“I’m an over-thinker, especially at the moment. Can you tell me how to stop thinking so much? Wish I could switch off! Not as well as I was. Worrying.”
When I spent most of my time lying down because of CFS, I would practice meditation and relaxation techniques. So I did A LOT of practice :-)
You can learn to switch off… I recommend “listening…”
Try it for 10 seconds… become very alert, enough to catch the next thought that pops into your head.
Hey presto, no thoughts! Then it’s just a matter of keeping on doing it over and over until you’re really good at it. You can make it into a meditation too which is easier because you’ll have less distraction…
You can also make regular actions meditative by simply being aware of what you’re doing (flow) rather than splitting attention, when the doing has little attention and most of our energy is going into mind-chatter.
So… when you get the hang of no-mind and flow, then thinking is deliberate and conscious… more powerful and doesn’t drain all your energy. Constant mind-chatter is very draining and makes us feel unstable. Deep meditation on the other hand feels incredibly SANE, peaceful.
Once you have regained sanity, you’ll find that your “big mind” — the unconscious part, will deliver the right thoughts at the right time with surprising accuracy.
That’s because the meditative mind is more expansive, more aware and so you’re less likely to forget important stuff than when your attention is drowning in worry. You’ll begin to trust yourself and see clearly that worry is not required, that letting go is better than trying to constantly, mentally, hold it all together.
And because you are not your thoughts, meditation means you’ll feel yourSELF again, because your Self is revealed and available only when thoughts stop… when the clouds have gone from the sky. You become whole again, like you were as a child.
You’ll also be able to apply thinking to problems and worries in a more powerful and practical way, asking “What can I actually DO about this?” As you gain control over mental processes, you’ll be able to powerfully focus more easily and direct your attention to solutions, rather than get caught up in unhelpful emotions or habitual worry patterns.
Everything affects everything else too, don’t forget. I can’t let you forget that 10 days after originally sticking strictly to the diet, you felt like a “spring chicken” :-) So sleep, diet, exercise, organization and so-on is all playing into how well your physical brain is functioning.
I recommend reading a chapter of Happy Guide every day to let the whole system crystallize and keep you inspired and motivated. You can’t do better than living the best way.
Michael Kinnaird is the author of Happy Guide, the result of a 20 year exploration into what works for health and happiness.
Read Chapter 1 “The Happiness Secret”
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One thought on “How to stop thinking so much”
Michael is amazing. Richard