Meditation … Medication for Over-Thinking

IMG_0302

My meditation spot

 

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

8 Ways to Stop Over-Thinking and Find Peace of Mind

6 Steps to Stop Over-Thinking Your Life

Google Search Results on how to stop over-thinking

 

 

6 thoughts on “Meditation … Medication for Over-Thinking

  1. I loved your blog.

    I find if I write down a list of things I need to worry about later, I can turn off the over-thinking. And I just keep adding to the list. Every once in a while I check it over to see if there’s anything I can do about anything on the list, and if there is, I do it, if not, I save it and look at it later. It’s an email I sent to myself. I open it, update it, forward it to myself again, delete the old one. I can never lose it even if my computer crashes, it’s always in my email account and I can access it from anywhere.

    I don’t it “Things to Worry About.” I call it “Things to Do.” It’s much more effective to take one action step–to DO something–that helps something on the list than to worry about it day in and day out. All that wasted energy is focused into an occasional concrete act.

    Now if I could just sit quietly and meditate. 🙂

    • Thank you for reading and commenting. As much as i tried, i had another panic attack last night. Milder in intensity but i was still up til midnight with racing thoughts.

  2. More tips, because I so relate to this…and because it’s one of the few things in my life I’ve actually SUCCESSFULLY GOTTEN OVER. So many other things I STILL battle with at 52 years old. Quitting smoking after 33 years of smoking is another, but I think I’m not as proud of that as I am of quitting the obsessive thinking and panic attacks. Fpr pne, I tell myself “Don’t catastrophize,” in this tone of voice that’s like “C’mon already, girl.” This tip came from a book by Albert Ellis (a therapist who is, ironically, an atheist, when I am a believer) on Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and “How to Control Your Anxiety Before It Controls You.” Also, in worrying about people I love (my kids), I learned from an older wise woman whose daughter was a crack addict and prostitute living on the streets for years. Originally, her daughter had been a Christian evangelist, but she tried a “new drug” with a guy she’d started dating, back before anybody knew what crack was, and was addicted overnight. Years of street living followed as this woman watched her daughter lose her job, her kids, her life. But this mother’s Christian faith taught her that worry was a sin. She believed worry attracted darkness to the object of worry and put her drug-addicted daughter in more danger. So instead of worry reflecting her love, it actually endangered her daughter. This was a revolutionary concept to me. I actually felt guilty if I didn’t “worry enough.” I thought it meant I didn’t love my kids if I didn’t worry. It never occurred to me that I should feel bad about worrying and how it might attract the negative to them. That concept FREED me from worrying about my kids to the point of panic like I used to. I still worry, but it was cut down by 70%. It rang true to me. There is a similar new age concept I learned later: “You attract what you fear.” Almost every major religion in the world teaches that we manifest what we believe or think on or speak repeatedly. We summon it into our lives. Instead of worrying, I learned to pray and “speak life” over the things I fear. The Bible quote: “Whatsoever is true and pure and lovely, think on these things,” was a quote I would say aloud to myself. Interestingly enough, I met this older wise woman who taught me this THROUGH her crack-addicted daughter who had ended up at a homeless shelter I ran. I became her daughter’s mentor and in the process, she got clean and I came to be a follower of Christ. I was an atheist before. Shortly before becoming a believer, I started having trouble with my own teenage daughters and was having panic attacks and this drug addicted woman in my homeless shelter introduced me to her wise old mother who shared with me the wisdom she had learned sitting quietly with God all those years when she didn’t know if her crack-addicted daughter was dead or alive out there. That all transpired back in 2001, 13 years ago, and my client (who becamse one of my best friends) is still clean and sober, working as a drug counselor. Her wise mother is still amazing and full of the power of God. And I have been through hell since then and have rolled through most of it fearlessly. “The Lord God has not given me a spirit of fear–but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7

Talk to me, please...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s