I am a recovering over thinker and I want to extend some advice for those people, like me with over active minds and under active "just GO already" impulses. If you find yourself feeling like you are doing a lot only to find out you hardly got anything done in the day, you are probably an over thinker. If you find yourself with the compulsion to entertain every possible angle and outcome of a decision than you are probably an over thinker. If you are prone to distraction addictions like excessive social media use and entertainment, you are probably an over thinker. If you are high anxiety and prone to be fearful, you are probably an over thinker. So, are we terminally broken? Are we doomed to a life of nail biting and yo-yoing emotions and stalled motivations? I declare decisively NOT. Here are some ways I manage my over thinking:
- Have a DAILY physical practice. Meditation is great too, and I recommend that, but often what over thinkers need is to MOVE. By moving your body, you will switch from thinking to ACTION. I recommend alternating modalities. Maybe one day you hoop, the next day you do yoga, the day after that you jump on a trampoline, the day after that you dance around and so on. Bonus points for just jumping around and making silly noises one of the days ;) The reason for varying your movement practice is over thinkers habituate to routine very rapidly. As soon as you can do what you are doing without having to focus on it, you may find that your brain kicks back into high gear.
- Speaking of routine. Make sure there is variety in your day to day routine and that you aren't lopsided in fulfilling your basic human needs. The over thinking brain can get activated when seeking variety it isn't getting in the external world. Are you working too much and haven't seen your friends in forever? Are you socializing too much and not accomplishing your goals? Are you eating well? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you giving yourself time for adventure and spontaneity?
- Give yourself a time limit to think about a certain thing before making a choice and acting on it. This may not apply for really big things, like wether or not to leave a relationship or a job (although maybe it should). But if you find yourself stuck in indecision about things that ultimately don't matter that much, like what to wear or what to eat, give yourself an appropriate time limit to just choose already. The length of time will be personal to you. If its too short, it could increase your anxiety, too long and it won't do any good. Play with the amount of time until you find your sweet spot.
- Make it OK to feel anxiety or any other uncomfortable feeling. Often times we get stuck in our heads because we are trying to "figure out" how to get out of a problem. What we are really doing is trying to find a way out of the FEELING the problem produces in us. Like a finger trap, the harder we try to get out of something, the more intense the feeling gets. Practice naming the feeling or problem and putting a period on the end of the sentence. Such as; "I feel anxious (period)." Or "I am unhappy in my job (period)." Just sit with it and breathe. Let it be OK that you aren't perfectly happy all the time. This opens the flow of time to let what you are experiencing shift on its own.
There is more to unpack here, of course, but these are some of the top ways that I slow down the hamster wheel of my brain. The positive side to an over active brain, is it probably means you have an intelligent, high energy brain. When treated properly you can channel this super power into excellence in whatever you choose. Like every quality we have, there is the up side and the down side. Knowing what to balance and when is key to experiencing more of the upsides to our personal inner matrix.
I hope this helps! Let me know in the comments!
Sending peace and deep breathing to all my brilliant friends out there ;)