Overthinking? How many of you laughed because this meme describes you?
We don’t often think about having an addiction to our thinking, but the truth is that overthinking is one of the hardest addictions to break.
“I think, therefore, I am,” right?
We have to think to accomplish things in our daily lives. We try to stop thinking only to realize we may be thinking about not thinking. It’s truly one of the most maddening things to notice that you think when you want just to be still for a moment. The inner monologue picks up and a set off at breakneck speed, and it is futile to stop it, right? After all, we know we’re going to have to think again, so who cares if that endless chatter just keeps going on and on and on.
Think about being in class and trying to pay attention to the professor for a change. Behind you are two girls, whispering and giggling to each other. How easy is it to stay focused on what you want to learn?
When you allow your inner monologue to run unchecked, it’s like living your life with constant whispering and giggling going on upstairs. Your life is the classroom, and you’re missing all of the lessons because you’re too busy listening to your internal chatter! Admit it; you’re always assessing and judging each new situation, each new person you meet. You’re replaying the events of the past and thinking about what is coming up next. You’re hardly ever there, at the moment with what is happening right now. Constantly thinking and projecting into your imagination while this moment is passing you by is a huge culprit in your stress levels, your ability to pay attention and absorb what is going on around you, and your ability to connect with the people that are actually in front of you, and you’re not alone! Most of the people around you are doing the same thing.
So how do we turn down the volume on that inner voice so we can finally enjoy what is happening right now?
- Stop trying to stop.
It doesn’t work! Telling yourself not to think, trying to be still when you are accustomed to multi-tasking your way through the day is just futile. It’s a habit that has a well-worn path by now, and trying to stop not only makes you focus on not thinking; it can lead to frustration that you can’t turn it off. But don’t give up…read on.
- Breathe in, breathe out.
You don’t need yoga mats, soft music or a meditation master to relax out of an overthinking binge; you already have what you need to get started! Often the simplest things are just what you need: when you start to feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath in through the nose to the count of two, and exhale out the mouth for a count of four. Just a few minutes of this calms anxieties slows your heart rate and your runaway mind.
- Stop Talking.
FREE DOWNLOAD–Enjoy some silence right now! We’re giving away the hit track from “Silence” just for reading this post! You may enjoy this sample as many times as you like:
If you’re a serial over thinker, chances are you tend to chat about it. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your feelings, but often simply talking about something that popped into your head that might have otherwise popped right back out again makes that idea more real, more sticky, and keeps you focused on it. Don’t believe everything you think, or feel that you need to discuss everything you think, and subsequently, your brain will get just a little bit quieter.
- Focus on nature.
You don’t need to be at a pristine beach or deep in the woods to get in touch with the nature around you. Regardless of where you are, take a few minutes to go outside away from your phone, computer, and television, and listen to the sounds that are outside of you. The wind is rustling the leaves of nearby trees, birds chirping, frogs singing their amazing croak song, or even the hum of traffic nearby if that’s what is available. The point is to take a few minutes to listen to something other than ourselves, which seems odd to say, but often over thinkers will get so used to hearing their mind buzzing away that they forget the world outside. Sit back, and let someone (or something) else do the talking for a change.
- Write it out.
Our world is fast, and it can seem like we have to run regularly to keep up with it. It’s no wonder we think fast and talk even faster. Grab a fancy journal, a plain notebook, or even a scratch sheet of paper, and write out what you are thinking. Sometimes seeing the words you’ve been ruminating on allows your perspective to know whether it’s a train of thought worth pursuing or one that can be tossed in the bin. Have you ever blurted out something you immediately knew was silly? Seeing that thought in black and white can help you differentiate between the important things you should keep researching and thoughts that are just passing through.
All 5 of these steps will help you and even if you do only 1 of them you will be calmer and more “in the now”.
Colin has a unique way to think with his heart he adopted through insights at Gulf Breeze Recovery. For me some insights I would share first and foremost is in this life it is our purpose to enjoy life to see it as a gift, to lift each other up we’re here to love one another and I wasn’t wrong in that as a kid I loved people I loved my family I loved anyone I encountered. Our lives are heaven you can have that on this earth it’s all about how you perceive it in your mind so once you start to like uncover more and to see the beauty that’s in front of you and capture every moment appreciate every person that you come across as either somebody love or lesson learned.
- Stop trying to stop.
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