Too Much Thinking: When you’re just thinking too much.
When you wake up in the morning, when you go to bed at night what are you thinking about? Are you thinking about the past or the future? Are you worrying?
Personally I’ve been there, and it comes and goes. We all have. Our minds are built for thinking. But there comes a point when it gets to be too much.
Sometimes I go to bed worrying and sometimes I wake up worrying. Tossing and turning… There’s too much thinking going on!
“A few hours and still no sleep. I have to get up in the morning!”
“Don’t worry about it”, is easier said than done, but worrying really will put you into a downward spiral.
“Think positive”, is easier said than done too, but it’s true, being positive really will give you a feeling of well being. The trick is, you have to really be thinking positive, not just pretending to be. As a general rule, if you’re not feeling well, you’re probably not really thinking positive even if you’re convincing yourself you are.
“But I am, I am thinking positive thoughts”, you may say. Your feelings will be a good indicator of how you’re really thinking. You can’t fool your feelings. Some people mask their feelings with affirmations – little phrases of positive intention, but still feel terrible. However, it’s been said, affirmations are like planting seeds, and hopefully they’ll take root, eventually.
The top layer of your thoughts may be saying something positive, but the deeper layers may be full of not so positive thoughts. Think of it kind of like reading a book. Your reading the pages, going through the motions, eyes scrolling over every sentence, but your real thoughts are somewhere else, off in La La Land.
Some people fill up their time so they don’t have any quiet, “me” time. For some, quiet time means depression time, which means more thinking time… deep thinking, thinking that leads to worry. Some people just don’t want any me time, because they want to escape their thoughts.
So, get clear on how you’re really thinking. Balance it out. If you’re thinking too much, you’re likely going to start worrying, unless of course you’re a positive thinker already. Heavy thinkers are notorious for having too much on their mind. When there’s too much on your mind, you end up getting overwhelmed and again, worry can start to creep in.
Sure, you have responsibilities, you have things that have to get done. Do them, don’t think about them. Thinking about them too much usually has the tendency to make it worse. You’ll possibly even start to procrastinate, which will lead you to feel more worried, unproductive, guilty, and lethargic. Who wants to feel like that!?
You have the opportunity in every moment to think better thoughts. Thoughts that will make you feel better.
Don’t think about it. Do it.
Well… you can’t just stop thinking though. Thoughts are here to stay. The mind wants to think. So think, but think differently.
Instead of thinking about what you have to do next, think about what you’re doing now. There’s a lot less burden in thinking about now than there is about later. Thinking about now is limited to now which is a lot easier to handle. You’ll be much more productive doing what needs to be done now, than thinking about what needs to get done later. Thinking about later can mean overwhelming yourself with everything you need to get done in the next 6 hours, or even the next 6 months, even longer. All that compressed into your thoughts! That’s outrageous! No wonder you’re worrying and can’t sleep at night. Who wouldn’t be?
The future will be when it’s meant to. For now, focus on now. As Janice Joplin said , “…tomorrow never happens… It’s all the same f#!@ing day, man.”
You may worry about business, health, friends, certainly the list could go on. If it’s for later, write them down for later. Ask yourself how will worrying about these things add to your quality of life. Take charge of your feelings and thoughts by taking responsibility for them instead of just letting them seemingly happen to you.
“Responsibility! Oh no, something else to worry about!” Sure, only if you choose to worry about being responsible. Again, don’t think about it, do it. Doing it, means your thoughts are focused on now, instead of later.
But how do you change your thoughts? You can change your thoughts by making the conscious choice to think about the opposite of what is making you feel down. Think up!
It’s about being aware of how you’re feeling instead of ignoring it and getting trapped, then turning your thoughts around in a direction that feels better.
“But what about those negative feelings. Aren’t they important in their own way too?” Of course. Don’t disregard your feelings. Feelings are important. Every one of them. They make life dynamic, colorful, and sometimes full of drama. But they are also like guides on your path. If you’re feeling down about something, that feeling is likely telling you that what you’re thinking about may be important to you in it’s own way, but that you can make a different choice about it. You can look at it from a different perspective, and to empower yourself, so you can start feeling balanced again.
The world is about balance. When you feel down, it won’t be forever, it can’t be. Life is about cycles. Every breath you take is a representation of life’s balance. So, when you feel down you can consciously tell yourself this is just a part of the process and it will change, it’s not forever. Although it’s an important feeling, as all feelings are, you don’t have to think your way into feeling it longer than you have to. You shouldn’t get stuck in it if it isn’t serving you.
Thinking too much still?
Write your thoughts down. That will get them off your mind and into the world so you won’t have to keep running those thoughts around in your mind over and over again. When you write them down, you’ll have the opportunity to really look at your feelings from a different angle, because they’ll finally be “out there” instead of being stuck inside your mind.
Change your thoughts. Feeling down, drained? Make a visual picture of what that feeling looks like as if you were making a painting. Turn those feelings into an image, so you can relate those feelings to your thoughts. How are they feeding each other. Then thinking about the very opposite feelings, and create a visual picture of what that would look like.
It’s kind of like doing yoga. Yoga postures will change your mind, just like your mind will change your posture. Feeling depressed? You’re probably hunched over, or feeling heavy inside causing your posture to be not so balanced.
So make a conscious choice, do something that will change your thought patterns. From the body to the mind and from the mind to the body. Your thoughts are words, labels for your feelings, and your feelings are experiences telling you about the dialogue going on in your head.
Painting that picture: Feeling down may look like a big pile of sludge in a dark dank ally. Whereas the opposite may look like laying on the beach in the sunlight warming your skin. Feel that for a moment. Soak it in. Close your eyes and feel yourself on a beach.
You may say “Well I’m not on a beach, I’m in this dreaded cubicle at work!” It’s not about where you are, it’s about how you’re feeling and where your thoughts can take you. If you can bring that feeling of sunshine into your consciousness and replicate that feeling within you, you’ll notice a difference. Replace that sludge with sunshine.
Want a quick change of pace? Listen to music. Whatever makes you feel good. When you feel good you can make better choices.
You have the power to choose.
Sure, this is a short commentary, and there’s a lot more to be said on this, and of course it won’t answer all your problems, but it may be a helpful catalyst to some of you who are thinking too much to start choosing to look at things in a new way. I hope it helps you feel better, and stop thinking so much.
Think Well, Feel Better. 🙂
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