to smile at a joke instead.

Not surprisingly, thinking about negative stuff can make you feel bad.

So why not make a deliberate effort today to send black thoughts packing?

You have the power to do this.

You really do.

4 thoughts on “In the words of a popular book, maybe today’s the day to stop thinking and start living.

    1. That’s a great question Karen. Thanks for asking it.

      I hope that others will pitch in with their suggestions, but here are a couple of my own behaviours to get things started.

      I take it you’re probably wondering about how to control the kind of thinking that sees unwanted thoughts playing repeatedly in your mind. I hope I’m right.

      The first idea involves (for a brief period anyway) “crowding out” the bad stuff with better stuff.

      Psychologists generally say that at any one point in time, you can only have one thought in your mind. In other words, we tend to focus on one thing — then perhaps another, and another — but the thoughts come “single-mindedly”.

      So if you think about something else, you may be able to displace the unwanted thinking. This other thing, though, needs to be a thought that really pulls you in.

      For me, this can work by watching a film or TV show that really gets me thinking, or laughing. I can also achieve the same thing by having a good conversation with a friend.

      Another way of controlling your thinking can be to schedule the bad-stuff thoughts.

      Perhaps their subject matter can’t be ignored long-term, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it must occupy every minute of every day.

      So try telling yourself that you WILL think about Subject X, but only at 4pm — not before. Then, when 4pm comes, REALLY focus on (horrible) Subject X and give it your wholehearted attention, maybe for an entire half hour.

      Then stop. Enough.

      Knowing you’re going to be thinking about something unpleasant in a timetabled way seems to allow your mind to carry on as normal in the meantime. It’s as if your mind is worried that you’ll forget this heavy stuff. (As if!)

      Thanks again for asking the question Karen. I hope these suggestions may contain a grain of something helpful.

  1. How can I dissolve the thought-action fusion which repeats constantly in so many daily
    situations very negatively in my ocd? The disorder drives me mad and often I give
    up as the thoughts and tension with it persist for long time.I feel being manipulated
    and out of control for rational acting from the idiot in my head.Hard to accept myself
    now compared to when I was a symptom free positive and strong guy.

Leave a Reply to Dorine Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *