Overthinking. That washing-machine-mode-head, rehashing the same, stale old thoughts over and over again. No wonder we get sick of thinking! Enough already!
The elusiveness of being “present”. We are busy with one thing, yet our thoughts are miles away. Often busy with these same old thoughts yet again.
So what to do? What are some tools or reminders we can use to stop overthinking everything and be more present?
Here are some I use:
You are the observer
This took me a while, and I still need to remind myself about it constantly. You are NOT your mind. There is some ‘thing’ or some one that notices that your thoughts have gone adrift. When you understand this, it makes it much easier to stop overthinking, because you do not identify with it.
Do I need to say much more? Apart from change, our breath is the only constant. Place your awareness on it, and use it as an anchor to constantly come back to the present moment.
Let them go
The mind is designed to think, just as the skin is designed to breathe. Thoughts (and overthking) will come and sometimes we are unable to prevent it. The key is to not attach. You being the observer (first point), are merely watching a stream of thoughts go by. Let the stream go, and bring your mind back without judgement. And again.
Engage your senses
Many of us have forgotten to engage sensory perceptions. Notice the fabric of your clothes on your skin. How the taste of something swirls in your mouth before it disappears. The coolness and warmth of your breath. Engage one sense at a time – what do you hear right now, what do you see right now, what do you smell right now?
Implement a mindfulness practice
The benefit of meditation or a mindfulness practice has been documented widely. Anybody can learn to, and yes, there are techniques to help, but often it boils down to plain old discipline. Just do it. Be practical. Rather meditate for 5 minutes, fully engaged, than try and sit for half an hour with thoughts running all over.
Notice your “energy zappers”. Close the email and silence the phone. And set the intention to be present.
Think of a camera being set to focus….what you are doing in the present moment is where you zoom in to. You are aware of the rest, but it forms the background, blurry.
Being present does not mean you do not do stuff. Nor does it mean you do not plan. It means being ‘here’, not ‘there’ when you plan it, fully engaged.
No more overthinking….a patient process
Being present is a patient process. Some days it may be easy; other days, you may have to constantly bring yourself back. Just do it. There is so much joy just in experiencing fully what is happening right now.
About the author:
Celeste Du Toit is a Life Coach, NLP practitioner, healer and speaker. She is the founder of YES Paradigm Coaching, a leader in Transformational and Inner Wellness Coaching, focusing on mindfulness practices as the starting point.
She works individually or with groups, runs regular workshops and delivers inspirational speaking engagements.
Connect with Celeste on firstname.lastname@example.org visit www.yesparadigm.co.za