How to control your thoughts to feel happier


Kevin Mangelschots

Controlling our emotions is hard, but learning how to control your thoughts to feel happier is possible for everyone.

Our emotions are rarely given the attention they deserve. Even though figuring out what those feelings mean and why we are experiencing them in a certain way might help us to understand ourselves better.

While our feelings can’t be controlled directly, we can learn to accept them, and realize that positive and negative feelings will continue to come and go our whole life since that’s part of life. Even more, we can learn how to control our thoughts to feel happier.

How to control your mind from unwanted thoughts?

Illustration of a scale with a brain on the left and a heart on the right, signifying rational thoughts and following your heart.

  1. Identify your negative thoughts

    The first step towards a more positive mindset is identifying, and consequently getting rid of unwanted thoughts.

    What are your negative thoughts or negative thinking patterns? About what subject are you having those negative thoughts? Are these sentiments constantly in your mind, or only when you are tired, or when you had a negative experience during your day?

    These are all possible questions that you need to ask yourself in order to discover what those negative thoughts are, and to figure out what they mean.

    Formulate your negative beliefs as precisely as possible. This way, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance to fix the antagonistic thought processes, or even the possible lies you are being faced with.

  2. Realize when you’re experiencing those negative thoughts

    It’s impossible to fix something if you don’t even realize it’s broken. That’s why we need to acknowledge when we’re having these bad thinkings if you want to learn how to control your mind from unwanted thoughts.

    In order to turn your negative attitude around to a more positive and productive mindset, you’ll need to recognize when those thoughts arise.

    That’s because there’s a chance that those negative thoughts are lies, or only there when a specific topic or person comes up.

  3. Identify the possible lies

    Image the word 'truth' written on a white background with a magnifying exposing the lies.

    “Are my negative thoughts realistic, or am I being overly critical of myself?”

    This is the main question to determine the possible lies in your thinking processes. It’s possible that you’re overly perfectionistic, or too critical out of fear or insecurity.

    This may lead to errors in your thinking patterns. That’s why we need to weed out the lies in our thinking.

  4. Rephrase or replace negative thoughts

    To eliminate negative self talk, you must learn to rephrase these thoughts more positively.

    If your thinking process is overly negative, then rephrase it in a realistic, but more optimistic way.

    An example of negative phrasing is “I’m useless because I did that task horribly.” A more positive and realistic way of phrasing would be “I didn’t do the task as well as I would’ve liked, but I still managed to do it, and I will do better next time.”

    This creates a positive feedback loop that allows you to build upon to alter these unsupportive thoughts for the better.

    If you find that your ideas are plain wrong, then you should just abandon those thoughts altogether.

  5. Monitor your thoughts

    Introspection concept illustration. Question mark inside a human head outline.

    Keep track of your cognitive content. See if you have effectively replaced your old, negatively formulated thoughts with more healthy and positive contents.

    Check if they’re accurate and if there is something you can do to rephrase them in an even better and more productive way.

    Monitoring yourself is the best way to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep the bad thoughts out, the good thoughts flowing, and to keep your mind in a healthy place.

Armed with these tips, controlling negative thoughts becomes a possibility if you decide to apply them. Because knowing without truly understanding makes it hard to solve the issue.


Positive thinking tips

Illustration of a man getting a bright new idea while thinking.

  1. Think positive rather than negative

    Our first positive thinking tip is… thinking more positively! Most of you are probably thinking “thanks captain obvious.” But it can really be as simple as thinking optimistically. Because what we nurture will grow.

    Even though this tip is so simple that it’s almost laughable, it’s not something all of us utilize. I know I haven’t in the past, and when I started focusing on the positive things in my life, no matter how small, my mood improved.

  2. Preoccupy your mind with positive thoughts and goals

    One of the tips that can help you to think more positively is occupying your mind with enjoyable, and positive thoughts.

    When life isn’t being too kind to you, and you’re head deep into trouble, it can be helpful to preoccupy your mind with positive thoughts, or doing things you enjoy and are passionate about.

    Occupying your psyche with a hobby you enjoy like painting, soccer, or even just socializing with friends for example will help to take your mind off the negative experiences you are currently going through in life.

  3. Practice a form of mindfulness

    Illustration of a woman performing deep breathing exercises when lying down on her back on the ground.

    Thinking can be exhausting. And we all need downtime once in a while to recover and recharge our batteries.

    A lot of people dwell in the past or worry about the future, never taking the time to live in the here and now, taking in and enjoying the moment.

    Mindfulness can help you to calm your thoughts by relaxing your mind. This is accomplished through a variety of techniques such as relaxation, and breathing exercises.

  4. Exercise

    Exercising releases endorphins. Endorphins are our “happiness hormone.” Endorphins make us experience positive emotions, and the same effect can be noted when consuming alcohol, or other drugs.

    I would advise exercising rather than the above since these aren’t sustainable options in the long run. Working out not only helps us to keep the mind healthy, it also aids keeping our body into shape.

    The quote, “a healthy mind in a healthy body” holds true after all.


How do our thoughts influence our emotions?

Illustration of a man holding a brain in his left hand, and a heart in his right hand. The brain signifies reason and the heart emotions.

Our thoughts directly influence our emotions. Negative thoughts are oftentimes not true, exaggerated, and most certainly not helpful.

Negative thoughts arise out of our inner critical self. For instance, a pessimistic and cynical person will focus too much on their unfavorable experiences in life. As a result, they’re more likely than not to go through negative and destructive emotions such as anger, jealousy, and resentment.

This is why I advocate keeping a positive outlook on life. Because you will attract what you decide to focus on.


Image of the word, “conclusions” written on a black backboard with white chalk.

Learning how to control unwanted thoughts is necessary in order to lead a happy in addition to fulfilling life.

Changing our perception of the world around us is something that’s doable and well within our reach. Yet, it’s a daunting challenge and gets increasingly more difficult the more negative thoughts and experiences we have been through during our lifetime.

These tips can provide you with a general idea of how to turn your life around for the better. The following 8 acting strategies for stress relief can aid you in your quest towards inner peace and rest.

And remember, positive thoughts will lead to an optimistic, confident, and content person. And while happiness might be a fleeting feeling, contentment can last you a whole lifetime.


1 thought on “How to control your thoughts to feel happier”

Comments are closed.