MENTAL HEALTH: OVERTHINKING & HOW TO STOP

I think we live in a generation of overthinking. Most of us spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, worrying about the future and regretting the past that it leads us to draining states of anxiety and depression.

At times it get's so strong that the light in life just seems to burn out. I know because I've been there. I've wasted years trying to control future outcomes and change the past. I've spent days lost in thought about what others think of me and have crippled myself trying to fit to what I believe others expect of me. I overthink EVERYTHING. Maybe that's the same as you?

The amazing thing is that it doesn't need to be that way. I hope this article can be a catalyst in your life for growth.

If I told you I heard voices in my head I'm sure most of you would be worried. Some of you might even politely suggest I see a doctor or a psychiatrist. But it's the truth. Each and everyday I hear voices, continuous monologues or dialogues that follow me relentlessly from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. And do you wanna know something really scary? So do you. The only difference is you might not know it.

Have you ever stopped to listen to your thoughts? It's a scary thing to do. Most likely you will find a constant onslaught of comparing, complaining and commenting. You will find that most of the time these thoughts are not even relevant to the situations you are in at the time. They are revisiting the distant past or rehearing for possible future situations, normally in my case ending up with things going wrong. Sometimes they are even accompanied by visual images, making them feel almost like memories. Even when they do focus on the 'now' your thoughts will interpret things using your past and distort the reality of the situation.

For many (me included) these thoughts can be so negative that they can completely drain you,  leaving you anxious and miserable. Why? Because we believe them to be true. This however is a lie.

Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher who wrote 'Power Of Now', the book this blog post is based around. In his thirties he was in a state of suicidal depression and woke up one night in unbearable pain. Over and over he kept repeating the phrase 'I can't live with myself.' After a while he suddenly became aware of just how strange of a thought this was. If 'I' can not live with 'myself' then there must be two of me. The 'I' and the 'self' that I can not live with. Maybe he thought, only one of them was real.

The mind is an incredible tool if used correctly but it can also become powerfully destructive. The truth is, most of the time we are not using our mind at all. Our mind is using us. How many people reading this can realistically say they have the power to turn on and off thinking? If we can't then we are not in control. We are tricked to believing that we are our thoughts and that we must follow and believe them as they arise. This is a delusion. We are not our thoughts. And with this realisation we can truly begin to change.

The amazing truth is that you have the power to attach or detach from your thoughts and that on-going, negative narrative. In fact, you can take the first step right now. Start listening to that voice in your head. Pay attention to the repeated thought patterns, the same things that have most likely been playing in your head for years. Listen to your thoughts and be there as a witness. When you listen do not judge or condem what you hear. Just listen. You will soon realise that you are not your thoughts but the deeper self that sits behind them.

So how exactly is this going to help? In the past, when a negative thought popped into my head I had no choice but to listen and believe what it was saying. By listening to it I gave it power to return again stronger, reinforcing it's message and breaking me down. Over time this constant battle shows itself in anxiety and depression. By sitting back and observing these thoughts you can slowly learn the ability to simply choose which thoughts to focus on and which thoughts to simply let pass through and dissipate. You can break the cycle of constant, relentless overthinking.

This concept is from the first chapter of 'Power Of Now' and was profoundly important for me in my journey. I have bought a bunch of these books to give away to you guys who read this blog as a way to pass on what I have found so incredibly helpful. Let me know in the comments if you would like a book and if you tried out the simple practice above and I will drop you a message and then send one out to as many of you as possible.

Thank you as always,

David Gibbs

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