Listen to me now. I’ll tell you a tale.

The thoughts in my mind that won’t go away. The words whispering between my ears.

There will be times when it’s hard to find silence. There will be days that pass by without realizing where they went.

That’s alright. My thoughts don’t define me.

Bombardments of thought. My brain is a bellow of airy figments. Remnants of days past. A residue of another time.

It’s hard to get the space to stop and properly think when my brain becomes accustomed to its form of thinking.

That ceaseless process that never stops. The words that keep flowing from my mind.

And my mind just won’t turn off. It’s not a dishwasher, after all.

It’s a living, throbbing thing, even if there are times that I feel it is apart from me, acting separately, living on its own.

I am forever connected to my mind, but that doesn’t mean I have to do what it says.

Finding my awareness, focusing on my breath, I can develop space between me and my thoughts

And once I create the space, the world is limitless and opportunities emerge.

Possibilities that I was missing because the machinery in my head wouldn’t break down, although I wanted it to.

What if the point isn’t for it to break down, but for it to become well-oiled and controllable, with me as the calm and doting master?

What if to conquer the machinery I need to see the machinery for what it is — oily, creaking parts and all?

Can I step outside of my mind and appreciate how the process works?

Anxiety is getting lost in the process. It’s not seeing the forest for the trees. It’s not even knowing that there are leaves and branches attached to those trees because I’m so caught up in the brambles of my mind.

Does this all sound familiar?

As I get to know how my mind gets stuck, I come to discover what I need to do to rise above it.

And rise above it I will.

Productivity, success, excellence in what I do — those don’t come from stopping the thoughts. Thoughts have a purpose once I learn to direct them.

No, I need thoughts to decide on the steps I will take, the decisions I will make — all for the sake of creating a life.

Just don’t let the thoughts blend into my days. Don’t let them become months and years of mental machinations.

Figure out who I am beneath my thoughts

Take the time each day to be silent. Learn to be uncomfortable so I have a good idea of what comforts me.

I can’t do this if I’m thinking.

I know, anxiety often determines whether I think or not.

But I breathe deeply. I ground myself. I’m kind to myself.

There are millions of men and women who have lived lifetimes in their heads.

If I ask one of them about their thoughts, I may find the answer to one of my own.

Jordan Brown is a social worker making mental health accessible and he coaches click here to learn more