Who thinks about work on a weekend? Let alone while cruising around Florida in a Corvette?
We had just gotten to our hotel and I snagged a parking spot right up front. As I climbed out of the driver’s seat, this pesky thought crept into my head.
Don’t forget you have work on Monday.
Well, of course I do but who cares. It’s 78 degrees, sunny and I’m 1,159 miles away from home!
I had to catch myself. I’ve been down that road before and I know that sometimes even the slightest rebuttal against thoughts is like taking the lid off of a fire ant farm.
Thankfully I was able to snap out of it and avoid the argument, with myself. I just let the thoughts be on their way.
If we had the option to decide our thoughts, we’d never pick the ones that distract us or ruin our day.
But the mind is mechanical. It has fail safes that try to warn and protect us from catastrophe. It’s programmed to constantly run below the surface and it’s so discreet that we hardly even notice.
That’s its job. Our mind wants to keep us informed of our “problems” because it’s a problem-solving machine. It wants things fixed asap. That’s what it’s done for thousands of years.
One of the things we can do to give ourselves a break is create space between our thoughts and us. Then we can avoid the stickiness and maintain our breathing room. If we simply notice thoughts and remind ourselves that “this is just thinking” we’ll recognize what’s important and what isn’t. Then we can decide to ignore them or take care of business.
We don’t have to take our little mental messages personally. Our brains have evolved to operate this way and it’s one of the reasons we’ve survived this long.
Overthinking is a habit that can be changed just like anything else. If we observe our thinking, we can start building a case for changing our habits and living a life that’s less in our heads and more in the present.
It ain’t easy, but it’s possible. It just takes a little effort, day by day. Over time it leads to peace of mind, which is well worth the work.
We’ve been reminded our whole lives of how humans are such brilliant thinkers. It’s gotten to our heads a bit because now it’s all we do.
We could all use a break.