How To STOP Overthinking Everything

“We all do our best to stay positive, but occasionally we can slip into negative thinking patterns that can wreak havoc on our lives. We might worry about our past mistakes or current stresses, and how these could lead to negative outcomes in the future. We might obsess about or over-analyze regular experiences and interactions, reading into them things that aren’t actually there. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with all the other bad things that have happened in our lives and begin to feel miserable. We might feel anxious in the present, having a hard time getting out of our own heads as we worry and obsess about the things that could go wrong.”   ~ Thinking Minds

If overthinking interferes with your general sense of wellbeing, here are a few tips to Take Back Control of Your Brain!

1.  Understand “Normal”

The brain is actually hardwired to think out all the possible outcomes of a situation.  Thanks to the decision-making frontal-lobe, we’ve evolved to think about our problems.  But overthinking keeps the brain in an agitated cycle while dumping fight or flight chemicals into our blood system(Research shows that overthinking releases cortisol, the stress hormone, that will get you even more distressed).

2.   Jot it down

When you notice your thoughts are recycling the same scenarios, taking a few deep breaths will help calm the brain down. Then put your thoughts on paper. By getting it “out of your head” and putting it in black and white on paper, you effectively short-circuit the brains need to remember! And looking at it, instead of thinking about it, you get a new perspective.

3.  Practice mindfulness meditation

When we’re racked with too many thoughts, we feel over-stimulated. Mindfulness meditation can quickly calm you down, making it easier to make sound decisions. Try it now – close your eyes. Focus on the air moving in and out as you breathe. Tune into your tactile sensations: your weight on the seat, the feel of the fabric of your clothes, the warmth of the sun on your skin…. If thoughts arise, notice, and allow them to float on by….

4.  Get moving

Changing your environment, walking, hiking, biking, getting the heart pumping, can loosen the closed-circuit cycle of relentless thinking. You don’t need to try to clear your mind – just let your thoughts roll through your head at their own pace.

5.   Check your beliefs

Underlying all anxiety and all overthinking are a set of beliefs. Have you ever asked yourself where they came from? Or if you actually really believe them? For instance, most people are mortified by the thought of tripping or falling in public. Why??? “People who fall are idiots”. Hmm… I actually do NOT believe that. “People who fall are weak”.  I don’t think that’s true either. But maybe being perceived as weak means you’ll need to be removed from the herd! Well, thanks to the frontal-lobe, I no longer need that instinctual response, so I can choose to dismiss it.

What a relief!

 

How to Meditate – in 5 Minutes!

Meditation Apps To Calm Stress And Boost Mood

Worth Reading from Off the Web! By Natasha Baker

In a bad mood but not sure why? New smart phone apps provide short guided meditations designed to help you return to a positive state of mind.

Stop, Breathe & Think, a free iPhone app, prompts people to check how they are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically and will recommend three guided meditations between five and 10 minutes long.

“We wanted to give people a friendly and accessible tool to develop these skills – something they could easily integrate into their daily routine,” said Jamie Price, executive director of Tools for Peace, a California-based non-profit company that developed the app.

It aims to help people feel more grounded, calmer and happier, he added, and to recognize emotions and impulses and to react positively.

“The recommended meditations are meant to be a support, to help you deal with whatever is going on from the perspective of kindness and compassion, and with a greater sense of being positively connected,” Price said in an interview.

It includes 15-guided meditations based on Tibetan teachings. Users can track their progress including how long they have meditated and how settled they feel every day.

Canadian singer K.D. Lang, who serves on the group’s board, said she used the app as a reset button for stressful days.

“Our goal is that after using this app people learn how to become calm, and approach their everyday life from the perspective of kindness and compassion,” she said.

A similar free app called Headspace, which is available for iPhone and Android, also teaches meditation and provides a free ten-day program that leads users through short guided meditations.

It also features specialized meditations to improve sleep or reduce stress or other problems, as well as paid programs. Users can track their progress day-by-day in a dashboard and set reminders to keep on top of their practices.

Studies have shown the positive benefits of meditation, including research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association which found that it may be helpful for reducing anxiety and depression.

Buddhify This $5 app describes itself as “the urban meditation app for modern life,” and was named the number-one health app by UK news outlet The Sun. App Store reviewers rave about the app’s clear, simple design and relaxing guided meditations. Customize your meditation to your location: It offers tailored guides for when you’re at home, walking or at the gym.

Mindfulness Meditation By Mental Workout  This best-selling iPhone app by Mental Workout, designed by renowned meditation teacher and psychotherapist Stephan Bodian, provides guided meditations for both beginners and more experienced mindfulness practitioners. The app features an eight-week program, inspiration talks, body scans and relaxation instructions. According to one App Store reviewer, the app is the best way to learn mindfulness “short of finding your own personal meditation teacher.”

Simply Being  Short guided meditations, with or without music and nature sounds, for relaxation and presence are the focus of this $0.99 app. Perfect for beginners looking for something simple, Simply Being is highly rated for being user-friendly and customizable.

If you want to learn how to be “mindful” or to “meditate”, and you want it NOW, get the app GPS for the Soul or Insight Timer. I love them!

Article Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/21/meditation-apps-stress-positive-thinking-mood_n_4639232.html#slide=start

Life Is Like a Book. If You Never Give It a Chance, You’ll Never Know How Good It Is – B.G.

Life Is Like a Book. If You Never Give It a Chance, You'll Never Know How Good It Is - B.G.Just like a book, life’s an adventure. Sometimes books start out slow and maybe even a little boring. However, to know for sure whether we’ll enjoy what we’re reading or not, we have to be willing to give it a chance. Life is the same way. If at the first sign of difficulty, we give up on ourselves, we will never be able to discover our strength. If we look at life and say, “Well it’s too difficult to get through, so I’m just going to stop trying,” we’ll never be able to learn from our mistakes and we’ll never be able to see the beauty in life.

Let’s say that you start reading a book and at first, you don’t understand it at all. Let’s say that it’s complicated, doesn’t make sense, and it’s difficult to get through. Now, one option is to stop reading altogether. Sure, that may be easy, but imagine what you could be missing out on! Maybe the book just seems complicated at first because you weren’t in the right mindset or maybe part of the book being so exciting and worthwhile is because it’s challenging! Maybe once you grasp the storyline, then only then, will you see how wonderful the story truly is.

Sometimes you have to read a book more than once to really understand it and that’s okay. The same thing goes for life. There are some moments in life that are difficult and we may even make mistakes. While we can’t go back and relive those moments as easily as we can flip back the pages of a book, we can continue to try improving ourselves until things begin to fall into place.

Giving up in life and on ourselves is a huge mistake. We have so many gifts to give and so many opportunities waiting for us. If we don’t begin and continue to try to get through our struggles and live our lives to the fullest, we’ll never be able to experience true happiness. Think about that really good book, TV show, or movie that you love and imagine if you never tried experiencing it. How would you feel? Think about your favorite food or favorite moment in life! If you never tried that type of food or challenged yourself, you’d never have experienced something that you’ve grown to love.

So don’t give up on yourself. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity that could mean the world to you!

This post first appeared on The Seeds 4 Life written by B.G.

: Life Is Like a Book. If You Never Give It a Chance, You’ll Never Know How Good It Is – B.G.

We don’t get to Choose our Souls’s Path…

 

IMG_1050

...So what makes us think we can control another’s path?

So much time spent trying to figure out what to do, given (insert problem HERE). What if it were simpler?

What if everything was a game of Charades – That the observations, the interpretations, and the conclusions – were based on the subtle clues exposed to us in Life?

Find the threads – the patterns in your life! They want to teach you something. Can you open to that? And that?

What have you learned? Share your insights with me!

 

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Leaning Into Uncomfortable Emotions Actually Makes You Happier!

Worth reading – from Off the Web!

Why Leaning Into Your Uncomfortable Emotions Actually Makes You Happier

2971831831_7ebf8e6860_oby Dina Overland

Life is the most amazing teacher.  It offers us the exact lesson we need, precisely when we need to hear it.

So that means that if you’re feeling emotions like anxiety, anger, sadness, jealousy, or bitterness, then life is offering you an opportunity to understand where you’re stuck in your growth… where you have more to learn… where you could focus your attention.

That’s why you should LEAN INTO those emotions and really FEEL them. Explore them. Consider WHY you’re feeling that feeling. Think about what lesson you can learn from the situation and the feeling you’re having.

It’s when we truly feel and experience ALL of our emotions that we’re able to move past the emotional pain and start receiving more happiness and peace in our lives.

In fact, these so-called negative emotions are actually quite positive — if you take the time to SIT with them. View them as messages to stop what you’re doing and look these feelings right in the eyes.

“To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge — that is the path of true awakening,”  ~ Pema Chodron 

I know this firsthand. Although I have accepted and come to peace with the fact that I will most likely only have one child, I still feel sad that I can’t have what I desperately want in my life — more children. In fact, I felt deep heartbreak earlier this year when I learned that three of my close friends were all pregnant.

I knew I had two options — ignore the crippling emotional pain, pretending I was fine with the news or open up my heart and really explore my honest emotions that were stirred up as a result of my friends’ pregnancies.

I opted to follow the advice I give to my clients and feel my feelings. So I gave my sadness and despair a space to exist by limiting my to-do list and social obligations. That freed up my time to practice good self-care tools like journaling, sharing my honest feelings with my husband (and he shared his with me), and meditating so that I was able to fully process the sadness and upset out of my system.

From an outside perspective, it looked like I was moping about for a few days, but I was really letting my sadness have a place to exist — without judgment. I wasn’t stuffing it away, hoping it would just miraculously disappear so I could avoid feeling crappy.

And I felt so much better for my choice to feel my feelings. It was like I healed a part of myself by releasing these emotions.

If you find yourself in a painful situation, and you think you can’t bear a minute more of whatever you’re feeling, follow these three steps:

  1. Become aware that you’re resisting and pushing away the feelings. Simply being mindful of your tendency to avoid feeling emotional pain is a huge step toward moving past that pain and feeling more happiness. That’s because you can’t change a thought or behavior if you don’t know you’re thinking or doing it.
  1. Observe your feelings without judgment. Don’t push them away, but don’t obsess over them either. Just acknowledge them and let them go. One way to do that is to observe your feelings and thoughts simply as “feelings” and “thoughts.” Don’t qualify them as good or bad, positive or negative. Just allow whatever feelings you have to come to the surface and remind yourself with compassion and kindness that you’re merely feeling a feeling or thinking a thought. To help prevent those feelings and thoughts from taking over your life, use this affirmation: I accept all of my emotions and thoughts. It is safe to feel those emotions and think those thoughts. 
  1. Refrain. As I mentioned in Step 1, we often try to distract ourselves from feeling sadness, loneliness, bitterness, and other so-called negative emotions. But try to refrain from diverting your attention away from those feelings. It’s when you refrain — by pausing and being mindful of those feelings BEFORE you take any action based on them — that you’re getting to know your deepest fears and able to heal the wounds that caused the fears. For example, if you’re feeling particularly hurt and lonely after your estranged spouse makes an insensitive comment to you, don’t just lash out in response. Instead, sit with that hurt and loneliness and use the opportunity to consider where else you can work on healing yourself.

Essentially, if we live our lives seeing everything as a chance to heal, then every single moment and experience — even the especially hard ones — is truly a gift helping us grow and welcome deep peace and happiness.

About The Author
Dina Overland is a Spiritual Life Coach helping people (especially mamas) move past their emotional pain so they can stop feeling angry, anxious, bitter, depressed, and alone and start feeling more happiness, love, and peace. Watch her FREE video — From Pain to Joy:  4 Steps to Finding Peace Through Emotional Suffering — connect with her on Facebook, and check out her website.
THIS ARTICLE IS OFFERED UNDER CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE. IT’S OKAY TO REPUBLISH IT ANYWHERE AS LONG AS ATTRIBUTION BIO IS INCLUDED AND ALL LINKS REMAIN INTACT.

Original source: http://truththeory.com/2015/10/29/why-leaning-into-your-uncomfortable-emotions-actually-makes-you-happier/

 

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The Value of Journaling

Introspection Overload? The Value of Journaling by 

~ Worth Reading from Off the Web

Introspection Overload? The Value of JournalingTo my fellow over-thinkers, ruminators, and introspective-dwellers: I know what it’s like to feel “stuck in your head.

It’s those moments when your mind starts to wander, and all your reflections and ponderings (whether they may be trivial or significant) begin to simulate a mountain that’s too exhausting to climb. I like to refer to this as ‘introspection overload’ — thinking that decides to examine a subject matter intricately and closely, inviting further thoughts to join the party, even though you reason that it’s probably time to take a few steps back.

This is one of the reasons why I love journaling. I have drawers devoted to several years of journal-keeping (including a precious gem from my second-grade self).

Besides my interest in writing and jotting down various notes, happenings, or musings that strike my fancy, journaling has become an integral component in reining in introspection. The transfer of your thoughts from your mind onto paper is a symbolic release in and of itself.

Phylameana lila Desy’s article suggests that journaling serves as a therapeutic outlet of sorts:

“Journaling can be a healing process to help you get in touch with your deepest yearnings, find resolve for problems, and deal with personal issues. Whatever type of painful emotion you are experiencing (grief, sadness, fear, isolation, etc.) expressing yourself in writing can help ease your discomfort.”

Besides the basic ‘daily diary’ that’s best for making sense of your experiences, try these alternative kinds of journaling:

  • a gratitude journal – focusing on the positives is beneficial to any kind of healing
  • a dream journal – symbolism/scenarios in dreams may have important meanings, and self-analysis may help to uncover what that is.
  • a memory journal – writing down childhood stories may be a way to preserve memories for future sharing, but it also may spark further understanding of the past.

In The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Julia Cameron suggests experimenting with various writing exercises to induce greater internal clarity.

  • The Morning Papers” –  Take three sheets of blank paper and allow your pen to mark down your stream of consciousness, writing down anything and everything that surfaces.

While these pages are not meant to be kept, Cameron advocates that writing can generally serve as a cathartic tool to release negative thought processes.

According to Sandy Grason, author of Journalution: Journaling to Awaken Your Inner Voice, Heal Your Life and Manifest Your Dreams, journaling is an overall proficient method to simply get to know yourself better.

“I believe each time you give yourself fully to the blank page, you get a little bit closer to your true Self… It’s the place that your greatness can whisper to you and remind you of all that you came to this earth to be.”

So, my fellow over-thinkers, ruminators, and introspective-dwellers: there are probably other avenues that can quiet all the chatter in your head. Maybe a long walk is soothing, or maybe meditating and focused breathing exercises do the trick — it’s all up to you. I, for one, will always be an avid supporter of the journal. I should probably start creating more space for my collection.

Source: Introspection Overload? The Value of Journaling | World of Psychology, edited for readability

Also see https://janeweisslcsw.com/2015/01/08/why-journal/

A Relaxation Exercise

Self Help TidBits

Five-Finger Relaxation Technique

This technique is great for lessening anxiety and building confidence. It only takes a few minutes to learn, and is actually very powerful.

To begin, get in a relaxed position, close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply.

  1. Inhale, and as you exhale, touch your thumb to your index finger. Recall a time when your body felt a healthy fatigue, like how you felt sinking into a chair after a day of hiking, or just stepping out of a hot tub. Breathe deeply and try to feel the heaviness of your muscles.
  2. Next, touch your thumb to your middle finger and think of a time when you had a loving experience – when you felt a strong sense of closeness or connection with another, like a long embrace.  Feel the sensations of warmth and love moving through you.
  3. Now, touch your thumb to your ring finger and recall the nicest compliment you ever received. Listen. Take it in. You might want to imagine thanking this person… Accepting the compliment demonstrates your high regard for this person.
  4.  Finally, touch your thumb to your little finger. As you do, reflect on the most beautiful place you have ever been. Let yourself soak in the environment – the colors, light, breeze, sounds, texture and smells. Allow yourself to stay in this place for a while.

Now gently bring yourself back to where you are. Remind yourself that you can awaken this experience any time throughout your day by touching each finger, saying:

5-finger relaxation

5-finger relaxation

 

More TidBits – Therapy self-help