Firstly, sorry for a bit of a disappearing act recently, as stated the App has taken up so much of my time and the book has shot up in sales with Amazon and certain shops now stocking it. Everything has taken off in the last year or so and it is hard work keeping up and I have to cut back on certain things.
I should though be around on the blog more, as things have calmed a little and it starts with today’s post.
A mind that never seems to switch off
I know a lot struggle with an overactive mind and wonder how to calm it. Again there is no quick fix, but I will pass on what really helped me. I like others struggled with an overactive mind, that did not seem to switch off, it really was the last thing to settle. When we are anxious, then our body works over time and the reason we may sweat or feel restless and unable to sit still, with this comes an overactive mind that seems to start on one subject then jump to another with little rhyme or reason.
Firstly I realised that a calm mind, led to a calm body and the mistake I was making was to try and figure my way back to a calm mind, to try and unravel what I was doing wrong, what I needed to do etc. I was sure there was a secret out there that just needed discovering. It was then that I realised that I did not need to figure my way back to a calm mind. A calm mind could never come through more thinking, more figuring out, it would come through doing the exact opposite.
People may have different experiences, but the root to cure is the same, over worrying and thinking causes the mind to become frantic and overactive. I will give you my own example, which stemmed really from a fear of losing the people around me that I was close to.
My main problem was, that I would keep jumping back to something that happened last week and how I felt, this would mainly be negative thinking like ‘That night out with friends last Tuesday did not go well at all, next week I will try harder to fit in and come across as normal’. So then I would be looking into this coming Tuesday and building up to what to do to make sure it went better this week, so as to make sure I did not ramble through and come across as odd, what I had to do was do this or that and I would then go with a bunch of mental instructions and the night would again be a disaster as I would not be joining in, I would be mentally trying to fix myself and remind myself what to do. Then home again and looking back to how bad it went and feel sorry for myself and fill myself with self-pity, waking the next day trying to find more answers.
This is what I mean by looking back, I would constantly go over how things went and what I could have done better, then I would be looking into the future and plan certain things to make sure they went OK. All this mental planning was constant and it could be a simple trip out with friends or going round to a family gathering, I was obsessed with how I was coming across and how things were going, then filling myself with negative thoughts about how bad my life was and how it was not fair that others could enjoy themselves and not me, then more thoughts on how to fix it, my mind just never switched off.
How I overcame this was to say to myself, that this was the last time I went over something that had happened and the last time I planned for something that was up and coming and more than that I would not entertain another negative thought, my mind could ramble on about anything it wished, I would allow the noise, but I would no longer get involved with it.
Through habit, my mind would sometimes drift back to something that happened last week or try and plan for the future, but I would say ‘No, not going there, not joining on your drama anymore’ or a negative thought would come up about my situation and I would say ‘No I don’t do negative anymore, anxiety has taken enough of my life, it is not having any more’. I would then wake up with a smile on my face and just face the day whatever may come, no planning, no safety behaviours, no negative thinking about my situation, no going over something that someone did or said or how a situation went. I am not saying from that day on everything was brilliant, it was not, but it was far, far better.
This new approach was a major breakthrough for me and I felt far more mentally free, just no longer involving myself in the dramas or negative thinking of the mind had a huge effect on me. Again if it wanted to think negatively or create some drama, then it was free to do so, I just wasn’t getting involved in it anymore.
Other things I did
I always tried to stay positive and just when anxiety was just about to control what I did or did not do I would say ‘You have had enough of my life you are not having anymore’ and then go out and live my life fearlessly, it wasn’t always comfortable, but I was back in charge.
I also got into meditation a little, maybe just 3 times a week for half an hour. I would just get out of the bath when most relaxed, lie on the bed and just let go, I would just let any thoughts or emotions just come and go, like clouds passing in the sky, no trying to change them, but no involvement in them either. I still do this practice to this day.
I also made sure I got out in the fresh air and went walking, running, cycling, again a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. I also cut my drinking down and felt so much better for this. I still went out as much as before, but instead of getting drunk I would just stick to 4 pints.
Again it is not an overnight thing, but the above really helped me on my way to who I am now.