3 maybe 4 years ago, I didn’t know how to stop overthinking.
I thought about what to eat and what to do with my life.
I thought about money and success and purpose and whether to get another iced long black at Ristr8to in Chiang Mai 🤤
I journaled and made gratitude lists which, while more positive, was just more thinking.
Life was almost entirely mental.
Feelings? Emotions? What are they? 🤔
I literally thought I was my thoughts. That I was my mind.
Who or what else could I be?
I wouldn’t have used those words at the time. I simply took it for granted or assumed that I was the thinker of all my thoughts. I believed (without knowing it as a belief) that I was my mind.
As a result, if I had negative thoughts running through my head, I thought it was me.
They’re MY thoughts, aren’t they?
I’m thinking them up consciously, aren’t I?
This made for a frustrating life.
I mean, have you ever tried to control your thoughts?
It’s nigh impossible.
Then I discovered a simple trick for how to stop overthinking everything 💪
Notice I said “simple”… not easy.
It’s simple in theory… but it takes time, effort and energy to really get it.
You ready for that rick?
Here it is:
I realised that I am not my thoughts 🤯
In most cases, I’m not even thinking my thoughts up consciously.
They simply appear.
But if I’m not my thoughts and I’m not even thinking them up, then why do I take them so seriously? 🤦♂️
Why oh why do I devote so much energy to sorting out my thoughts via journaling?
Or changing my thoughts with gratitude exercises?
If I am not my thoughts, then aren’t my thoughts about as relevant as the hummingbirds tweeting random tweets in my garden? (Yes, these hummingbirds use Twitter 😳)
Does it make sense to argue with the hummingbirds and their much-retweeted tweets?
Or is it better to simply let it all float on through me?
Now to be honest, I started to get a feel for this idea (ayyyyyyy 😏) that I’m not my thoughts from meditation.
The problem was… I could only really maintain it while sitting perfectly still with my eyes shut.
Cool, sure… but not particularly useful in my day-to-day life.
If the only time I can actually stop overthinking, negative thoughts and worry is when I’m sitting perfectly still with my eyes shut, that means I can’t do it at work, while driving or when I’m about to get choked out in Ju Jitsu 😰
In other words…
It’s all but useless (unless I plan to live in a cave my entire life).
But when I learned to embody this realization (that I’m not my mind), that’s when it all clicked in.
All of a sudden I could stop (or get out of) my mind in an instant… no matter if I was walking, talking, working or cleaning up Zeus’s sloppy shit in the bathroom after he missed the litter box (thanks Zeus 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏).
I’m not saying I never think at all because that would be ridiculous.
Thinking is a tool.
The goal isn’t to kill the mind but to bring it into balance.
Here’s how that works at the moment for me:
I walk around and thoughts come but they very rarely get stuck.
The sense that I am prior to or beyond my mind is deeper than ever but without the sense of disconnection or “spaciness” that often came with meditation.
Instead of me being in my mind, it’s more like my mind is in me… if that makes sense 🤷♂️
What am I if my mind is in me? Don’t ask because I really have no idea – the deeper you go, the weirder it gets.
All this means that my negative thoughts have lost 99% of their power to bother or affect me 😍
How did I learn how to stop overthinking everything on demand?
I learned how to work with my nervous system. The fight-or-flight response. How my nervous system relates to danger and safety. I learned to drive awareness out of the mind and into the body.
I’m not saying the nervous system approach will do the same for you… but it changed everything for me.
It changed things for Logan too:
…harder than I expected, but once I got used to it… it silenced my mind like never before.
If you normally roll your eyes and say “blah… blah… mindset stuff. Yeah, I get it.”, I strongly suggest you give this another look. I can report that it helps calm that inner voice down… a LOT almost instantly.
Loved doing Rage 19 just now. After meditating and doing mindfulness work for 10+ years, I just realized that most times I “observe” my breathing I’m actually controlling it or altering it almost every time.
Also, I’ve done multitasking awareness before but never making such small movements and stopping at friction points to observe what’s going on. From 1 mm to the next, I had completely different internal experiences. Wild!
If meditation, breathwork, gratitude lists or dancing naked under the full moon with crystals up your butt works for you, more power to you 🤘
But if you find you still don’t know how to stop overthinking everything, maybe it’s time you tried something else?
Something like this:
P.S. The other piece of the “how to stop overthinking everything” puzzle (for me at least) was psychedelics… but if you’re going to go that direction, tread carefully.
Psychedelics are illegal in most countries and they can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Do your own research, make sure it’s safe and legal if you decide to venture down that rabbit hole and get some solid tools on board first (like the nervous system tools in Rageheart – they go great with psychedelics).
P.P.S. Know anyone who can’t stop thinking?
Refer them to The Daily Rage (this email newsletter) and help them get out of their head and into their body.