Why do we over-think? Why do we chew over the same worries and fears? Why do we suck the good out of a day, simply by being caught up in our thoughts, fears and worries? Is it because we care too much? Someone asked me that long ago. I told him I had anxiety, he said you don’t have anxiety, you just care too much! I take that as a good thing. But over-thinking is not a good thing. Ever!
The truth is we didn’t always over-think. As a small child I doubt whether you remember being aware of your thoughts and over-thinking every small detail of every aspect of your life. You were too busy being a kid and having fun. But somewhere along the line, probably brought on by some sort of stress, you started to over-think. You used it as a coping mechanism. When you became consciously aware of your thinking for the first time, that’s when the battle started. From that point on things changed.
When you over-think you are in a place in your mind that tries to protect you. You think if you can think of every possible scenario, then you will be safe. If you can just find the answer, you will be ok. But the truth is, it is the over-thinking that eventually wears you down.
Now don’t underestimate the power of being in that place in your mind. It really can swallow you up without you even noticing.
Over-thinking becomes a habit. Just like any other. We become tuned to it. But believe me, if you are in that place in your head, nothing good comes from it. I can almost guarantee that most of it is negative thought and preoccupation.
I have come to learn that the content of the negative over-thinking is irrelevant. We all think weird and wonderful things and this will usually be very personal to you. When you first start over-thinking you may feel overwhelmed by the incessant noise in your head. You are desperate to ‘switch-off’. You may think you are on the verge of going crazy. Believe me. You are NOT. The world is full of millions of over-thinkers.
Simply put, the over-thinking has become a habit. Just like any other. It brings you some comfort as you analyse the shit out of everything. Everyone does it. You are not alone. There are but a lucky few who do not over-think. Those that seem to just calmly sail through life. These are very rare people, or they have learned the skill of quietening the mind because they had to.
I’ve done much reading on the subject. It is definitely my Achilles heel. I have always thought too much. Even as a small child, I thought too much. I have learnt over time that fighting the thoughts or analysing them or thinking every possible scenario does not help. The aim is now, and always will be, to have a QUIET mind. It is a work in progress. But there are a couple of things helping me.
The first step for me was thought stopping. I have done a whole blog post on this subject so please check it out.
Meditation and mindfulness have made a big impact for me. Now this might seem like something only for Buddhist monks. For those hippie types. But believe me, those who are able to sit quietly with themselves and have peace in their minds, then these people have found the golden ticket.
I have been using a mobile app called ‘Headspace’. It’s been a really nice introduction to meditation and the process of sitting quietly with your mind. It starts with just 10 minutes a day for 10 days. There is great animation and the voiceover is calming and extremely comforting. Now it’s not easy at first. When your head is used to spinning at 100 miles an hour, then sitting quietly with your own mind is going to be difficult. But if you really want peace of mind and heart, then I can’t recommend it enough. Having practised for some time. I am seeing benefits. Straight after the meditation I feel immeasurably calm. And as the day pans out, I feel a sense of quiet instead of the manic feelings I used to have. The app is free to download and if you find that you are enjoying it and it’s bringing benefits to you, then you can subscribe.
The third most important step I have taken is living life in the NOW. Not the past, not the future but in the right NOW. Again this might sound quirky. But if you really look at your thoughts, I can guarantee that your thinking is likely taken up by thoughts of the past and also thoughts of what will happen in the future. What we don’t realise is that we are spending so much energy on over-thinking the past and future, that we forget to live in the right NOW. There is so much joy around us. Small things that we just don’t notice because we are too busy and caught up in the noise in the head.
If you can bring your attention to this minute and enjoy it for what it is, you will soon find that you are having more moments of joy than ever before. Start by bringing your attention to the here and now. Concentrate on your breath and count to 10 in and out. Or you can concentrate on an object and just leave your attention there. Keep bringing your attention back as your thoughts start to move on. Little by little you will start to notice things that you have not noticed before. Maybe a child’s voice, or birds singing or a lawn mower mowing. Once you realise that you can only ever be in the present moment and that is all you have, then you become conscious of your thoughts. Once you become conscious everything changes. It is incredibly powerful. The expert in this area is Eckhart Tolle. His book, ‘The power of now’ really is a game changer. It certainly has been for me. I encourage you to read it.
Stopping the mind from over-thinking is no easy exercise. It will take time and determination. It really is a mental work-out! But calming the storm inside really does bring such well-being, that any other way seems just silly.
I truly believe that the answer to well-being lies with this one very important skill. To stop the over-thinking and just live.
Even if you just dabble, just try to become conscious of your conscious, then I am sure you will find benefits. Let me know your thoughts.
Onwards and upwards my loves, Kiki xxxx