*WARNING: potential triggers*
I’m a thinker. My personality type is INFJ. I’m highly introverted and intuitive. I like to think. I can’t help but think. I contemplate life, people, meanings, and depth. My mind is geared this way.
But it’s a hard way to live.
If you’re not careful, thinking too much can be your downfall. It can kill you. It depresses and stresses you. It’s proven that more intelligent people are more likely to be depressed because they contemplate life more. They can see the meaninglessness in it all. And that kind of sucks.
Think about Rick from Rick and Morty. He is a Nihilistic thinker. That we are all just specks; life is meaningless; shit happens.
When I allow myself to think too much, I get low. I analyse all my life decisions, who I am, who others are, and what I’m meant to do. Lately, when I thought too much about studying again, I slowly, piece by piece, thought by thought, took all the excitement away and also thought myself into running away.
Because thinking isn’t living.
Thinking is good for studying, essays, blog posts, sharing deep ideas, emotive pieces of fiction, art, and the like. I’m a writer, thinking and feeling deeply is a great tool for that.
But not for life.
Thinking too much in everyday life is dangerous.
I get it, it’s also an illness. Anxious brains, depressed brains, certain mental disorders can cause us to obsess and ruminate over an idea to the point of anguish. I have that. But for some of us, this can be managed better. I am one of those people.
I have anxiety but it could be worse. I’ve seen it much worse in friends and people who used to come to my support groups. I’m not saying my own problems are invalid, of course, compared to others, but I am saying that I do have a certain level of control over my thoughts and I should be using that more often.
Actively trying to think less.
Now, anyone who has tried to meditate knows that sitting down and trying not to think isn’t easy! It’s a cycle of thinking about not thinking and then thinking you’re thinking and so beating yourself up for thinking when you shouldn’t be thinking!
But when we let go, surrender, and don’t force it, we know the meditation works better. To concentrate on something else (your breathing, a mantra, a candle, a song, ambient sound, humming etc). If you find yourself thinking off-topic, gently bring yourself back to something else without judgement or anger.
And it’s not just that, it’s about doing instead of thinking.
In a thinking spiral? Get up and do something:
- Walk the dog
- Dance and sing to your favourite music
- Speak with a friend
- Do a puzzle or play a game
Because we must be honest, some of us like thinking. Like I say, introverts, intuitive people, deep feelers etc are naturally inclined to think more than extroverts and doers.
Neither is right or wrong, bad or good. I have always said that I believe in balance. That you should find a happy middle for yourself personally between thinking and doing in a healthy, practical, appropriate way for your life. Like I say, my job as a writer requires a lot more thinking than, say, someone whose work involves building houses or caring for animals!
And so, it’s your job to recognise when you are thinking too much. To be aware of how your thinking is making you feel. And then to stop it in its tracks and do something else instead.
When low, practice the mantra “don’t think about it too much” because if you do, and you feed it, and you sit in it for too long, you’re dooming yourself.
Life can’t be thought into making sense.
Epiphanies aren’t reached that way; happiness doesn’t come from thinking for hours on end.
And so, my mantra for 2020, I think, will be to think less, do more.
Good luck xx
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