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The negative thoughts we entertain and allow to control our mind can change our entire mindset, and eventually, take over our lives. And while we may feel trapped in these thoughts, we aren’t.

In the past, before I truly looked into the power of positive thought, if and when someone told me that I should just think good thoughts, I became enraged. How dare they tell me to take control of something that was so seemingly beyond my scope of power? If I could just ‘think happy,’ wouldn’t I?

As it turns out, there is much more power in our thoughts than I recently believed, and in turn, it has led me to realize and believe in my ability to control my own self-limiting beliefs. And if you understand how to be aware of these thoughts and mindfully change them into positive thoughts that will effectively train your brain to overcome difficult or disturbing thoughts.

1. Expand your awareness.

When these thoughts enter our mind, we are aware of them on some level, but we may not always be consciously aware of them. If you notice a disturbing thought, pull your attention to it, and ask yourself “Does this thought serve a purpose, other than causing me turmoil?” If not, then you are ready to transition the thought. If you think “Nothing ever goes my way.” Replace it with “Change is difficult at first, but more often than not, things work out.”

2. Understand that negative thought is normal.

While the weird, self-defeating and disturbing thoughts that enter our mind may seem irrational, everyone has them, and they are quite common. When a weird, disturbing or negative thought enters your mind, don’t judge it. Merely observe it, and then let it go.

3. Immerse yourself in distraction.

When I have negative thoughts that deeply affect my mind, I try to reroute my focus to something less disturbing and immersive. Try singing a song, or focusing on a topic you feel strongly about.

4. They are just thoughts.

When we have negative thoughts we often treat them as an actual event, rather than just a thought. Understand that your thoughts do not match actual occurrences and are not based on the face. Let them go.

5. There’s an answer.

Understanding the roots of your negative thoughts. Where do they originate? What triggers them? How can I work to prevent them? This one will take work but it’s worth it.