If we are going to explore the concept of thinking, we have to ask ourselves, where does thinking come from? Thinking comes from your mind. In short, the mind controls all the memories and feelings from all your experiences and stores them in a complex database.
So then let’s consider first of all what is the mind in the grip of a vicious circle. If you go to the doctor and he tells you you must have an operation, you start to worry. In society, we’ve set this up so that everyone automatically worries when this happens. Worrying now takes away our appetite and sleep. This is absurd because you cannot stop worrying. You now worry because you worry. Further you realise you cannot stop worrying and now you worry because you worry about worrying.
The mind is built to control you if you let it. It wants all the attention, all the energy and all the control, all the time. If you allow the mind to do this, it will merge with your being and you will become entrenched in your EGO. Yes, this is where EGO comes from, the mind and the being as one!
Once this happens you start to argue your point of view with people, you want to prove that you are right and others are wrong. Now, the mind is in control and it will fight to the bitter end to prove itself right.
The mind is like the duracell bunny, remember the add on tv…? As soon as you give it energy to think, it will continue to think and create more thoughts for you to think or worry about. It is a continuous thought generating machine. This is where you need to be careful, because your thoughts will consume you if you let them. It is a dangerous path to go down because you will become trapped inside your head and lose your sense of now. This happens mostly when you are alone. Your thoughts become alive in your moment of loneliness or silence. So many people struggle with this. They are addicted to this worrying, being left alone with themselves so that they can be stuck in their heads and avoid taking action and feeling alive.
The same can be said of people that never want to be alone. You always want to be with someone, either drinking, dining, movies, braais etc. It does not matter because you are scared of your thoughts and that they will consume you. You are afraid of being real with yourself because your thoughts will never lie to you. It is like your conscious is telling you when you messed up. “You are fat”, “You are not good enough” “You are not worthy”…. And on and on and on. You allow the self judgements to run your thoughts and then you run away from them. You are not your story.
It is like having a drug addiction, being addicted to thoughts is an addiction. Yes, it is. If you want to be sane, you have to stop thinking and start to control it. How do you do that? The good news is there is a way to work with this.
The first rule is, do not try to stop thinking. It will just make it worse. It will be like throwing a stone into a pond with calm water. You will just stir it up. In the same way when you leave that pond alone it will become calm, you must leave your mind alone.
One great way to do this is to become present and aware of the Now! Start by sitting in a quiet place, maybe outside. Close your eyes. Now just be present. Listen to your breathing. Just experience the sounds, the wind, smells, sounds, all the things you can experience in the moment of Now! You are now present and in the moment of Now.
In a short while, your mind will become quiet….. If a thought comes up in your mind, just let it go and do so by getting back in the Now and repeat the steps above.
There are many other ways to do this and you can perhaps also try cold therapy. This works particularly well for me. In a quiet place, submerge your feet in a bucket of cold water with a bag of ice. Focus on your breathing. After a while, it will become painful and then the pain will go away. Keep it in for as long as you can. I do it for 15 minutes. The body is a powerful creation. In short, the body realises the problem about your feet in the extreme cold water and then sends blood to your feet to protect them. The brain is forced to act because it now has to focus on the pain and the protection of the feet. It helps the blood flow to your feet and regulates everything else in your body. Your thoughts suddenly dissipate and your mind becomes quiet. This is a very powerful method. Keep breathing deeply in and out during this process to help stay focussed. It also helps with inflammation. It is the same a taking an ice bath!
Overthinking and the disadvantages of it lead to stress. It is the inability to let things go and to either be stuck in your past or your future. These thoughts are worthless because you end up thinking about things that have happened and you cannot change, or things that have not happened yet and you can do nothing about. The event will happen and all you can do is look at it and accept it. Another disadvantage is an increase in anxiety and frustration. All of these are useless emotions that you can control through getting into the Now. Should an event arise then give it your attention, take action and make it happen. Once completed, move on. For example, if you do not have money to pay for an account, instead of worrying about it, call them and make an arrangement to pay it off in some other way that suits your needs. Now you acted and removed the worry from your mind.
One of my favourite things…..“If you can keep your head and all about you, when they are losing theirs and blaming it on you. If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you and make allowance for all their doubting you. If you can wait and not be tired by waiting or being lied about and don’t deal in lies, or being hated to give way to hating and yet don’t look too good nor talk to wise. If you can dream and not make dreams your master. If you can think and not make thoughts your aim. If you can bear to hear the truth and what you have spoken twisted by nayers to create traps for fools, or watch the things you gave your life to, broken and tossed away. If you can make one heap of all your winnings and risk it all on a twist and turn and toss and lose it all and start again at your beginnings and never breathe a word about your loss. If you can serve mankind, walk with kings and neither friend or foe can hurt you. If you can fill the unforgiving minute the sixty seconds worth of time to give to a stranger and help them, then the earth becomes yours my son.”