What is addiction? Something you no longer have control over, it has control over you. Do you feel like you have full control over all your thoughts? Many of my client ask me how they can stop overthinking. My answer to that is, would you want your liver to stop functioning or your heart to stop beating? The heart beats, the liver breathes, the brain thinks. If you thought beautiful things, would you want to stop overthinking?
You see you are not using your mind incorrectly; you are just not using your mind at all. In 2005, the National Science Foundation did research and found that on average a person has about 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those 80% were negative, and 95% were exactly the same thoughts as the day before.
Here is the thing, you are not your thoughts the same way that you are not your big toe. Overthinking is not you; it is what you do and if you do it, you can also change it. The mind is a wonderful servant yet a terrible master. You cannot stop thoughts coming into your head, the same way you cannot stop your hair or nails growing. However, once you witness the thought that comes into your head, you have the power to change the second thought that comes into your head. Just because a thought comes into your head, it does not make it a fact.
You need to have a gate keeper to monitor the thoughts. You would not let thugs ransack your house, in the same way, you cannot let these thuggish thoughts come in and run riot in your mind. Why? Because our thoughts create our reality.
“Watch your thoughts, your thoughts create your feelings, your feelings create your actions, your actions create your behavior, your behavior creates your habits, and your habits create your destiny”.
The first thing you need to do, is to observe the thoughts that come to you. Just notice and note. “Aaah, there is that negative thought”. Then ask yourself, “is thought helping or hindering me”? Our thoughts can be our worst enemy or our greatest friend!
Let me do a quick exercise with you. Close your eyes and bring to your mind a blue square. See that blue square. Can you see it? Now close your eyes and bring into your minds eye a red triangle. Great! Do you believe now that you are a red square? Do you think you are a red triangle? Of course not, the same way, you do not have to identify with the thoughts that come into your mind. It is just a thought and a thought can be changed.
You DO NOT need to identify with the thought. You need to be conscious of your thoughts. Once you are consciously aware, you can change them. For example, if I ask you to take a deep breath in now to the count of 5. That is a conscious intentful breath. Does it mean you were not breathing before then? No, it is now that you are aware of it. If your mind is wondering, notice it and bring it back.
A way to make yourself more conscious is to become more present. A good way of bringing yourself to the present moment is utilizing your senses. Pick any mundane task like brushing your teeth. Listen to the sound the water makes, pay attention to the feel of the bristles on your teeth, notice what it tastes like. This is bringing full awareness to that moment. The more you can do that, the more conscious you can become. This is hard at first but the more you do it, the more you can become it.
When you start this practice, you realize how much you have been missing out on with your distracted busy mind and you begin to see the world with a new innocence and calm.
So, there you go, can you take some steps to break your addiction?
Here is hoping you will unwrap the gift of presence.
Until next month,