We’re in the midst of a collective anxiety, so many people are gripped by worry for their health, their families, finances and for the future in general.
Some are able to keep their worries under control, somehow they are able to keep a healthy balanced attitude to life’s ups and downs, with a view that happier times surely lie ahead. But when you read the statistics it can be overwhelming to see just how many people are struggling with worry and anxiety at present.
Many of us are isolated at home allowing too much time alone with our thoughts. Thinking too much can be completely debilitating. We find ourselves trapped in our own mind and unable to concentrate on anything that is actually going on around us. Our vision can become clouded and we have no sense of calm, we become unable to move on.
Overthinking serves no useful purpose, at its best it’s a waste of time and at worst the first step towards full blown anxiety. It becomes a problem when our thoughts are focused on the negative or worrisome events.
When we’re stuck in our minds and withdrawn from reality and we cease to focus on the present moment. Obsessive thinking can feed on itself and become a destructive cycle.
Worry is an internal thought process, you can’t control a person or a situation with your thoughts. So it stands to reason that nothing can be gained by worrying. To stop the worry cycle we have to change the way we think about the world and how we relate to it.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, or CBT has been used for years to help people with anxiety. It’s based on identifying overly negative thought and reactions, so that you can change what you’re experiencing. It generally involves one-to-one sessions with a therapist who helps you to identify which thoughts or situations may be a problem and working together to improve a particular way of thinking.
Our stuck thoughts are most likely based on passed events or fear for the unknown future. If we try to focus on the here and now the less our thoughts are able to torment us.
Mindfulness is more of a technique that can be practised individually. It involves knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. It’s about being aware of our thoughts and feelings as they happen. By allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly, we can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives.
An important question to ask yourself ‘Is your thinking about it helping you’? Once you frame it like this it’s much easier to dismiss it. It’s liberating to realise that worry changes nothing. Once we know the games being played by our mind, we can begin to make simple changes to minimise our anxiety and manage difficult emotions for life.
Recognizing that thoughts are just thoughts takes practice but we can develop the skill relatively quickly. It then makes it easier to savour the pleasures in life as they occur. By focusing on the here and now we are less preoccupied with concerns about the future and are subsequently able to create a greater capacity to deal with adverse events as and when they happen.