Overthinking: The Art of Creating Problems That Weren’t Even There

Pairs Well With…”The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelus

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had friends mention they haven’t seen much of me and have been asking what I’ve been up to and where I’ve been.  What I wanted to say was “In my head. Spending lots of time in my head. Thinking.” Do you know how crazy that sounds?  Yes. Yes, I do, which is precisely why I responded with something lame like, “Oh, you know, places.”  Places?  Really?  (For the record, I’ll choose lame over crazy every time.)

I think about how often I put extra thought and energy into minute things that aren’t that big of a deal when you look at the “big picture.” At the same time, I just can’t shut it off.  I can’t get my mind to shut off. It’s exhausting!  Running scenarios like a choose your own adventure book.  Playing back words like a song on repeat.  Trying to draw a conclusion on a situation that is still in motion.  Where does all this come from?  It has to stop.

Lightbulb Moment: If I spent half as much time in my head thinking, analyzing and running circles around things I can’t change, and just lived each day to the fullest, I’d have much more time on my hands.  (Life problems solved.)

Have you ever said to someone “Don’t think like that” or “Don’t waste your energy. It’s not worth your time!” If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s don’t tell someone to shut off the circus of the mind.  If we could, we would.  We obviously think it’s worth our time or needs our attention, or we wouldn’t be talking or thinking about it in the first place.   It’s harder to stop the state of frenzy than you would think, because if it were that easy, we’d just shut it off.

Why do we live in our minds when we can just be living our life?  Why can’t we just….be?

It’s all about perspective and mindset.  While we’ve been contemplating situations that haven’t even come to fruition, or worrying about where we’ll be in five years, we could be celebrating the “right now” and all the things going right in life.  Take a moment to breathe and think about all the great things in your world, and the things that make you happy: family, friends, children, relationships, vacation….football. The list is endless, but it takes a conscious shift in mindset to realize that what is bringing you down can weigh you down mentally, physically, and emotionally, too – if you let it.

Where do we start digging out or how do we stop the mind swirl when our world comes crashing down?

  • Place focus on the positive and shiny things.  Radiant positivity will start to negate negativity. The two simply cannot co-exist.
  • Take one thing at a time. Focus on resolving outstanding issues one by one. Otherwise, you may find yourself more fragmented and frazzled.
  • Make a move.  Anything. Something. While the universe can provide resolution to some things, making change happen also lies in you, too. The things that can sort themselves out will, the rest is on you. Change the things you can change.
  • Rely on your support system.  Asking for help is not shameful.  It’s brave.  We all need it at some point or another, and in different forms.  The people in your support system are your rocks to get you through hard times, but they can’t help when they are on the outside.
  • Allow time to process. Breathe. Take space. Reground yourself in nature and the things you love.  Some of the best breakthrough moments will come to you when you’re by yourself.

It takes an immense amount of practice and self-awareness not to let the negative moments in life get to us.  It’s one of the hardest day-to-day things to do and think about. However, when you can master and overcome the fear, anxiety, anger or chaos, whether through mediation, constructive conversation or any other method that works for you, you’ll feel a remarkable lightness.

My motto is progress over perfection, which for me, looks like:

I am becoming a more peaceful person with a practice of patience.

I am more compassionate, especially when I don’t understand.

I am trusting in what I don’t know because it will teach me.

I am learning my own strength through turbulent and expected times.

Live with intention and embrace each day for who you are, and who you are becoming. Change is never-ending, so don’t fight it.  You won’t win.  Live with focus, and know where you’re at and where you’re going. Most importantly, live and lead with love in your heart, being thankful for those who are in your life, and you will never be lonely.

What does your progress over perfection look like?

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5 Responses to “Overthinking: The Art of Creating Problems That Weren’t Even There”

  1. Dawn Marie

    a perfect post for me to read today…the hamster wheel of thoughts has been in a perpetual spin I must confess! Thank you for the opportunity to halt the feet & stop myself from going NOWHERE! giggles. Hugs for the great topic!


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