Skip to content
How to be Your Own Thought Police

How to be your own thought police

Controlling unwanted thoughts is not the problem. Believing, trusting, or taking direction from them is.

How often have you heard people say, “Control your thoughts, control your life?” Or “You are what you think about.” Or, “What you think about is what you will attract.” 

What these statements don’t take into account is the fact that our brain generates all sorts of thoughts, many of which come without notice, and some are good and some are not very good; in fact, some, are downright hurtful and self-destructive. You don’t want to have the latter, you don’t ask for them, and nor do I. But they come on unpredictably. But are they so unpredictable?

How to be Your Own Thought Police

Our Automatic Brain (AB for short) has one function—to protect us from danger, threat, or vulnerability. When it detects such, it releases an electrochemical response that we know as the fight or flight response. But this reaction is not simply you getting scared. This AB reaction leads us into behaviors and emotions that sometimes show up as fear, anger, rage, or even sadness, depression and withdraw.

However, what most people don’t realize, and what set me on this quest to begin with, is that this brain also creates thoughts so that we fight and flee danger.

Thoughts can be the most troubling and interfering element on any road to growth or success. And this should tell you something as it did, and still does, tell me. What it tells me is that nothing comes out of the blue—not negative behaviors/emotions or thoughts.

If this premise is correct that means that negative thoughts arise from our AB trying to protect us from something. The actual thoughts, in my opinion, are less important than what is going on when the negative thoughts arise. For instance, if you get a thought while driving that you are going to lose control, suddenly, swerve and hit the concrete barrier or person on the side of the road, your AB is simply trying to shake you into focus to protect you from the “danger” of driving.

Or if you are hiking and cannot bring yourself to the edge of the overlook because of thoughts that you are going to lose control and fling yourself off, that’s your AB.

But what about the negative thoughts that pop into your head when things are going well, or you are succeeding and moving ahead. These come on because your AB detects some danger, threat, or vulnerability from your success.

Read 12 Toxic Thoughts You Need To Drop For A Better Life

These seven steps can help you gain more control.

1. Do not believe everything you think.

2. Understand that unwanted thoughts always arise in order to protect you.

3. Try to identify the circumstance that caused the thought.

4. Realize that the circumstance is unlikely dangerous at all.

5. Don’t fight the thoughts. It is more normal to get negative thoughts than not.

6. Recite in your mind, “There is no danger, there is no threat, I am safe,” whenever getting the thoughts.

7. If you get a negative thought that is particularly hurtful, finish it off. For instance, if you get a thought that says, “I’m a loser.” Finish it by saying in your mind, “Yes, I am a loser. I am a loser if a play a game I know nothing about. But since my life is not a game and I play by my own rules I am a winner.”

I suggest you don’t try to control your thoughts. Follow these steps and it will help you accept them, but more importantly help you so you do not always believe, trust, or take direction from them. Doing so will elevate your health, peace of mind, and “live your everyday extraordinary”!

– Charles F. Glassman, MD

Originally appeared on

How to be Your Own Thought Police
How to be Your Own Thought Police

Charles F. Glassman, MD, FACP

Dr. Glassman specializes in personalized, patient-focused care, with an emphasis on wellness and prevention. Dr. Glassman has practiced general internal medicine, for over 25 years, in Rockland County, NY, a suburban community 30 miles north of New York City, designing his practice to be patient-centered instead of problem-focused. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, from Hobart College in Geneva, NY. He graduated from New York Medical College and completed his Internship and Residency at Montefiore Medical Center and Westchester County Medical Center. Over the years he has seen the shift of medical practices from patient-focused to problem-focused; from health care to sick care. As a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and Life Extension Foundation member, Dr. Glassman approaches to medicine in an integrative manner, looking carefully at all traditionally approved methods while recognizing the power of unconventional therapies. Throughout his career, Dr. Glassman has seen mainstream medicine discredit some of these unconventional approaches, only to endorse them years later. Never sacrificing doing what is right for the majority opinion, he strongly believes that his patients cannot afford to wait for mainstream medicine to endorse present cutting edge medical technology that may greatly enhance and even extend life. He is excited to bring the same level of competence and open-mindedness to his new designation as Coach MD.View Author posts

1 thought on “How to be Your Own Thought Police”

Leave a Reply

Up Next

Feeling Down? 5 Reasons Why You Feel Like Shit And What To Do About It

Feelings that make you feel like shit

Feeling down? Me too, buddy. The keyword here is ‘feeling’. Feelings are weird, if you ask me. Emotions make life complicated. It ruins relationships, families and even careers. It makes you feel like shit and like hitting your head against the wall. But that’s not completely true, is it? 

Not all emotions pull you down. After all, who would we be if we didn’t feel anything? Emotions make us who we are and it adds meaning to our lives. The secret lies in identifying which negative emotions make you feel like shit and knowing how to deal with them.

Dear negative feelings, thanks for making me feel like shit 

Yes, I know we should experience the whole spectrum of human emotions

Up Next

How to Tame and Silence Your Inner Critic: 5 Ways

Ways Tame And Silence Your Inner Critic

“Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.” ― Beverly Engel. This one quote perfectly shows why it's important to silence your inner critic.

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your inner monologue? You know, the voice that can motivate you to press on or stop you dead in your tracks and make you feel a few inches tall.

It is the same voice that attempts to protect you from shame, embarrassment, or making a mistake. If not tamed and regulated, this voice morphs into an intense critic, one that can sabotage and stagnate if it gains too much power.


Up Next

Thanksgiving Blues? 11 Ways On How To Feel Grateful When You Don’t

Thanksgiving Blues

Not feeling grateful this holiday season? Well, even if feel like there's less to celebrate this Thanksgiving 2022, here's how to feel grateful when you don't.

The expectation of feeling grateful can be challenging when we’re struggling with loneliness or relationship, work or health problems. It can be even harder to have gratitude around holidays when we see other people happily celebrating.

When you’re discouraged or weighed down with negative thoughts, there are several things you can do.

Up Next

5 Ways To Be Yourself In A New Relationship And Make It Last

Ways To Be Yourself New Relationship

It can be tempting to hide your true self to impress your new partner. But to be yourself in a new relationship is the best way to a healthy and lasting relationship. Here are five ways to achieve that.

I find it very strange how hard it is to be yourself in a new relationship. After all, we are ourselves in every other area of our lives. Why do we struggle to be ourselves as the relationship progresses?

I believe that, when we first get into a new relationship, we feel very confident because having someone new in our lives, someone who thinks we are fabulous, is a very heady experience.

Up Next

Healthy Ways To Express Jealousy In A Relationship: 5 Things You Can Do

Healthy Ways Express Jealousy In Relationship

Feeling jealous sometimes when you are in a relationship is a normal emotion to have, and every one of us at some point has experienced the feeling of jealousy in a relationship. Feelings of jealousy can either be fleeting or long-lasting, but it's the latter one that's actually quite concerning.

If you ever experience jealous feelings in a relationship that threatens to swallow you up whole, then it's an important sign that you need to express that to your partner. Otherwise, these feelings will keep on piling up until you can't take it anymore and will end up having an emotional outburst.

At the same time, it's vital to know healthy ways to express jealousy in a relationship, so that your partner understands where you are coming from, instead of thinking that you are being problematic and controlling. Knowing the right ways to express jealousy in a