I recently came across a great video on over-thinking that deeply resonated with some recent thoughts I had been having.
In this video, that you can watch below, Rob Dial explains that we can actually become addicted to our thinking, and even more so to our thoughts about the past or the future.
There are two aspects to that video that I’d like to discuss with you:
The first one is the addiction part. I have discovered both on myself and on some of my clients that being over-analytical or in other words, over-thinking, is not just necessarily “who we are” as I used to believe when I was younger.
A lot of my friends used to tell me “you’re thinking too much” and that used to infuriate me as I thought “but this is who I am!!! how do you want me to change how my mind works?!!” and we would reached a dead-end. Over and over again.
Then through my personal development journey I discovered that sometimes, over-thinking is actually a smokescreen for hiding painful emotions. It is actually even more than that, it is a coping mechanism we develop earlier in life (most likely in childhood) to cope with painful events and trauma.
Eckhart Tolle and many other spiritual and self-development teachers often talk about how our mind creates our pain and unhappiness. This is the foundation principles behind NLP and CBT indeed, and most of the therapeutic approaches are actually designed to help us tame our mind and change our thoughts for the better.
So how do you know if it is an addiction? Well, to put it simply, if you consistently analyse things and over-think, it IS an addiction 🙂 As Rob Dial says, “you think you can stop anytime and control it, but can you really?” I challenge you: for 24h, try not to think. How do you think that’s going to go?!
So like any addiction, in order to recover from it we need to identify what is the pain that it is covering up. Because yes, ALL addictions are just a numbing process to not feel underlying discomfort or pain. So the first step would be to explore what this curious and fascinating addiction is covering up for you.
There is another thing that Rob Dial explores in this video, and this is the fact our thoughts are too often oriented towards the past or the future. This is obviously a dead trap as we can’t change the past nor control the future. So any “unproductive” thoughts about the past (i.e thoughts that aren’t about learning from it) or the future (i.e any thoughts that aren’t around concrete planning and positive anticipation) are pointless and damaging to our well-being.
So Rob invites us to learn to be mindful and direct our thoughts and attention towards the present moment. However beware!! If you have a tendency of over-thinking, you will probably be very good at over-thinking the present moment whilst believing you are making huge progress!! But that would simply be a clever distraction from your mind to not face the underlying unease that your over-analytical mind might be covering.
So I invite you firstly to reflect on your thinking style, if there is a possibility for it to be a smokescreen ; and then, to indeed practice mindfulness like explained in this video, to rewire your mind to enjoy the present moment.
I hope you find those “over-thoughts” useful, and feel free to drop me a comment below if you feel like thinking more! 😉