Hi, my name is Jenn, and I am a Think-aholic. That’s right, I have an uncontrollable desire to THINK.
I can take any situation or tiny piece of information, and think it to death. I will analyze, obsess, personalize, replay, fortune-tell, fill-in-the-blanks, up and down, back and forth, from here til next Tuesday. I can create problems where none actually exist; I’m that good.
And while I’d like to fool myself into thinking (see what I did there) that my neurotic over-thinking is just quirky and endearing, it’s not. I know I’m not alone. I see it all around me, friends, family, my clients.
How many times have you found yourself analyzing all the potential reasons why “he” didn’t call you back? Or, laid awake at night running through all of the scenarios of how your boss will respond to your presentation tomorrow morning, or what you “should” have said to so-and-so. Or how about this one: you’re driving down the street and the car next to you won’t let you over, even though your blinker is on. You come up with a whole scenario about how this person is out to get you and intentionally trying to prevent you from getting over. You’re prepared to really give it to them when you finally pull up next to this person and realize, it’s a little old lady who can barely see over the steering wheel, let alone realize that you were next to her wanting to get over.
It is maddening what your mind can do with even the smallest amount of information!
I heard it said once that this type of thinking is like sitting on a rocking horse: gives you something to do but it doesn’t actually get you anywhere.
I’ve found that this silent obsession tends to just get in my way most of the time.
Sure, it’s important to be thoughtful and THINK about what you say before you say it, and part of why I’m good at what I do is because of my ability to analyze and read between the lines. But let’s be honest, that’s not the type of thinking I’m doing most of the time!
So, what do you do? What is the solution when you’re addiction is to think. It’s not like we have the option of abstinence. I say to my clients almost every single day, we don’t get to not think. (sorry, Dr. Melinkoff for the double negative)
Here’s the deal: You’re going to have your thoughts. We have thousands of them every single day. And I don’t actually think we have a ton of control over what thoughts come up. What? You might be thinking, “But, Jenn, you’re always preaching about the power of our thinking, what do you mean we don’t have control over what we think?”
While I don’t think we have much control over what thoughts come up, I do think we have all of the control over what we do with those thoughts.
For example, the thoughts pops into my head, “You’re not a writer, nobody wants to hear what you have to say.” I have a choice now. Do I listen to this thought and indulge it, sending myself down a spiral of negative self-talk, and self-defeating insecurity, or do I acknowledge that I just had an insecure thought, after all, I am human, and then let myself move on. I chose that latter.
The first step is always admitting that you have a problem. Can you start to get real and honest with your thoughts? Notice when they’re self-defeating, catastrophizing, personalizing, fortune-telling, and filling in the blanks.
When you’re able to do that with your thoughts, you empower yourself to become an objective observer of yourself, rather than the neurotic, head-case you may feel like today.
Stay tuned, next week I will share with you the power of meditation and how you can start meditating right now! And as always, I welcome your feedback. I’d love to hear your thoughts, reactions, experiences in the comments below and if you feel so inclined, please pass along: email, Facebook, Twitter, however your heart desires!