What do you think about? Do you think about what you want? Do you think about how unfair life is?
Do think about how awful people are to you?
I try to think about things other than myself.
If I think about myself, I find it very easy to think about how bad things are, which can turn into a downward spiral thinking about nothing but how awful people are to me.
One way to keep our thoughts more under control is through prayer.
Many of us will know the Lord’s Prayer which has several requests of God – feed us, forgive us, do not tempt us and deliver us from evil as well as one promise we make – we will forgive others; there is also praise for God.
I find that repeating this prayer stops the thoughts going round my head so fast. It takes my mind off myself as most of the prayer is requests to God or praise to God and not about what I want.
I find this prayer, and others, where we pray for the health of other people, break the cycle of thinking self-centred thoughts. Breaking this cycle of self-centred thoughts changes the judgments we make about ourselves and others, reducing the likelihood that we judge ourselves far better or far worse than others.
Prayer can be done anywhere, the only requirement is that there are not too many distractions.
Prayer can be similar to meditation, taking us out of our immediate cares. Like meditation, prayer shifts our focus away from our immediate desires to a calmer, more contemplative place. Prayer can help us to look at life in a different way, our thoughts are not just about the effect the world has on us, but considering other people.
Try repeating the Lord’s prayer a few times and see if it helps you. If you don’t know it, Google can find it.
Geoff Peck is a member of Woosehill Church, writing on behalf of Churches Together Wokingham