There are times when life catches us out, and our mood plummets. I’ve been thinking about some easy tips that can help deflect us from gloomy thoughts and low mood. I hope these three first-aid tips may help…
So much of our mental anguish seems to lead from overthinking and thoughts out of control. Can there be anything as troubling as the thoughts that take up residence in our heads and never leave?
Overthinking is particularly draining — going over the same issue again, and again, and again, and again… Why do we do this? If we lost our car keys and found them again after frisking ourselves a few times, and revisiting all the places we’d been to since leaving the car, we would never dream of repeating the search once the keys were safely to hand. So why would we spend time re-visiting thoughts that keep whirling around in our head? Do we imagine that we might somehow stumble on a detail that we have previously overlooked? Are we frenetically seeking a subtle omission? And supposing we indeed do find that missing element? How would we know? Chances are we’d look for something else as well.
Worry is not a friend. We might think that by being sensitive we’re keeping an important issue in the forefront of our mind. But show me someone who worries and I’ll bet your last Euro/dollar/pound/rouble that worry achieves nothing worth worrying about. We don’t trip over mountains. But little stones in the way seem to have a knack of destabilising us. Is that why worriers find it hard to get off to sleep? What better time for thoughts to race around in our heads when the lights and TV are switched off?
Do we think that we need to keep thinking because we need to keep thinking?
No. We need instead to stop thinking and let go. We also need to stop substituting analysing and planning for taking action: most of the time it’s far better to “ready, fire and then adjust the aim” rather than continually aiming. Doing is always better than thinking about wondering what we need to consider worrying about doing. But our minds often won’t let us let go. We revisit the past; we mentally stumble around in the future. One thing that perpetual overthinking seems to do is keep us locked into the past and the future, but rarely keep us focuses on the present. That’s thr power of uncertainty. Most of the time we let our thoughts do our thinking for us.
Why not learn how better to manage your thinking better and regain control?
People often ask us if the Thrive Programme is therapy, or like CBT, NLP, or Mindfulness or psychotherapy? It isn’t any of these and is genuinely unique. So what sets the Thrive Programme apart?
One of the main differences between the Thrive Programme and interventions such as therapy/ NLP/ CBT/ Psychotherapy and counselling is that they sometimes have a patchy success record, and may or may not work for individual clients. Success with these often comes down to just how good the individual therapist is. Also, they may often involve lengthy treatments and can be quite expensive — especially for the top-performing therapists.
It’s quite understandable if people are reluctant to pursue “psychological interventions” if they perceive a stigma with mental health issues. But mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body – is something to which we all happily aspire.
But the very concept of “therapy” assumes the client is somehow ‘broken’ and in need of putting back together. However, the Thrive Programme doesn’t use ‘medical’ assumption that you have a debilitating condition that needs to be treated by a medical professional.
We don’t usually offer hypnotherapy. Although it may be tempting to go into a trance and wake up knowing the hypnotherapist has ‘transplanted’ replaced a faulty mindset with an improved one. Under hypnosis, the client is often only been a passive recipient of someone else’s suggested solutions. But the foundation of whatever the referring symptom will probably still remain in place in the form of established cognitive (“hard-wired”) patterns. And these can be so ingrained they can be incredibly resistant to change.
The Thrive Programme focuses on systems of beliefs, thinking styles, and the self-talk language we use: you develop insights into how you think, and develop skills and resources to bring about changes that serve you better. And if it seems we go past the initial problem – phobias or depression/anxiety/worry — yes indeed! The aim is to get you Thriving, and as such you will find the worrying issues that brought you here just seem to disappear. What you end up with literally set you up for life.
All the principles are firmly underpinned by empirically published psychological research and the exercises will enable you genuinely to thrive.
Need proof of the effectiveness of Thrive? Do check out the video testimonials from many of the thrivers who went through The Thrive programme: http://www.thriveprogramme.org/thrivers/
There are over 100 Thrive Programme consultants who can take you through the The Thrive Programme. I am currently the only one in Munster, or indeed in southern Eire. Do get in touch on (+353) 08385 88283 to discuss how I can help you through a free no-obligation 30-minute consultation.
See www.thrivewithjohn.eu for more information.
Can you control your thoughts? Or do your thoughts control you? If you are hamstrung by a mind that is always on steroids, you might find some thoughts helpful.
I really don’t think we think very much about the way we think. Thoughts pop unbidden into our heads and we often tend just to accept them as being somehow “real”. Which is fine if we’re feeling great and on top of the proverbial world. But if our mind seems bound up with anxiety, worry, regret and angst, it’s time to think about … thinking.
It often starts with a trigger that starts you worrying. Then you worry so much that you can’t stop worrying. So you get annoyed with yourself and you get angry that you worry and can’t stop worrying. The racing mind goes into overdrive. One thought blurs into another, and another. And the fact that you can’t stop … worries you. And that’s the definition of anxiety.
Worrisome thoughts — endlessly playing in your head. They often seem to have a mind of their own, and our thinking turns into a vicious circle. We all worry, but women sometimes seem more prone to overthinking.
Someone may tell us that no amount of anxiety is EVER going to make any difference to anything that IS actually going to happen. Or not happen. So don’t worry! But the worry persists. So you continue to ….keep thinking about it.
So how do you stop?
You have to let go. “Easier said than done!” I hear you say. But perhaps it’s easier than you think. First, have a think about this.
The moment we are thinking, we become separate from what we are thinking about. Which is the conclusion drawn by the philosopher Descartes: “I think therefore I am.” He said that if he could reject each and every idea that could possibly be rejected, what he would always be left with is that he was a person who is doing the thinking. So Cogito ergo sum was coined (but his actual words (translated) were somewhat inelegant, but true none the less: “If I am thinking then I must be, somewhat.”)
What this means is that when it comes to thinking, there are two elements: You, the thinker and the thoughts you are thinking about. Let’s contrast that with another state of being, in which this separation doesn’t occur.
Do you ever remember a time when you were feeling so fantastic that you were inextricably bound up in the moment that you were part of what was happening? A blissful experience perhaps? Maybe you were so wrapped up in a movie or a book that you didn’t notice what is going on around you? Think about great experiences where you felt completely at one with what you were experiencing. A dream holiday. Being deeply in love. The most delicious meal you have ever eaten. Reaching level 25. We didn’t need to think about what was happening. We were there, in the zone. We were on fire. We were one with it. This is what some psychologists call “flow”. And children are great at this, aren’t they?
But us clever adults have brains and we learned to use them. So the instant we start thinking about an experience, we separate ourselves from that experience. We become the thinker AND the thing we are thinking about: a separate but connected unity.
That’s not a problem. Not until the thoughts start taking control. And when we can’t stop the thoughts buzzing around our head, we feel disconnected, disoriented, even dizzy. But when we try to stop thinking by thinking about stopping thinking, we keep worrying that we can’t stop thinking. And then we keep worrying about the worry that is worrying us. And we keep overthinking because we believe (wrongly) that if we think hard enough about something we will find the solution to what is worrying us.
At this point we have two choices. One is to keep doing what we have always done, in which case we get what we always got – a mind that won’t stop. Or we can do something different, and stop thinking.
We could go out for a walk on a windy day and wave our arms around to stop the wind blowing. Except that isn’t going to work. However, the wind will eventually die down of its own accord, whether or not you do anything.
The mind is a funny thing, but if you stop using it, it quietens down. So let it.
How many times have you seen people advise DISTRACTIONS? That’s good advice.
Go out for a walk and smell the flowers. Listen to the birds and just watch the clouds. Get into relaxed mode! Switch your phone off! Stop reading Facebook posts from people panicking or pretending their lives are awesome — unless you really do want to see a photo of their most recent meal. Do something you enjoy doing and don’t pay any attention to an inner demon telling you otherwise. NOT thinking is crucial. We don’t say we need to feel our feelings, so why do we need to keep thinking thoughts? Let go and you soon find you regain the control you lost.
Getting distracted is a great way to stop ruminating. And you will find that distractions do quieten down a galloping mind.
You may find it’s a temporary fix, and ruminators often do continue to overthink. That’s when you should take a close look at the Thrive Programme. When you have developed insights into your thinking style, and how your mind and your emotions link together, you will be in a much better position to control your thoughts — rather then letting your mind control you.