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Counseling/Restless Thinking and Concentration


Dear sir/madam,
I need some advice on how to concentrate on study and how to cure restless thinking. I am having very much problem in concentrating in my studies.
My name is Aashish Kumar, I am from India CG. I am 25 years old male and an unemployed MBA.

I have a bad habit of thinking useless things all the time since my childhood. This is why I can't concentrate on any task for long time.
When ever I try to read a book, I read it for some minutes or only for one minute and I don't know how my mind starts thinking something else and I become lost in thoughts for at least half an hour or more. I always know that I am thinking useless things and I should start reading the book. But I find my self unable to stop these thoughts because of the strong habit of thinking. I find myself enjoying these thoughts and these thoughts are linked to another thought and I become engaged in thinking so many things that all of my study hours are passed in thinking these useless things.
Some times I keep thinking so much that I start having head ache because of the restless thinking. I want to stop these useless thoughts. But I feel as if these thoughts are not in my control.
I always waste all of my study hours in thinking useless interesting things and I keep passing the task on tomorrow.

I became a failed in 12th standard in school and passed in on two attempts because of this thinking habit.
I didn't studied well in graduation as I kept thinking useless things until the exams were very near. And got an average marks.
Then I tried to prepare for entrance exam for MBA but the same happened again. I kept thinking and enjoying useless thoughts until the entrance exam was very near, and I got bad very less marks in exam and got admission in a very backward cheap college. This is why I am still unemployed even after passing one year after completion of MBA.
And since I am not getting any job on MBA basis, so now I am preparing for competition exams to get a government job. But again I am having the same problem.
I don't want to be lost in thoughts all the times but I don't know when I start thinking and I start enjoying these thoughts even if I know that I am not doing right and I should start study.

I have collected many motivational quotes and I keep reading those quotes again and again to keep me motivated to study. But these are also not working well.
I have been meditating for last 5 years but this is also not working as I can't concentrate also in meditation.
I do self hypnosis too, but this is also useless for me.
I keep all the distracting things away from me while studying. But my habit of thinking since childhood is the main cause of this restless thinking.

Please give me some tips on how to stop thinking and how to concentrate on study.

Aashish:  It seems to me that the key phrase in all of this is "I find myself enjoying these thoughts".  Perhaps it's that you're thinking about this as a problem rather than a possible solution.  Obviously, you get some pleasure from these thoughts and therefore they are more a solution than a problem.  The problem really is that you daydream at times when you don't want to.  So this is not a daydream problem - this is a timing problem.  What hasn't worked thus far is avoiding the daydreaming.  It's analogous to trying not to think about a pink elephant.  The very process of thinking about it, makes you think about it even more.  One of the rules of life is if something doesn't work, stop and do something different.  Einstein said that true insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.  I suggest you try an experiment.  Instead of avoiding these pleasurable thoughts, reserve a time each time where you won't be disturbed and when you don't have anything pressing to do.  Take a pad and writing implement, set an alarm for 30 minutes, and for that 30 minutes think about and write down all those pleasurable thoughts.  Do this everyday until you begin to notice the difference with your concentration.  If you have the time and inclination, write back and let me know what you learned and how this was helpful.  Joel


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Joel Simon


General questions about counseling, psychotherapy and mental health.


Over 30 years as a therapist, clinical supervisor and solution-focused trainer. I've worked in a variety of settings including adolescent day treatment, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, community mental health clinics, and hospice. Further information is available on my website:

A founding member of the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association, Academy of Certified Social Workers, Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in New York State.

Co-authored "Solution-Focused Brief Practice With Long-Term Clients in Mental Health Services: I'm More Than My Label." Authored: "Solution-Focused Practice in End-of-Life and Grief Counseling" Several articles published in professional journals including 2 with Insoo Kim Berg. Further details are available at

Masters of Social Work (Yeshiva University 1978). 5 years training in Transactional Analysis, certified in Advanced Ericksonian Psychotherapy and Hypnosis with the New York Society (NYSEPH), Advanced training and advanced supervision seminar in solution-focused brief therapy with the co-developers of the approach, Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer

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