What if you could feel like you were relaxing by the pool, or sitting in the sun and relaxing at the beach, or enjoying a relaxing weekend, while still doing everything you need to do?
Yes, it would be amazing. After reading this article and learning how to stop thinking so much and will start living a mindful, in-the-moment life, you’ll be feeling like you’re on holiday even while you work. So, my Zen-sational readers; read on and let’s learn how to stop thinking and start living.
Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do, you can’t stop thinking about something
We’ve all faced those time when we have a negative thought occupying our brains. Those times when you just can’t seem to workout how to stop thinking. Maybe you’re thinking aboutt your responsibilities, or about someone else, or you’re blatantly just thinking about sex non-stop…
Whatever it is, how do you stop thinking about something?
You can take a day off, you can go to a spa, you can even go on vacation, but getting away from your worries, your stresses and your sense of responsibility seems an all too illusive dreams. So, what do you do when you can’t get away from yourself?
Take a moment to look back over the course of your life and answer this simple question: How much time have you spent thinking and worrying?
People worry about all sorts of things.
Some people worry and stress about their relationships:
Will I find true love?
Will he ever understand me?
Will I need a divorce lawyer?
It goes on and on.
Then there are those who worry about work.
Will I ever get a good job?
Will I ever be successful?
What if I don’t ever get a managerial position?
What if I get fired?
What if, what if, what if?
Then there’s the health ones.
What if my teeth fall out?
What if I never lose weight?
What if I die in a fatal traffic accident?
And of course there are all those people who worry about the future. And if that’s you, please read this big list of reasons to never worry about the future again. Go on. Read it now. It will do wonders for you.
It seems everyone needs to learn how to stop thinking too much about… everything.
Clearly the vast majority of us spend an awful lot of time worrying.
But why? Because obviously, the all important fact about worrying is that it accomplishes nothing.
How many negative thoughts of yours have actually come true? Maybe about one in a million? I wish I were allowed to lie a million times and still be taken seriously. But only negative thoughts get that privileged.
Somehow, negative thoughts and worries get away with it. They lie to us, cause us immense pain time and time again throughout our lives, and yet still we go on listening to them. And what’s even more bizarre, is that we all seem to think that negative thoughts that hurt us are somehow more realistic than positive thoughts that make us feel good.
Why you need to stop thinking negatively right now.
Thinking negatively makes the negative outcome more likely:
When you think negatively, you inadvertently force your mind to look for ways in which reality is like the imagined negative event.
Now of course our thoughts don’t control reality but they can have a serious influence.
Consider this. If you enter a job interview thinking that you’ll say something offensive, you’ll force your mind to think of hundreds of different offensive remarks you could make, and with so many offensive remarks in mind, it’s a lot more likely you’ll accidentally let one slip and lose the job opportunity.
So you need to learn how to stop thinking about something negatively so your negative thoughts don’t become self fulfilling prophecies.
Worrying stops new ideas entering your mind:
When you worry, you focus so absolutely on one possible outcome (the outcome you are worried about) that you prevent yourself from seeing other possibilities.
In order to form new ideas, you must allow your conscious mind to stop thinking, so that your subconscious can take over.
Have you ever noticed that your best ideas come to you when you’re out for a walk (especially a Zen Walk), doing exercise, going out, or doing something else that’s relaxing and fun? That’s because at those times your conscious mind relaxes, letting your subconscious work.
Worrying and stress are two of the worst things for your health
Worry and stress are two of the worst things for your body.
Excessive stress leads to:
Anxiety and depression
A poor immune system
Cold / flu / bugs
Clearly, it would help us all to stop thinking and worrying too much.
But just how do you stop thinking too much?
It’s not as easy as simply forgetting about it, is it? You’ve likely tried before to silence your thoughts and concerns. You may even have taken a vacation to get away from it all only to find that though you’re thousands of miles away, your mind is still occupied by the same thoughts and concerns.
So what do you do?
How do you stop thinking and start liiving?
The following exercises have helped me stop worrying and start living as well as countless others, from teenagers worrying to children with anxiety, to people suffering with depression and more. I hope they’re equally helpful for you too.
How to Stop Thinking Too Much So You Can Just Live
1. Be Aware:
The first and most important thing to do to combat excessive worrying is to simply be aware of the problem in the first place.
You’ve got to realise that you do worry too much and that most of the things you worry about never happen.
Think of all the times you’ve worried needlessly before and come to the understanding that it’s the negative thoughts and worries themselves that are the problem, not reality.
In the job interview example, it’s not the fact that you will say something offensive, but the fact that you think you might, which affects you.
Just by realising that you do think too much, you can start to take progressive steps to solve the problem.
Stop Fighting Negative Thoughts:
We often make our negative thoughts seem terribly important precisely because we are spending so much effort fighting them off.
If we actually stop fighting for a moment, if we accept the thought as it is and see it for what it is, often we realise we’ve been looking at a tiny spider through a giant magnifying glass, turning something that at its worse might have given us a little bite, into something that will literally tear our heads off.
Don’t give your worry more importance than it’s worth. Try to be aware of the fact that you’re worrying, accept that your mind is creating negative thoughts, and choose not to fight them but rather to simply think about something entirely different.
Worrying makes us afraid to act, and the more we worry, the more afraid we become. Acting, on the other hand, undoes worrying. When we take positive action we realise that we do have power over a situation, and this can greatly help to reassure us. Focus on the positive things you can do, instead of the things you can’t do. Spend your time acting rather than worrying. So, one rule for how to stop thinking is to replace thought with action.
Reality check: Make a list of everything that you are worried about and why you are worried about it. Take a break and pick up the list again either a few hours later or the next day. This time, truly examine and question the list, asking how important and how relevant the things you worry about truly are to your life. This will help you to realise that most of the time you’re worries are actually irrelevant.
Swap Dependency for Control:
Often we worry about things we have little control over, like what others might think of us. In these situations, however, there’s usually an underlying reason for the worry or for the negative thoughts.
For instance, if you are worried about what people think of you, your worries quite likely stem from a desire to fit in or to be deemed valuable by society or by your friends. Recognising this underlying cause gives you power, because you can find a new way to satisfy your need, a way you have control over.
For instance, recognising that you’re worried about what others think of you because you need to feel as though you fit in, you can look for a new way to create that sense of belonging. Perhaps you could remind yourself that your friends are not perfect either and that a sense of belonging is created as much through a mutuality of weaknesses as it is of strengths.
So, our next rule for how to stop thinking is to recognise where you are worrying about things outside of your control, find the underlying reason for those worries and find a way to resolve your concerns whilst remaining in control.
Stop giving Negativity Attention: A huge part of the problem people have with negative thoughts is that they presume there’s a reason why the negative thought keeps arising. However, the reason why the thought keeps arising is precisely because you believe it must mean something.
When we give too much weight to a thought, by blocking it, by obsessing over it or by presuming that it must hold some terrible importance, we simply motivate our mind to keep producing the same thought. Remind yourself that, actually, the only reason the thought keeps coming back up is because you’re giving it far more attention than it deserves.
Channel Negativity into Positivity:
It’s not all about learning how to stop thinking, it’s also about thinking positively not negatively.
Simply decide that every time you think the negative, worrying thought you’ll think about something else instead. For instance, if your negative worrying thought is that you’ll get fired from your job, decide that each time you think that thought you will immediately think about receiving your pay cheque.
The above advice essentially comes down to three vitally important rules for how to stop thinking. First, do not give thoughts more attention than they deserve. Secondly, be aware of the fact that you have a disposition to worry and that worrying itself is the issue, not reality. Finally, when you do worry or suffer a negative thought, think about and do something positive.
Incidentally. Why are cats happy all the time? Read that link for the answer.