“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”
Recently, I had a client come to me that was concerned with her busy mind – analyzing and worrying about both her own life and others far too much. Overall, she is struggling with her thinking. I could easily empathize with her. After sleeping too few hours last night, I have come to the conclusion “me too”!
I would suffice to say we all at some point take our thinking way too seriously. I know I do. I really struggle when I’m out of sorts and in a bad mood. After all, my mind tells me, “I am a Life Coach, and I’m supposed to have figured life out and not have bad moods”. Well, the real truth is that I am a human being and human beings experience different moods. While I am on Earth and in this human form, I can’t get around having human experiences! So when I am in a bad mood, it is how I “think” about my mood that makes it worse and causes me to suffer. When I remember that this is just my thinking and not the real truth, it allows me to relax and not take myself so seriously.
So how much does our over thinking “busy mind” really hurt us?
Stress is caused by excessive thinking. It is not caused by how much we actually have to do but more about how we “think” about how much we have to do. In other words, stress is coming more from our internal thinking than outside factors. Also worry, fear, anxiety, overwhelm, confusion and beating up on ourselves are results of too much thinking. Our thinking causes our suffering. Living mostly in our busy minds can never bring us happiness. So, not only is too much thinking causing our suffering and unhappiness, it is keeping us away from our own creative thinking, fresh insights and intuition. It is keeping us from being true to ourselves. As a way of life, it is nuts!
As Rick Hanson, Ph.D., neuropsychologist with UC Berkeley, states in his article, “Are You thinking Too Much?” so much of what we twirl around with in the mind is a waste of time. It doesn’t solve a problem, prevent a bad think from happening, or bring us to peace with others. And it is deeply unnatural. As we evolved, our ancestors probably experienced more physical but less mental fatigue than most people today in the developed nations. Consequently our bodies are adapted to weariness – but our minds are not.
He goes on to say that this crazy mental busyness has become the new normal. Pulling out of the mental traffic is an act of freedom and kindness and wisdom. One way he suggests to do this is through slowly exhaling which engages the calming and restorative parasympathetic wing of the nervous system to slow your heart rate; the longer the exhalation, the more parasympathetic activation.
And remember it is just “thought”. Are those thoughts really true? Isn’t it time to give that busy mind a rest?
Cheers and Love to YOU,