Try this 6S Solution™ for overthinking (and yes, success will be what you experience when practicing it!)
Dear Overthinking, Rumination, Obsessing and Analysis Paralysis,
Oh how familiar we have been… how intertwined we once were…but oh how I am enjoying less and less of you in my life! (hallelujah)
…“You”, Overthinking and Spinning Mind, are spoken of regularly by my clients. You are frustrating, you are an energy vampire. You are a waste of time. You confuse, you meddle, you negate. You keep us stuck with spinning wheels, wanting to take action but somehow unable to.
Why, oh why do you continue to be alive and well in our lives when we want more than anything to be free of you?…
It’s a human thing. It’s a program many of us are wired to run.
Our marvelous computer brains are constantly busy wiring together bits of information and experience. We utilize well-worn neural pathways all the time – some positive, enjoyable and serving us well in life… and others, not so.
So there we are, stuck in paralysis over an option, trying to make a decision or choice over something. We’re unsettled and unsure about the next or first step to take, we’re caught up mapping out or talking about all the paths and options for the 20th or 30th time. We’re feeling badly about something we did or said, an argument we had and only NOW we’re coming up with all the smart comebacks we wish we’d said! And dang it, there we are again, lying awake at night ruminating on that thing.
What’s actually happening when we do that? Are we actually figuring out our next step? Are we coming up with a solution? Probably, eventually, yes. But only after running the Overthinking / Obsessing / Rumination Program for what seems like an agonizing amount of time.
What we are doing in-fact is strengthening the pattern of overthinking! We are reinforcing the program and increasing the power of the behaviour – fuelling it to grow, to be habit, to be the default. UGH.
We are wiring together even tighter and stronger the neural pathways of that program– and also beefing up all the small connections that relate to that pattern or habit – all the “extras” in feelings, memories, situations, beliefs and learnings that have become associated with the pattern or program based on all our experiences in life.
Unfortunately most our overthinking and paralysis comes all wrapped up in negative chatter. Clouded in worry or fear, and riddled with past examples or experience of when “that bad thing” happened. We remember that “mistake” we made. We feel that “horrible discomfort”, we hear “what was said”, we see the “truth” as we believed it then.
And boy oh boy do we want to avoid it! So round and round we go. Digging that groove deeper.
And so deeper and deeper we go into procrastination, worry, and then very often into stress, anxiety or depression.
I decided to write about Overthinking today because it’s exactly the program that popped up for me in knowing I was going to have to write this Blog post.
There I was starting to overthink blogging! (Ridiculous?!)
Overthinking how to go about it, what I would write, who would – or could – possibly be interested, and why it was even worth doing.
There I was imagining, and essentially creating, end results. I was busy making up dialogue in my head about all those things, setting the stage for uncomfortable scenarios. (About blogging!?)
There was that old faint tinge of paralysis creeping in. Procrastination luring me to something else as the mental spinning was trying to kick in.
“NOPE! REJECT!” (insert pattern interrupt here!)
This is where I personally get to practice what I teach. And I love it!
Luckily we are indeed able to create positive new pathways and programs for ourselves.
Simply knowing that we can change arms us more confidently. Then, we just need to get really good at interrupting those old negative programs. Halting them in their tracks the moment we notice them. Then comes a Reset, and most importantly, the Redirect to what we would prefer to experience, do, feel, believe and think. Then action!
This is where Pattern Interrupts come into play.
There are many ways to do this.
Now I don’t mean interrupting the pattern by choosing to watch TV instead of making that dreaded phone call – this doesn’t mean surfing the internet instead of getting that paper written – this isn’t a Pattern Interrupt called Procrastinate Now!
What I mean, are simple techniques – or practices – that interrupt the pattern or program running by putting a roadblock in the way. Thus forcing our minds to take an alternative route. An alternate route we can choose to create. Effectively having our minds become aware of other options that are, and will be, available to us when the trigger is activated in the future (whatever that might be for us –a project that needs doing, a decision that needs to be made, or even a blog entry that needs to be written!)
For me today, the pattern interrupt and solution was simply this-
- STOP – stopping what I was doing at the very moment I recognized what was happening, what the pattern of dialogue was and where my mind was starting to go. (ROADBLOCK)
- SNAP – snapping my fingers at the same time as saying “Nope! Reject!” out loud. Snapping yourself out of it! (ROADBLOCK)
- STILL yourself – Stilling myself by taking a deep breath and dropping my awareness into my heart as I exhaled. Breathing into and around my heart space over and over for a good minute or more. (RESET)
- SEE – seeing in my minds eye that space opening up, expanding and filling, – seeing space open up for me to begin writing easily (RESET)
- SET – setting into motion the feelings, images, sounds and sensations of having accomplished writing this blog post. Setting myself up for success. Seeing it finished on my website, feeling great about getting it done, imagining it being read positively, imagining and hearing myself speaking about blogging with enthusiasm, feeling excited about what to write next, sensing confidence spreading (REDIRECT) and then…
- START – I start writing. Just start. Get a few ideas, sentences down… then a few more and then BAM – before you know it you’re done.
And so I am!
This 6S Solution ™ is great for anxiety, worry, anger, fear, frustration – pretty much anything that causes you to be moving, thinking, feeling & experiencing yourself in a ways you no longer enjoy.
I have many other ROADBLOCKS, RESETS & REDIRECTS that can be inserted into this formula. I will be sharing them, as I go.
So check back here – or sign up for my newsletter below.
And as I continue to practice interrupting that old overthinking program myself and create this new successful “get her done” one, I’ll soon be loving writing this blog.
Thanks for reading! I hope you find this tool useful. Practice often, and notice the positive results of re-wiring your brain.
6S Solution ™2015 Shalynn Flavell