How frequently do you:
(1) try to push (emotional) thoughts aside, either by doing something that distracts you mentally or physically?
(2) feel overwhelmed by the speed at which thoughts are going through your mind?
(3) notice your mind wandering off and daydreaming?
(4) feel your way of managing your thoughts is efficient?
(5) deal efficiently with problems that arise?
(6) go back over conversations, replaying them and trying to work out how they could have gone differently?
(7) use your mind as a mental jotter-pad and use it to hold information?
(8) see thoughts as passing phenomena that you don’t necessarily have to get caught up in?
These are just a handful of questions to get you thinking about your thinking (otherwise known as meta-cognition). Most of us take our default way of thinking for granted – it’s how we’ve always done things and it can seem surprising that there might even be another way of thinking. I’m not talking about the content of our thinking necessarily, but the style or manner in which we are thinking. Some ways of thinking (e.g. overthinking, and thought suppression) may not serve us well and may set us up to not only feel worse, but also solve problems less well, feel less motivated, and sap our confidence.
In this video (one of a series of five), I briefly talk about types of thinking. When we are trying to change from a habitual type of thinking that no longer serves us (e.g., overthinking or avoidance), it’s helpful to know other types of thinking exist.
In my CD “Overcoming Overthinking”, I have a guided exercise to help shift into Problem-Solving, rather than overthinking. I also have an exercise for shifting from Overthinking into Reflection. It’s useful to listen to the exercises a few times to learn the strategy and then, when you notice that you are overthinking, try listening to either track to shift into a different way of thinking.
In my upcoming workshops (a one hour intro or a half day version), I will be talking about overthinking, the 4 S’s that keep us locked into overthinking, and how to KICK overthinking.