Is your mind full of noise? Do you suffer from stress and worry? No worries. You just need to know how to stop thinking too much. We’ll show you how.
If we weren’t able to think, we would never have invented the wheel, or any of the other inventions we now take for granted. But thinking is a lot like the power supply to your laptop. Provide the right amount of power and you’re left with a powerful tool. Deliver too much power and that tool will simply melt in heat.
Too much thinking stops your mind from functioning properly.
There’s a very simple way to tell whether you’re thinking the right amount or not. Simply ask yourself these three questions:
Are you thinking too much? Answer these three questions.
Are you able to perceive each individual thought?
Many people think so quickly and so erratically that their thoughts become a blur.
I like to use an analogy here. Imagine your mind is like a washing machine. When the washing machine is spinning too fast you can’t see the individual pieces of clothing in it. When it slows down the clothes stop spinning and you can see each individual item, you know, your Y-fronts from your dungarees.
The same is true for the mind. When your mind is racing you can’t see the individual thoughts, and if you can’t actually see what it is you’re thinking, your thoughts are useless to you.
If your mind is going too fast, you might want to learn how to stop thinking too much. And you will find it very helpful to learn about mindfulness, which will silence those thoughts.
Are your thoughts distracting?
If your thoughts are distracting you throughout the day, then they’re preventing you from getting on and enjoying your life.
If, for instance, you’re trying to talk to someone but your mind is harping on and on about how you have to go and clean the house, then your thoughts aren’t serving you.
In fact, if this is the case, you are a slave to your thoughts.
You’re listening to your thoughts and doing what they tell you to do, even when you don’t want to.
If this is the case you need to learn to stop your thoughts from controlling you. And you can do that by learning Vipassana meditation technique. Honestly, try it. You will find it very beneficial.
Can you focus?
Take five minutes right now to close your eyes and just focus on your breathing.
Try to empty your mind. Try not to think. Just focus on your breathing.
Notice the rate at which you are experiencing thoughts.
Are your thoughts preventing you from focussing? If so, they’re getting in your way and holding you back. If you really can’t focus, you will probably want to read this guide to developing your focus. Trust me. It will do you wonders.
What happens to me when I think too much
Let’s take a look at precisely what happens when you think too much. I’ll use myself as an example.
Here I am typing away at this article, in my basement (which is currently being renovated), by myself, on a dreary day.
Now, years ago, if I had been in this exact situation, my mind would be kicking up a stink. My mind would be making a fuss for several reasons. Firstly, I used to have ego, and I used to perceive myself as a pretty successful and popular guy. A pretty successful and popular guy does not sit in the basement by themselves typing away at articles as though in solitary confinement.
What I am currently doing would (back then) have been completely at odds with my idea of myself. We all have an idea of ourselves, a way of perceiving ourselves (as I previously discussed in an article about the origins of our perception of self).
What I’m doing right now would be a THEM not a ME, and my mind would be rebelling like some sort of teenage delinquent.
Back then, my mind would be saying “I should be out socialising because I’m a popular guy.” “I shouldn’t be sitting in an incomplete basement doing this. I should be in a high rise office.” And so on and so on. My mind would outright refuse to accept the present moment. Instead, it would focus on its idea of my self. It would kick up a stink about how I’m being a THEM and not a ME. And, of course, all this would prevent me from focusing and getting my book done.
Now that is an example of harmful thinking.
And I’m certain you’ve experienced a similar thing.
There are areas of your life which aren’t right. Maybe you’re a single forty year old. That just doesn’t sit well with your idea of you self, because you’re supposed to be married by this age, right? And in response your mind goes nuts, harping on about how you should be with a women right now.
In fact, even if you, as a single 40 year old, then go on a date, your mind would likely still deny the present moment. Because at 40, your mind tells you,you shouldn’t be on a date, you should be on your 10th wedding anniversary. Instead of focusing on the date and possibly creating a relationship that would lead to marriage, your mind becomes the typical teenage brat and drools on and on about how “It’s now fair. I’m not supposed be here and now. I’m supposed to be this and that.”
So because your mind is stuck on one negative way of thinking, you can’t appreciate the present moment. And if you can’t make the most of the present moment, you won’t ever get anywhere.
How To Stop Thinking Too Much. The Top 8 Ways.
- Remove the causes of your over-thinking
All positivity-warriors know that if you want to get over your thoughts you have to remove the causes of negative thoughts.
Every thought arises for a reason. And most of the time they are caused by some reminder or some piece of external information that stimulates your mind in a certain way.
You see your Ex’s phone number, you start to think about that time you caught that text message.
You see an ad for a cure for cancer, your health anxiety flairs up.
So what’s the best way to remove thoughts? Get rid of the causes.
One of the best ways to remove the causes of your thoughts is to do a little Zen-interior design. Take a look at our guide to creating a meditation room.
- Clean your room
Directly following on from the previous, you can’t be Zen in a room full of clutter.
If your room is a complete disaster you’re much more likely to have monkey mind.
Now there is nothing wrong with a mess. Mess makes you more creative. But what does matter is that you don’t have any energy-busters.
Energy-busters are those little things that get you thinking along the wrong path. For instance, let’s say that like me you work at home, and you work in a private little room. But in your room / office you have a TV. And next to the TV is a clock. One time you’re working late trying to get things done when the clock hits 7 and you know it’s time for Jeopardy. You put the TV on. And Alex Trebeck totally ruins your Zen. You lose your focus. You’re done.
Get rid of all the distractions.
- Practice making quick decisions and going with them
A lot of your thoughts are actually quite beneficial and practical. Let’s say you’re a student and you’re going to go to university to study for a degree in physchology. But you don’t know where. And there are a lot of choices. You need to think about which one.
But you cant decide. So you keep on and on, thinking, thinking, thinking, until it’s too late.
You need to train your mind to make decisions in the right way. Train yourself to think for a certain amount of time, and then make the best decision and stick to it.
When you have a decision to make do this.
Give yourself a set amount of time to decide in.
Think about it in-depth. Get all your thinking out the way.
Make a decision.
Take one course of action that will cement the decision. You want it finalised so there is no more thinking to do. If you’re thinking of sending an email, for instance, you either send it at that second or you delete it and forget about it.
So. Think. Make a decision. Stick to your guns.
Your mind is directly related to your body. If your body is too stagnant your mind will be too. And the best way to cure your stagnant body mind is to exercise.
Do a form of exercise that you will find liberating. Yoga. A run through the woods. Or you could use Osho’s Dynamic Meditation Technique. That will definitely cure the problem.
Exercise is one of the best ways how to stop thinking too much. Next time you’re stuck thinking, workout.
- Get over your fears
When a thought is stuck in your mind it is often to do with fear.
You decided to break up with your boyfriend. But now that you’re alone you can’t help but think of the good times you spent together. You have a fear. Your fear is that you will be alone forever. So what are you going to do?
Some people (fools?) rush in. But that doesn’t actually remove your fear. Instead, you need to learn how to stop your fear, so take a look at that link.
What is thinking?
Thinking is not paying attention to what’s happening around you and instead being caught up in your own mind.
So what is the opposite of thinking.
The opposite of thinking is having a clear mind and focusing on reality in the present moment.
And that is basically mindfulness in a nutshell.
- Insight Meditation
Sometimes you have a thought that you have no clue why it’s in your mind. You might have bizarre thoughts or even daydreams about random events. Actually, your daydreams are not random. Your daydreams are important and mean a lot.
It’s difficult to stop your mind when you don’t understand what’s going on in there. That’s why you need to gain insight into your own mind. And you can do that using this meditation for insight.
- Tai Chi
Want to know a really great way to stop thinking right now? Got time to kill? Then you really should try Tai Chi.
Tai Chi will make you more mindful of the present moment and of your own body and it will stop your thoughts dead.
Trust me, if you want to stop thinking too much, this is one of the best ways.
Do this introductory Tai Chi lesson. It will be a total game changer.
And there you are. The best ways how to stop thinking too much. I really hope these help you maintain your Zen.
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