Mental Prison: How To Free Yourself From Your Thoughts?

Last updated by Lauren Hart

Thoughts are... thoughts. So far, I think we’re in agreement! So these thoughts aren’t reality, do you follow me? And yet they’re sometimes even more painful than reality itself. And when we give them too much space, well, they’re not worried about taking over. So, how do you live harmoniously with them?

Mental Prison: How To Free Yourself From Your Thoughts?

When the brain starts chatting to itself...

For me, this image of a mental prison immediately echoes some of my nights. Yes, you know, those nights when thoughts go round and round in your head like a goldfish in a bowl that’s too small... In fact, the night doesn’t have a monopoly on goldfish! All our lives, all the time, we live with our thoughts and that’s perfectly normal. Christophe André calls it “the chatter of the mind”. What’s annoying is when worrying thoughts imprison us, going around in circles without getting anywhere, preventing us from acting and living serenely. In short, what’s annoying is when our own thoughts make us suffer, and we also tend to overthink.

Free yourself from mental prison

In his book Mindfulness: 25 Ways to Live in the Moment Through Art, Christophe André offers some valuable advice on how to break free from our mental prisons... (Christophe is the miniature shrink I’d like to have in my pocket when I’m feeling a bit down 😊). So of course, it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s a long-term process. But we all have to start somewhere, don’t we?

The 3 steps to freedom

Step 1: See the bars

It’s hard to free yourself from your prison if you don’t even realize you’re in it, isn’t it 🙄? This is the first step, and undoubtedly not the least. Becoming aware of the presence of these invisible bars and accepting that they’re making us unhappy. If the bars of your mental prison are thoughts, what are they? What would it be like if you tried to dust off the haze that surrounds them and formulate them clearly? Are they already losing a little of their importance, their hold over you? 🤔 In any case, you’ve already taken a step towards acceptance.

Step 2: Make room

Do you see the tent used by the Weasley family in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? It’s a tent that’s tiny on the outside but huge on the inside! If I use this comparison to talk about the mind, it’s because it’s important to make room in your mind for something other than those painful thoughts (and also because it might be time for me to re-watch the saga... 📺). Do you know this Chinese proverb? “You can’t stop the birds of sadness from flying over your heads, but you can stop them from making their nests in your hair.” “The idea is to understand that these thoughts will always be there and that we need to learn to live with them, but that we can ensure that they take up much less space! How? By welcoming other guests to our mind,” says Christophe. “By becoming aware of breathing, sounds, the body, and all the other thoughts that make up their lives. Being in the present is what mindfulness meditation is all about. Accompanied by other birds in a bigger sky, the birds of sadness will seem much less important.”

For example? Try taking a few minutes every day to focus your attention solely on your breathing 🕰️.

👉 You might be interested in this article: How to get your act together, this is where to start.

Step 3: Taking action

Earlier, I was talking about “starting someday somewhere”. This evokes movement, setting things in motion, and momentum. Our thoughts, by going around in circles in our heads, end up settling down. Even though a thought has nothing concrete in it, it can solidify, become very heavy, and take up a lot of space if we feed it too much, if we cling to it as if it were a certainty. One of the ways of freeing ourselves from it is also to act, to take action.

I recently watched this Brut report on Vincent, who runs despite his weight. One passage stood out for me: he said that if he’d waited until he was ready every time, he’d never have done anything. I found that beautiful and inspiring! 👍 Because that’s exactly what all those thoughts that are just thoughts do: paralyze us. By being around them, they seem truer than nature, become certainties, prevent us from doing things, and make us afraid or suffer. To avoid this and take the first step out of this mental prison, you can take action in real life. That’s what Vincent did.

Breathe 🌬️

“This too shall pass”. I really like this phrase. It speaks to us of the temporary nature of things, whether good or bad. Like our pleasures, our suffering won’t last. So you can be sure that the thoughts that are attacking you and taking up all the space today aren’t permanent. They, too, will come to an end. And you can help yourself to give them some height so that you can breathe a little easier.

>>> Discover; 4 Exercises that will help you breathe better

Editor’s note: Fewer thoughts, more avenues

Having thoughts that come and go is a normal process, but sometimes these thoughts take up too much space and are painful or obstructive. They seem so real to us that their impact on our lives becomes real. Realizing this, then distancing yourself through meditation or taking action, are ways of freeing yourself from these thoughts, and psychologists are here to help!

🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy... It’s here and now!


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Article presented by Lauren Hart

Writing is a beautiful means of expression that I cannot do without. It has allowed me to channel my hypersensitivity, plus I love writing about psychology and personal development. For me, self-understanding is the best way to move forward!

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Wengood's favorite tunes 🎵

Wengood's playlist


  1. Only LoveBen Howard
  2. Invalid date
  3. Fix YouColdplay
  4. Beautiful DayU2
  5. Thinking out LoudEd Sheeran
  6. White FlagDido
  7. Lay Me DownSam Smith
  8. Nine Million BicyclesKatie Melua
  9. Put Your Records OnCorinne Bailey Rae
  10. Summertime SadnessLana Del Rey
  11. Imagine - Remastered 2010John Lennon
  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

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