Do you find your thoughts sometimes racing away and you struggle to keep up. Do you ever feel you need a holiday from your own brain?
“To think too much is a disease”
It is true, when we think too much we feel dis-ease. Because when we think we are either reliving the past or fantasising about the future. While fantasising may sound nice, what we most often do is worry about events that haven’t even happened. I had a psychotherapist once say to me “don’t have a conversation with somebody who isn’t in the room”.
And, if we aren’t aware of the kinds of thoughts we are having they can have long term effects on our health (good or bad), and we don’t even know we are doing this to ourselves. In Psychology Today they talk about the link between our negative thoughts and our mental well being.
Our brains have about 100 trillion synapses. Synapses are the point at which the brain transmits or passes a signal from one part of the brain to another. The more often we think about one thing the stronger we make that connection in the brain. This is how habits form, including the habit of thinking (mostly negative) thoughts.
Research by the Basque Centre on Cognition confirmed that the brain activity of two people conversing would synchronise which creating links between the two people. What we think about impacts the chemistry and function of our brain. The researches found the outside verbal communication impacts the brain.
So, we can see there is a lot going on in our brains at all times. I even found out that our brains are more active while we sleep than when we are awake. So what hope do we have to stop it?
The key is not to stop our thoughts but to marshal our thoughts.
The one sure method to marshal our thoughts is to go inside of ourselves. Now that may sound a bit woo woo so let me explain it.
When you find yourself with a mind that is racing away, and quite often these thoughts are negative. All you need to do is to notice your thoughts. The conversation in your head may go like this:
I can see that my mind is really racing on this matter?
I wonder where I feel that?
What is this brining up for me (fear, sadness, anger)?
How can I look at this differently?
Keep asking yourself questions about what is going on until you sense a shift from racing mind to peace.
This doesn’t mean you agree with something that is wrong or to lessen the enjoyment of something you are looking forward to, it just brings you back to the present and that is where your true power lies. It is only in the present moment that we can take any action and it is also where we find peace.
“Live life in the slow lane”
Haemin Sunim, Buddhist monk
If that option isn’t your favourite there is a backup option. Bring your awareness from your thoughts to your physical body. Walk yourself through the process of feeling the floor beneath your feet, the smell of the air, the sounds in the distance and the physical details of something you see near you, like a tree, a wall, a bench or a road. Keep your awareness there until your mind subsides and peace returns.
If you don’t find this easy to do at first, remember, everything gets better with practice. Do this on a daily basis each time you catch yourself with racing thoughts and soon you will experience greater and greater lengths of peace of mind.
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