One of the devious client-patterns I encounter on a regular basis is the rabbit hole of over-thinking. It can be so powerful it causes analysis paralysis, insomnia and needless anxiety.
The ‘what-if-theory’ causes individuals to talk themselves into, or out of, a goal, plan, or action which may, or may not be, valuable. It is quite remarkable to observe an individual as they work an entire scenario through from Chapter 1 to The End and yet, it’s all for nothing. Chapter 1 never happens, therefore, The End doesn’t either. In the mean time, they waste time, energy and precious emotional calories playing the game. Sadly, this happens like the spin-cycle on a washing machine with several stories being played out at the same time.
If this sounds like YOU, I have an interesting exercise for you to work on which may be helpful in breaking the what-if cycle. Consider there are 3 levels of thought:
In thinking is the classic over-thinker, lost-in-thought, day-dreamer, absent-minded, what-if type of thinking. Where you effortlessly allow yourself to think so much you don’t even realize you are thinking. Depending on what research you read, it has been proven humans think anywhere from 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts per day. Most of which are useless! This endless spinning of thoughts fuels anxiety and depression not to mention questionable actions and results. Regardless, it’s very helpful to start paying attention to how much time you spend here!
Below thinking is the classic Netflix binging, YouTube binging, fantasy movies, eating for no reason, scrolling your phone type of thinking. Where you aren’t necessarily thinking anything you are simply zoning out – sometimes completely. There isn’t much happening when the elevator reaches the top floor here! We do this as a form of stress-relief, sometimes out of boredom and sometimes as a coping mechanism. Regardless, it’s helpful to notice how often you live in this world and why.
Above thinking is when an individual has the tools and awareness to be the observer of their thinking mind. This ability to notice when you are in thought, or below thought, is the first step in breaking the endless spinning cycle. When you have the capacity to watch yourself writing the first few lines of Chapter 1, you have a choice to write the entire story or not. This is the practice for you to take on! Begin to notice how much time you spend in each zone and decide what you want to do about it.
HAVE FUN WITH YOUR THINKING.