Thinking, thinking, thinking, that is what the mind does. Sometimes, this is a good thing, like when you need to solve a problem or are looking for a unique solution. Other times when you are trying to sleep or focus, and your mind is obsessing about every little detail; then it’s not so good. I have had the bad habit of overthinking for a long time, and it really came out strong over the past few weeks during my condo renovations.
Overdrive is Not Healthy
During the past three months, my mind has been in overdrive. Every day I would wake up and go to bed in the same state. My mind kept wanting to list and re-list each item that needed to be done or purchased. As the lists grew, I became so overwhelmed, it became difficult for me even to form complete sentences. My focus was off, and I felt adrift in too much emotion. I realized it was an unhealthy place to be, but I was unable to break the bad habit of overthinking.
On the Other Side
Now that I have come out the other side, I can see things more clearly. Tamara Levitt from Calm calls it our “monkey mind.” Each morning I sense my mind feeling around in the dark for a list of things to worry about, but there is none. Everything is done.
This pattern illustrates how my overthinking is a bad habit that my mind has learned, and now it has to unlearn. Some days, I find myself feeling almost bored and restless without a flurry of tasks to complete. However, I am teaching myself to enjoy it and lean into being calm, serene, and without so much stress.
Meditation Provides the Tools to Break the Bad Habit of Overthinking
I have used so many mindful techniques over the years, but the one tried, and true solution for me is plenty of meditation. It gives me space from my thinking mind and allows me to slow things down. A couple of my favorites are the daily Calm Meditation and David Ji’s Healing Meditation. I do both every day, and I mix it up sometimes with others.
Regardless of the meditation, it’s about focusing on breathing or a body scan that gets me outside of the thinking mind and breathes space into my presence.
I haven’t mastered breaking the habit of overthinking yet, but I am well on my way using a daily mindful practice and a commitment to try.