Over-Thinking Is Killing You
You are reading this because you are thinking again. It is a constant thing for you. In fact, you spend so much time thinking, that you miss out on what you have actually already worked out. You cycle material over and over and the very act you participate in prevents the cycle from ever being able to stop.
It freezes you, leaving you feeling stuck, leaving you avoiding making decisions and sabotaging any opportunity you may have by chance attracted to yourself. Keep running into the same wall eventually it is going to kill you.
Obsessive thinking plays a prominent role in mood disorders, including dysthymia, major depression, bipolar disorder, and is the defining symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, and many other psychological conditions.
Obsessive thinking is an inability to gain control over recurrent, distressing thoughts, or images. These thoughts and images are embedded in a complex network of feelings, sensations, and at times, behavioral rituals and routines. Brain imaging studies indicate that obsessive thinking is associated with a neurological dysfunction of unknown cause that forces thoughts into repetitive loops. Obsessive thinking is like a hamster wheel in your brain, with a parade of different animals entering and exiting over time.
SHEER FORCE WILL NOT STOP YOUR THINKING
The application of a balanced, reasonable alternative thought, and the practice of “letting go” of obsessive content can drastically improve the trapped feelings that can result in Obsessive Thinking. Rather than attempting to “stop” the obsessive process, it works by shifting your attention to a predetermined thought and/or action. For example, the statement “these are just thoughts, they are not helping but are only hurting me”, or “I don’t know what will happen in my future, but the probability of _________ [fill in the blank] occurring is slim”, followed by three deep breaths and return to the task at hand is a practice that can begin your healing.
As Dr. Stein says, “if you have a worry problem, your brain gives you anxiety as a warning signal when you encounter uncertainty. You then attempt to avoid this anxiety in the short-term by analyzing or seeking reassurance to reduce the uncertainty. Sometimes this is successful and you do make yourself feel better, so your brain never learns that uncertainty is NOT dangerous and does not require a warning signal. Therefore, the analysis and reassurance-seeking often through WORRY QUESTIONS keeps the anxiety going.”
Worry questions CAN’T be answered!
It is impossible to know the future, so certainty can never be achieved. This means that all that effort spent trying to analyze, predict, and plan is utterly pointless…you’re trying to answer a question that is literally impossible to answer. So how do you break out of the worry cycle?
Simply put, you stop trying to answer the worry question.
YES… JUST LEAVE IT unresolved. Your brain is probably entering the panic-button mode. “WHAT??…this doesn’t make sense.” Exactly. It is not supposed to make sense. It is meant to trip the switch that seeks to make sense of everything. Allow the uncertainty to be there. Don’t research the question online. Don’t ask your friends and family whether everything will be okay.
Eventually, you will train yourself to get used to uncertainty and your anxiety will dissipate naturally. Over time, you will get used to uncertainty in general and worry less overall.
ANYTHING you do when you are anxious to try to relieve the anxiety in the short-term GUARANTEES the anxiety will stick around in the long-run.
Where does this leave you? Exactly and perfectly where you are. And when you are right here you might enjoy listening to some nice music, practicing breathing, listening to a guided meditation, picking up a book for a moment and flipping open to any page and finding the gold in it. Once again you will be in the drivers seat of your neurology and a sense of calm will most certainly appear. The more you practice the more relief you will receive. Play brain games, they also stimulate new neurological pathways to form so you can get yourself out of sticky situations.
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Monika Zands is the founder and CEO of MOLO, a global movement to spread MORE LOVE on the planet. Through her NEXT LEVEL Business Academy she builds tribes of leaders defining their legacy and making a difference through their communities. Reach out to her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+