How to stop overthinking?

Ever wonder what space sounds like? I have never been there, but I have heard it is quiet. We are going to do that today, create some space (in your head).

This may sound silly, but first, notice that you are thinking.

This is a process I call metacognition. Cognition means thinking. Metacognition is a higher level. It's thinking about thinking. Notice that.

One of my colleagues said, “Hey, Paul. Every problem that we have is a problem with thinking.” That's a bold statement. But as I've considered my colleague’s statement, I think he might be right.

Every problem I can think of comes down to a problem with thinking.

Anything that occurs to us is technically a neutral event.

That's going to sound a little foreign to you unless you've already had a chance to think about that.

Everything that happens is a neutral event. Meaning it just happens.

It is what it is.

It takes on meaning through our own interpretation, and we assign meaning to it with our thinking.

That's why every problem we face is a problem with thinking.
So, just notice that you're doing it. That you're constantly thinking.

We want to become an observer of our own thinking. We want to stop thinking for a minute. Unless you are a guru of thought or a skilled yogi this will take a lot of practice.

1st Hack:
Follow my lead and let's see what happens. I want you to pay attention to what your mind is doing as I take you from now (pause) to now. What happened in between those two nows?

Most of the people I do this exercise with say, “Nothing. I was just waiting. I was watching you. I was present in the moment. I wasn't thinking.”

They weren’t thinking…about all those problems that were bothering them.

They were watching. “Where's Dr. Paul going?”

Between now and now.

In your mind, we can create a little space of peace where there is no thinking. And it's our thinking that bothers us. Usually, thinking about the past and things that have happened or thinking about the future and what's going to happen (which we don't know).

But we can predict things.

And because we sometimes predict that things are worse than now, we feel anxiety.

When we dwell on the past, we feel depression or guilt or shame.

Right now, being present and not thinking creates a space of peace.

It's actually quiet in there when we stop the thinking.

2nd Hack:

Let me give you one more. For this one, I'm thinking about an old cartoon that I used to watch –Tom and Jerry. It's about a cat that chases a mouse around. The mouse holes in this cartoon are always very intricately designed archways in the baseboards of the house.

Picture yourself as the cat and you're crouched in front of that mouse hole watching it. You are going to wait and see what pops out.

That's what I want you to do with this next exercise as I invite you to a position where you can simply watch your thoughts.

Let's see what pops out.

Now, when i give you the prompt, don't try to think about anything. Don't steer it in any particular direction. Simply watch like the cat, okay? You're watching that mouse hole to see what's going to pop out. Watch your mind.

Here's the prompt. I wonder what thought I'll have next?

Some of the common responses when I ask, “What happened in your mind?” are, “Ah, nothing, for a minute. But then I thought, Oh, I need to go pick up the laundry.” Or “I need to remind the kids to get their homework done.” Before all that, there was a little space.

If you didn't notice, try it again. Now, remember, don't steer your brain in any particular direction. You might have exactly the same experience. It might be totally different. Either way, it's fine.

The brief little space, the natural state of your mind is peace.

This is good news. That means to get to the peace that we crave, we got to get past the noise of our own thinking.

And we tend to overthink things.

And we don't even do a very good job of it.

Because while we're overthinking, we're busy predicting what's coming.

Last year I did a video where I was rolling dice and I was trying to predict on camera what the dice would say. And guess what? I missed it, every stinking time. I can't predict what the dice are going to roll.

Not only am I bad at predicting, so are you, They don't build those big luxurious casinos in Las Vegas based on winners.

No. Because people are enormously bad at predicting the outcomes, especially those things they have no control over. You don't know what's coming. You can't predict what's going to happen tomorrow, but, still, you predict all the time.

And that's the danger of overthinking things. Because not only are we inaccurate most of the time, we are doing it in a way that causes us misery. This is not the natural state of our mind, our natural state is peace.

Calm the noise with these exercises and practice them. Practice them with your spouse, your kids.

I am so honored to be on your team, that you're here and that you actually read clear through to this point. If you're still here with me, it means that you are serious about your personal development. Will you let me help you to upgrade that? Come over to Live On Purpose Central. I built it for people like you. Here is the link , maybe we can do some of these exercises together.

Dr. Paul