Mindfulness

I tend to over think things.  It’s not even just over thinking; it’s constantly being in my head.  I’ve realized that on a normal day, I’m always running a million thoughts through my head.  I’m thinking about what I did earlier and what I’m going to do in the future.  Then I think of a million different ways things could have happened or different scenarios.
I come up with new ideas and rehash old ones constantly.  I get frustrated and annoyed by things that haven’t happened yet and probably never will happen.

Sometimes when I know that I have to do something unpleasant in the future, I dwell on it for days and days.  I can’t really help this.  I get stuck in a never ending stream of thoughts almost every day.

I’ve realized that this is a problem.  I’m missing out on my life.  I’m never living in the moment.  I don’t enjoy the things I’m doing because I’m constantly thinking about what to do next or how I could have done something differently.

It’s very strange and I didn’t notice it until recently.  I used to just think that’s how it was.  Now I’ve realize that I spend more time thinking about things than actually experiencing life.

I was on vacation one time in the mountains and taking in a great view after climbing up to the top of the peak.  I thought to myself, “Wow this is cool, I’ll definitely have to come back here some time.”  How weird is this?  I have to mentally be thinking about some future date where I’ll come back here.  Yet, I wasn’t even thinking about how much I enjoyed being there at the time.

Another thing I do when on vacation is try to cram a ton of stuff in so that I have can tell other people about all of the stuff I did on my trip. Why do I do this?  Nobody really cares what I do on my trip.  I should only be doing things because I enjoy them.  Not so that I can tell somebody about it.

These kinds of things happen to me daily.  I have trouble staying focused on a conversation with someone because I’m always thinking of what I should say next.  I’m not paying attention to them fully because I’m thinking of something else.  Then I wonder why I don’t keep friends for very long.

This makes it hard to focus at work too.  Especially when the work is boring and tedious.  I can’t focus on what I’m doing because I have a thousand other thoughts running around in my head.

I’m not really sure how to fix this.  I can get out of my head at times when I’m doing something that requires a lot of focus.  Things that require hand eye coordination like playing video games and sports help to shut up my mind.  I can get into something for hours and be completely focused on it.  I think it’s because it requires a lot of concentration, so I have no option but to block out all of the other thoughts.

I’m not totally sure how to fix this or at least make it better.  I’ve been working on it though.  It helps to remind myself to stop thinking about other things.  I try to picture all of my thoughts flying out of my head and turn my attention completely to my surroundings.  I almost think of life like a video game.  I try to consciously focus on my movements and what others are saying and doing.

It’s hard and I have to be very conscious of what’s going on around me.  My thoughts still come back from time to time, but I’m working to let them go.  It helps me to really pay attention to the lyrics when I listen to music and to really follow what someone is saying in a conversation.

Another thing that helps is to realize that no amount of thinking will change anything.  No matter how much I dwell on the terrible thing I have to do next week will make it go away.  It doesn’t matter if I beat myself up for a bad decision, I can’t change it.

There is definitely an upside to using your mind to come up with new ideas, but dwelling on things that don’t matter will just drive you crazy.  Your life is the things you do, not the things you think of.  You can spend hours running thoughts through your head, but it won’t get you anywhere.

We all die and the more time we spend not experience life the shorter our lives will seem.

I need to stop thinking about things and so do you.  I need to learn to enjoy life more.  I need to stop and smell the roses.  Who cares about yesterday or tomorrow?  Today is all that matters.

Is anybody else like this or am I just completely crazy?  How can I get out of my head?

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  1. #1 by Pam S. on August 15, 2011 - 3:42 pm

    There are a couple of books I’ve read that address the topic well. One being A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. The other being Whereever you go, There you are by Jon Kabat Zinn. They both say practicing meditation is the way to clear your mind of needless thoughts and become more aware of the moment. Of course all the ideas are sound, just difficult to put into practice. I don’t make time to meditate everyday, it seems like too much of a waste to sit and do nothing when I need to be cooking, working out, or whatever.

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