Q. How do I stop overthinking, going over and over the same scenario in my head. It’s keeping me awake at night!
A. Rumination- you know, that thing that keeps you awake at night.
A thought comes into your head, like a train into a station, and you jump on it and off it takes you to destination unknown! And before you know it an hour has passed and you have been predicting a future or re-living a past, neither of which are actually happening in this present moment there in your bed…. but because of the illusory nature of thought, they have transported you to another place and time where you are going over and over them, creating all sorts of imaginary scenarios that look like real possibilities, however catastrophic they are…….. and then the alarm clock goes off!
What to do about it?
Well, there is no point in “trying” to stop thinking. That will just cause you more frustration, but, let’s look at the nature of thought and our relationship with it, because one of the great side effects of doing so, is that we tend to spend more time having a quiet and peaceful mind.
We have between 12-60 thousand thoughts per day, when you are overthinking probably more! We are the space in which they arise; they pop into our minds and we have no control over what time or when this happens. They are like clouds passing through the sky.
We are human and we think- that is a fact of life.
Thought is the medium through which we create sadness and happiness, how we create anxiety and peace of mind, how we create pessimism and optimism. Without a thought there is no feeling. Thought is the way we experience life and this is the three step process for how we create and generate every single feeling and experience we have-
1.There is a thought that we believe
2.The thought generates a feeling
3.The feeling generates an experience
It is the same three steps for every single emotion and state of mind regardless of the content, context or the outcome. It is all generated internally, (despite how it might look).
Thoughts in and of themselves have no power. If you paid attention to every thought that popped into your mind, your world would probably be a very different place!
But…..they take on a power when we give our energy to them and pay attention to what they look “as if” they are telling us.
Thoughts in and of themselves also hold no truth- they are merely a perspective, a possibility, a point of view- they are NOT a fixed outcome, but one of many potential outcomes….but some of those pesky thoughts we take SO seriously.
The key to a quieter mind is this-
Understand that you think and there is nothing you can do about that.
Understand that just because a thought is in your head it doesn’t mean it’s true. You don’t need to take it seriously.
Understand that the feelings that follow the thought know nothing about who you are, what your capabilities are or what the future holds. The only information that the feeling has to work from is the thought you are paying attention to in that current moment.
I guess by now you are thinking “Alison is about to talk to us about Mindfulness”. Well that is “an” approach, and what I am offering you is something different to that.
What I am pointing you to is the fact that YOU are creating your experience of life, moment to moment. YOU are the monster under the bed! There is nothing “out there” coming to get you. Yes we have circumstances, but how you see those circumstances will determine how you feel about life and not the other way round- the circumstance do not determine your life, your capacity to think does.
So….when you know all this, and I mean know it on a deep heartfelt level not an intellectual level, the thoughts that pop up in the darkest hours of night no longer look so scary, and there isn’t really anything you need to do with them, so they tend to just drift on by and peace of mind returns.
And a bit like when clouds pass, the sun is there, shining away. It didn’t ever go anywhere it was just hidden for a while.
If you would like to learn more about this approach, which gives a new perspective and relief from stress, anxiety, and any other emotional disturbance you have going, on please come over for a coffee on me, and we can have a chat about how this approach can help you- firstname.lastname@example.org