We all do it, and we have all been there (more often than we may care to admit), over thinking everything. Thinking about bills, about that thing we said to our coworker last Tuesday, about how we need to clean the house when we get home, or about why your friend was rude to you yesterday. We are always thinking and typically it’s not too positively.
Studies have shown that a mind that wanders (which is the default setting of our brains) is more likely to be an unhappy mind. While the clarity gained from the occasional day dream is good, I am going to give you 3 Simple Steps to bring yourself back to the present when you mind starts to obsess.
As always, find this post in audio format on iTunes, Google Play, or SoundCloud.
1. Use Mindfulness to Let Go
Mindfulness; a technique I talk about a lot, but may never clearly explain. In this instance, mindfulness refers to the act of being aware. Remaining aware of your thoughts, and aware of their implications.
The next time you find yourself particularly stuck on an incident, pause. Don’t judge yourself for being stuck there, instead question why you are there.
- What is it you are obsessing over?
- Why did you start thinking of it?
- How is it making you feel?
- Lastly, why are you giving it that wait?
If the incident is not beneficial to your wellbeing, or if you can’t change its outcome – you need to learn to let it go. The letting go is difficult, but totally possible and 100% liberating once achieved.
2. Focus on Someone Else
Whether its lending a physical hand, or an ear to listen – putting yourself into someone else’s life for even just a minute, will take you out of whatever thought it is you are stuck in. It’s also quite likely that you will be left feeling pretty good knowing you’ve helped someone else. Studies have actually linked helping others to lower levels of depression and overall greater life satisfaction. So get outside – help a friend, help a stranger – improve your mindset.
3. Deactivate the Ego
While your conscious minds may have you obsessing over the “what ifs””what could’ves” and “what will be’s” it is important to remember that all you have to focus on is the present. In these moments you need to find a way to bring yourself back to the present. This is where meditation comes into action.
Studies out of Harvard have shown that the area of your brain known as the “medial prefrontal cortex” is actually quieted during meditation. Interestingly enough this is a part of the brain that is always considered to be active during the times that we are focusing on thoughts related to self. So, if you find you are focusing too much on thoughts about yourself:
- Set a timer for 5 minutes
- SIT (or lay)
- Bring your focus to your breath