I was recently reading a book called A Little Peace of Mind by Nicola Bird and I stumbled upon something that gave me a big insight. I always look for ways in which I can help you, so I do tend to read books in the field of anxiety.
Anyway, in the book, the phrase “you don’t have to think anything about anything. At first glance, I wasn’t too sure what this actually meant. But the more I read it, the more it started to make sense.
Whether what she wrote is actually based in the same light as I’m perceiving the phrase, it has certainly served as a trigger to share my own perspective.
In fact, looking back now, I am not even sure that what she meant is what I mean. However, I would like to give my own perspective on the phrase ‘you don’t have to think anything about anything.’
As anxiety sufferers, it is part of the package to overthink. Unfortunately, it is just something that happens when we are experiencing an anxiety disorder. Usually what we do is we add another layer of thinking to our current thinking which just makes us more confused and lost in thought.
Something we usually do as an automatic reaction is over-analyse everything we think. To break free from this habitual behaviour, we can repeat a certain mantra to ourselves. “I don’t have to think anything about anything.”
Don’t see over-thinking as a problem. Sure, it’s perfectly normal for us to not want to overthink but seeing it as a problem will mean we will add more resistance and turmoil to an already emotionally disturbed psyche.
So, whenever you find yourself caught up in overthinking, practice reminding yourself that you don’t have to think anything about anything. You don’t have to work things out. You don’t have to dig deeper into your thoughts.
In simple terms, it just means that we leave our thoughts alone by not adding anything else to them. We allow them to play out in our minds and that is absolutely fine.
I think we just assume that by thinking more about our thoughts, we will reach a state of understanding and clarity.
However, what usually happens is we become even more clouded in overthinking. If we want to life live in a way which allows us to flow through it, I believe we need to leave our thinking alone.
This isn’t going to be easy at first because it’s become so habitual to over-analyse our thinking. Give it time. Keep reminding yourself of the simple understanding that you can leave your thinking alone. That you don’t need to get involved with it all.
Here’s what usually happens: we have a thought that pops up about something. Let’s say we are overthinking about finding our way around a city. From my personal experience, I would add another layer of thinking to my current thinking about finding my way around a city.
I instinctively knew that this was pointless and wasn’t going to solve anything, but I did this unconsciously.
I would start to think about how I was going to work things out, even a day before I went. Doing this just mentally drained me.
So, I just decided to go with it. I reminded myself to stop digging deeper into my thoughts and just go through the motions of ordering my train tickets and travelling to the city.
Even when I arrived at the train station, I would start to overthink. I would start to worry about whether or not I’d get on the right train. I caught myself doing this and I just reminded myself to let it go.
Of course, I wouldn’t try to stop myself from overthinking as this was completely pointless and futile. As you know by now, trying to stop thinking creates the opposite result of what we’d like.
I simply just allowed myself to think whatever thoughts were showing up at that time and went with the flow.
I truly feel that entertaining our thoughts is one of the biggest hurdles many people face when dealing with anxiety. Once we learn to stop entertaining them, then the new programming starts to take over. This programming is what I call the ‘recovery software.’
Another reason why we automatically overthink is because we try to mitigate failing. This is why we overthink things because we assume that doing so could prevent us from failing.
Failure is not what we think it is. Failure has nothing to do with making mistakes. Failure isn’t actually a bad thing. The only true failure that exists is giving up.
In order to learn and grow, we have to make mistakes. There is no getting away from this.
The only reason why we perceive failure to be a bad thing, is because society has told us that failure most be avoided at all costs.
The antidote to stopping overthinking in the area of the fear of failure is to just take action and make mistakes. This is the only way in which we can learn.
First of all, we make mistakes and then we learn that that way clearly isn’t the way of doing things. Secondly, we keep making mistakes until we finally figure out how to do things properly. This is called progress.
This philosophy is essential in creating the success you want. I highly recommend that you adopt this perspective on failure and apply it to the recovery process. Remind yourself that making mistakes isn’t true failure. Making mistakes is actually a good thing because it means we are taking action.
To finish off with…
Please understand that this isn’t something we can do just once and expect it to have a positive effect. Repetition is the key to making progress and this isn’t an exception.
Everything I share and write about needs to be repeated on a consistent basis. Otherwise, the neural pathways will not have a chance to strengthen.
Once the neural pathways in our brain have become strengthened, we will be in recovery.
I saw this quote on Instagram the other day and it fits in perfectly with what I’ve written here.
“You put yourself in a mental prison when you spend too much time thinking. Free yourself with the key of action. Even if it’s only a baby step, it’s better than nothing.” – Kevin Francis Carton
I trust this post can be useful in some way. Reminding yourself of the phrase “I don’t have to think anything about anything” will act as a pattern interrupt and help you to snap out of unconsciously over-analysing our thinking.
As usual, if you have any questions, then feel free to reach out and ask.
Until next time