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“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.”—  Thich Nhat Hanh

We often attribute our happiness to external circumstances. But in reality, how happy you are is less dependent on what happens to you and more about how you deal with it.

Yet, a lot of those insidious thoughts are in our subconscious. We either aren’t aware of them or don’t realize the power they have on our state of mind. One way to take back control is to begin paying attention. Tune into your thoughts. Listen to find out if they are trying to sabotage your life.

Free yourself from these five thoughts and you’ll prevent them from negatively impacting your life.

“I will never get through this.”

In the middle of life’s greatest challenges, it can feel overwhelming. You may want to throw in the towel even before you’ve got to the start line. Whatever obstacles are put in front of you can feel like an insurmountable task. And it can question every thing you’ve ever known about yourself and your capabilities. If you’re on a ride like that one, get ready for a life-changing moment. That is, unless you begin listening to that negative thought above. Listen to it long enough and it can eat up your chance to succeed. Want a sure-fire way to fail? Believe it. You will never overcome an obstacle if you think you can’t.

“Things will never get better.”

When you’re getting through a trying moment, the worst thing you can do is to tell yourself that it’s only going to get worse. Imagine telling a marathon runner/a mother in labor: “You better stop now. It’s not going to get any easier.” Watch out! They may just punch you in the eye. Remember to keep the fight going, you need to motivate not convince yourself that you can’t go on.

“______ is so much better than me.”

I know of no better way to put yourself down and set yourself up for unhappiness than to think of all the reasons why your brother, sister, neighbor, friend, co-worker, acquaintance, is better than you at golfing, dancing, cooking, writing, running, biking, etc. That’s because there will always be someone better than you at something. And the more you focus on that, the less time and energy you will have on honing what you’re good at. That’s a recipe for draining the happiness right out of you.

“I’m just unlucky.”

We’ve all said this at one time or another. Maybe it’s in response to losing in Vegas or to having trouble finding a parking space. But over time, if you continue to tell yourself that, you’ll be subscribing to a passive way of living. Things don’t just happen to us in life. We do have control over the choices we make and the actions we take. Often those who continue to believe this also think of themselves as helpless to life.

“That’s just the way it is.”

It’s true. Things are the way they are and sometimes the only thing we can do is to accept people and situations. At the same time, if you believe that things won’t ever change or that you don’t ever have control to change your life for the better, you may be on the road to depression. This statement suggests you’re feeling helpless, hopeless and may have given up on life. It’s one thing to accept that your car was stolen. It’s quite another to stay in an abusive situation (whether at home or work) because you don’t believe you can get yourself out of it.

Brandi-Ann Uyemura is a freelance writer who specializes in psychology and self-help articles. She has a MA in Counseling Psychology and writes for several publications and websites. You can get more information about her here. She also blogs about inspirationwriting inspiration and psychology.

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