Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Thinking too hard?

Do you wonder if sometimes you might think too hard? If so, you're not alone. Many of us pass too much time thinking, and not enough time doing. It's an easy trap to fall into, especially if your mood is low and you've ended up spending a lot of the day inactive and alone. I know, I've been there. You don't feel great, so you stay at home. You don't feel like doing much, so you slump in front of the TV, or don't get out of bed. And then the over-thinking starts. The excessive worrying. The rumination.

There's a neat way to trick your brain into thinking less, though, which is to completely immerse yourself in something that takes over all your cognitive capacity, drowning out the destructive thinking with something else altogether. It happened for me a few days ago when I spent an afternoon and evening with a friend's sons. As kids do, they demanded my full attention, which I was happy to give. We played in the garden, made a chocolate cake, cooked dinner, did their homework.

The point is, a whole slice of time went by during which it was impossible for me to fill my head with the usual stuff. Was this simply avoiding the issues? Well, I don't think so. When I returned to the normal routine the following day, I found I'd much greater clarity of thought. When you catch yourself thinking too hard, it's not always easy to tell yourself to stop. It can be more practical to crowd out the negative thinking with something else altogether.