There's mind control, but it refers to controlling someone else's mind.

Is there a noun describing "mind control" or "thought control" in the sense of controlling one's own mind or thoughts?

Is concentration the closest it gets?

Edit: I'm looking chiefly for the mental, rather than the physical, aspect of "mind control", like abstaining from distractions, etc. This question may be somewhat hypothetical.

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    I'm not really sure how that would work -- mind control of others implies that you're able to use their minds to force them to do what you want. You can (should, at least) be able to "force" yourself to do what you want to do. Self-control, willpower, determination... Those might be related but I'm really not sure what kind of mind control you're talking about.
    – EFrog
    Jan 15, 2015 at 15:01
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    I think there are too many answers as it all depends on what particular religion/philosophy/behavioural therapy you espouse. Do you mean 'mind control' in the sense that you are able to stay true to your own thoughts and not be overcome by unwelcome ones? Some people are helped by their faith, others prefer secular therapies such as CBT/ACT/mindfulness. Or if you mean you are not easily distracted from the task in hand then you could be focussed (complimentary) or suffer from tunnel vision (not complimentary).
    – Mynamite
    Jan 15, 2015 at 15:25
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    Do you mean 'discipline'?
    – Mitch
    Jan 15, 2015 at 15:30
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    "Mind control" is used in this sense also, especially in meditation terminology: medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/meditation
    – ermanen
    Jan 15, 2015 at 16:52
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    Mental discipline. Mathesis.
    – A E
    Jan 15, 2015 at 19:46

4 Answers 4


There is a movement whose goal is to increase a person's self-awareness in order to attain tranquility and a mastery over self which is known as mindfulness.

  • +1 I like this "new-ish" term because it implies self-control but with a raised awareness in the process. Jan 15, 2015 at 15:33

A useful noun would be focus:

1640s, "point of convergence," from Latin focus "hearth, fireplace" ... taken by Kepler (1604) in a mathematical sense for "point of convergence," ... (the purely optical sense of the word may have existed before Kepler, but it is not recorded) ... Sense transfer to "center of activity or energy" is first recorded 1796. (Etymonline)

If a person is too focussed, in a detrimental way, they could be said to have tunnel vision, which is used in a metaphorical way as well as being an actual medical condition.

  1. (Pathology) a condition in which peripheral vision is greatly restricted
  2. narrowness of viewpoint resulting from concentration on a single idea, opinion, etc, to the exclusion of others (FreeDictionary)

SELF-POSSESSION (noun): control of one's emotions or reactions especially when under stress; presence of mind, composure, self-control, self-possession, willpower, self-command, self-will; the trait of resolutely controlling your own behavior; confidence in one's own powers

From Definitions.net

  • mental discipline
  • concentration
  • possibly also mathesis

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