How to stop yourself from overthinking


Our world is no longer the same as it was. It has been turned upside down. The events took almost everyone by surprise and everyone’s thinking went into overdrive. The media bombarded us every day with information and a variety of experts gave their opinions on what might happen, and everywhere there has been uncertainty and anxiety. Where does all that information ultimately land?—in the mind!

Overthinking is one of the most damaging thought patterns of all. An overactive mind instigates rash and rushed actions, and we spend time with fast-moving technology, sound bites, video bites, and seem to move from phones to computers to TVs. The reason why many spend so much time doing this is that in a way it serves a purpose. It stops us from looking inside to contemplate what the purpose of life might really be. From time to time, we become aware of what we are doing, and we try to chill out, take time out, and if we manage some moments of peace, the feeling is so sweet. But sometimes we find emptiness inside, like a big deep sadness, a sense of meaninglessness to everything, and that is a very uncomfortable feeling, so we change gear into overdrive again and become busier and busier so that we do not have to think too deeply.

There are roughly about 70,000 thoughts created in a waking day of 16 hours. We can think at about 500 words a minute but only speak at about 125 words a minute, and our mind can be aware on seven different levels at any given moment. That is a lot of activity! Our lives are played out in our minds. Thoughts, reactions, feelings, memories all take place in our minds. The way we interpret anything depends on the quality of thinking we have been able to achieve and the wisdom we have been able to accumulate. The most important thing I can do at the present time is to learn more about who I am and what is the greatest influence on my thinking, and with love and wisdom take back the internal authority I have lost.

I have to take responsibility for my thoughts. Each thought is my creation. People may be difficult and situations will come and ultimately, I have the choice—I can overthink or not. If I do just this one thing, take responsibility for each thought in my mind, it will change my life. If I am complaining, criticising, blaming everyone around me for my feelings, then I completely disempower myself. Spirituality is empowering myself to choose the quality of thought that helps me remain peaceful and keeps me happy.

I can begin by reprogramming my understanding of who I really am. If I am a body, then either ego or a sense of superiority emerges or a lack of self-respect and a feeling of unworthiness or inferiority emerge. All actions are then based on that awareness. The 7.9 billion human beings are working on that premise and with the subsequent ego or lack of self-respect. It is time to look within at the real self, the soul. Then, with the awareness of the eternal qualities of the soul, of peace, love and joy, let those feelings calm and nourish the mind, slow down the thought patterns and be the foundation of my words and actions. Taking time each day to replenish this awareness in meditation and a connection with the Supreme Soul empowers the soul to regain internal authority and reclaim the mastery of the mind.

Charlie Hogg, based in Sydney, is the National Coordinator, Brahma Kumaris, Australia.