Descartes was right – our ability to think defines us as humans. Without this ability there would be no creativity, no amazing new ideas, and no breakthroughs. Thinking means we are able to innovate and progress. It’s also the primary cause of our anxiety.
Consider a challenge that you’re dealing with at the moment. Something that is making you stressed, worried, depressed, or melancholy. Would you feel this way if you couldn’t think about that problem?
The answer is almost certainly “no”.
The reality is that thinking is at the root of our anxiety, fears, regrets, sadness and angst. If we couldn’t reflect over past losses or imagine potential obstacles we wouldn’t feel depressed or anxious. Nor would we hold ourselves back from facing challenges or taking on opportunities. Why? Because generally it is our focus on previous failures or imagined problems that fuels our fears and regrets.
So what’s the solution?
Well stopping all thought is clearly not a viable outcome – we’d literally grind to a halt. Limiting certain types of thinking however, is definitely important.
Specifically, we need to get good at recognising thought patterns that cause us to spin our mental tyres, encourage us to start pulling apart our previous mistakes, or to imagine coming disasters. Catastrophising. Mind reading. Fortune telling. Name calling. Those types of thinking that simply make us feel bad and lead to inaction.
Doing this can be as simple as catching yourself thinking, reminding yourself it’s unproductive and drawing your attention back to the present moment.
When it comes to thinking you need to ask yourself if it useful. If it is leading to positive behaviours and helping you to take action – awesome! But if you find yourself stressing, catastrophising or procrastinating then you best put on the mental brakes and turn your thoughts to something more worthwhile!
If you are struggling with negative thoughts and want to get more insights into how to manage them feel free to get in touch – there are a number of really effective techniques that can help you master to boost your mood and beat procrastination. Email me if you want some tips.