Do you overthink?

Perhaps you have difficulty letting things go and tend to replay moments in your head over & over again. While it’s important to analyse your options before making a move, too much thinking can put a strain on your mental health.

So what can you do to tame that monkey mind?

Find out more in the video below, or scroll further down for a transcript to read.

Do You Overthink? Tame Your Monkey Mind! – Video Transcript

Overthinking is something we can all relate to. I often have conversations around this subject, quite often with myself.

So we all have unhelpful, negative thoughts,  sometimes they don’t have too much of an impact on our wellbeing, and other times our monkey mind takes over, and not in a helpful way.

My first response to tame the monkey mind is to recognise what is happening, this is so important, this awareness, because you can then take control of what happens next – each and every time – if you want to.  And the reason I stress, ‘if you want to’, is because it takes practice, a lot of practice.

And because it takes such a lot of practice, resistance can pop its head up, and along with that,  self doubts of – I am not good enough, I don’t deserve this etc etc. and these thoughts can get us in their grip, holding us back from living up to more of our potential.

And sometimes, with lots of practicing of being aware of what our monkey minds are up to, overwhelm can set in.  We might engage in all sorts of unhelpful ways of thinking, like I’m not perfect, I have failed. Or perhaps we jump to conclusions, like I so often do, or we generalise by saying ‘everything always goes wrong’, or we see only our mistakes never our successes.

We all definitely catastrophise what happens to us, we blow things out of proportion, instead of being rational and realistic.

Also, we label others and ourselves… she is an idiot, or I am stupid,… this is so unhelpful, because our bodies listen to every single word we think or say, which impacts our wellbeing. And then we undermine ourselves by ‘shoulding’ ourselves, I should do this, or that, and we make ourselves feel guilty.

We learn these ways of thinking from our role models, and society, so if we learned them, we can un-learn them.

Like anything worthwhile, learning how to nurture our monkey minds, takes time and effort. It’s like wanting to stay fit by going to the gym once only.  It’s the same with nurturing out monkey minds, it takes persistent effort.

So what to do…

As soon as we become aware of a thought that is carrying us away, in an unhelpful way, we need to ask – what is this thought, and if there is an emotion involved, can it be named.  This process can take the sting out of the spiral we can find ourselves in, and also it seems to put some distance between us and ‘it’, making it easier to navigate the road ahead.

Next, is to ask if this thought is true, and be honest with yourself, because more often than not, we are so hard on ourselves, and think the worst of ourselves – so ask ‘is there any evidence to support this unhelpful thought?’.

Then take that thought that you are aware of, and the emotion that you have named, and turn it on its head, and turn it into a clearer, positive, realistic and more helpful thought

And over time, these thoughts might start to be recognised as a theme,… I am a planner, so have to watch that I don’t plan everything to the nth degree.

The more aware we are of our distorted thinking, the easier it will be to address this way of thinking.  And remember, it is practice, practice, and more practice.  Our thinking patterns didn’t develop overnight, and they won’t change overnight either. So be kind to yourself, in this process, this is an on going life time process, smile at yourself and give yourself a pat on the back, each and every time you recognise a wayward thought.

Remember where focus goes, energy goes, so keep it positive.

That’s my sharing for today.

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