I woke up way too early this morning. Immediately my mind started racing. What am I going to do if I have to find a job before the next 3 1/2 years are up and that stupid law eats up my Social Security benefits? Can I afford to relocate to another state where that law doesn’t impact me? How much money will that take? What if I can’t find something else, and I don’t have enough money to retire? What if ….. what if … I finally got up at 4:45 sick of the hamster wheel in my brain. My brain feels raw sometimes I think so much.
My Memphis acupuncturist said people in this country think too much. We worry too much. Everything I read says women worry and overthink more than men. I know that one of the key benefits of my anti-depressant was that it stopped some of the excessive chatter in my brain. Since I’ve been of off it – over a year now – the chatter has increased. It was fine for awhile, but as soon as life got stressful, my thinking became a non-stop grind.
I’ve been sitting to meditate for the past two weeks for at least 20 minutes everyday to combat the thinking drain. It’s a challenge because the chatter doesn’t stop just because I’m sitting. I’m constantly refocusing myself on my breath. I keep saying to myself gently, “thinking” to pull myself back to silence. It is torturous on some days. This morning I sat down to meditate on my purple cushion. I set the timer to count down for 20 minutes, and I closed my eyes. After several hours of mind-churning thinking, it was hard to get my mind to stop. But, I put in the effort. I made it through the 20 minutes without beating myself up. Somewhere along the way, the thought crossed my mind that I was off my medication, and I needed to be gentle with myself about my over-thinking propensities. I’ve been muting it for 20 years, and now I need to heal it. It’s going to take time.
Meditation is a powerful thing. Almost every time I type the word, I misspell it as medication. It is true HEALING medication. After I finished my practice, I sat down to journal about my fears to try to get them out of my head. The meditation had brought me some wisdom. Instead of writing about all of my fears, I instinctively wrote:
I am over-thinking, and it’s making me miserable. It disturbs my sleep, and it makes me anxious and tense. I have to start doing some things consciously to stop it. I was going to write about my work fears, but that’s just my obsessive thinking. I need to focus on the real issue. I suppose that’s what happens when I meditate. I see things more clearly.
I was just thinking this morning that the meditation wasn’t working. Ha! It finally focused me on the real problem.
The act of meditation enabled me to reframe the problem. And, in the quietness of those moments of being silent, I realized how much it was tormenting me. I am so grateful. Today I researched some information on things to do to stop over-thinking things. There will always be things to worry about, and I can’t control that. But I can work toward healing my over-thinking problem.
The articles I read said that some people are wired this way. I know Daddy worries a lot. He jokes about it all the time. He’s almost glad when something bad happens so he has something concrete to worry about instead of just some vague worry about everything in general. I probably got it from him. So, I can be gentle with myself that I’m just wired this way but start to take some steps to restore my sanity. And, you know what? Just realizing that the problem is my over-thinking helped me to put my other issues in their place. I can do some things to mitigate damages to my future retirement, but there’s no point in worrying about things that may or may not happen. Who knows? I may end up with a great new job with great retirement benefits. Or I may be fine just the way I am. I may get hit by a bus tomorrow, and my niece will get rich off my 401K that never got used. Those things have at least the same probability of happening as the other. They are all imaginary problems. I can’t do anything about something that hasn’t happened yet.
I started worrying when I read that over-thinking can actually impact my health negatively. When you think of something bad, your body ramps up as if something bad is really happening. It doesn’t know the difference. So, now I can worry about how my worrying is going to devastate my health and leave me in medical bankruptcy. NOOOOO!!! I’m going to take some of the advice from the below articles and keep meditating. It seems to be making a difference in a simple but profound way. Today, I didn’t worry at all about my future. When the thoughts drifted by, I just said, “You’re over-thinking, Sweetie.” They disappeared as quickly as they came.
Articles on how to stop over-thinking