I love to overthink.
When it comes to just about anything you can imagine I’m super good at overthinking things.
Thoughts, ideas, concepts, notions — I churn through them lots and lots. I tend to run through a multitude of scenarios and “what ifs” at the speed of the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run.
Often, this all happens right at the start. I see the issue or idea, then approach it from multiple angles, consider possibilities and probabilities. Then I guess at outcomes and start plans and plots — all in the span of a few heartbeats.
This, unsurprisingly, causes tripping over myself due to unseen obstacles wholly of my making.
Are you familiar with the saying that it’s difficult to walk and chew gum at the same time? That’s what this is akin to. Walking (literally or figuratively) and deep thinking at the same time can be complicated.
Why? Because thoughts lead to feelings — whether you acknowledge them or not. Thoughts get you in touch with your inner being — your mindset/headspace/psyche. But sometimes your inner being isn’t fully conscious and is relying on subconscious and unconscious beliefs and habits to drive the bus.
When you are, on the one hand, trying to take control — while on the other hand, ceding control — it’s easy to start tripping over things.
This can be impacted by outside influences, inside influence, and whether you’re being mindful or not.
Outside influences and thinking
Things are happening in the world right now that are super distressing.
Let’s see — COVID-19 and people reacting selfishly and idiotically towards dealing with it. Politicians potentially wiping their asses with the US Constitution because their side lost the Presidential election. Parents at their wits end over schooling during the pandemic. And all the uncertainty that these things are producing is maddening.
One of the most annoying things about this is the truth. I can’t do jack shit. Or rather, I can only do my little part — which I am doing — and not much else. I voted, I wear a mask in public and social distance, and try to wake people up about this inanity through my writing.
It FEELS like I should be doing more. How come I can’t have a bigger influence on these influences? Because they are so far removed from my life that they only impact me as much as I allow them to.
And that’s the problem. I am allowing them to have WAY TOO MUCH impact on my mindset/headspace/psyche. This is why, for the past few days, I’ve restricted myself to only checking Facebook a few times a day — and then, only for 5 minutes at a time.
By not eating the unhealthy potato chips of Facebook constantly — I am consciously striving to lessen how much information I’m absorbing. Five minutes, I’m finding, is enough time to check on groups I’m a part of, see what my friends are up to, and feel that I am still in the loop.
I’m also working on being mindful of where my thoughts ARE — but I will cover this in-depth later in this article.
Outside influences are beyond our control. Thus, we need to focus instead on the inside influences.
Tripping over inside influences
You have three parts to your inner being — that which you call your self. The conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the unconscious mind.
The unconscious mind is what keeps your heart beating, neurons firing, nerves being nervy, and so forth. It is connected to both the conscious and unconscious mind — but does 98% of its works solely in the background.
The subconscious mind is the bridge between the conscious and unconscious minds. Its work is also about 75% in the background — but almost everything within it can be brought to the foreground. Then it can be examined, explored, changed, and altered.
It is in your subconscious where your beliefs and habits have been rooted. Hence why you do certain things by rote and on autopilot. They are based on ongoing habits and long-held beliefs.
But this gets sticky when your subconscious mind absorbs like a sponge. All the data that you take in on any given day, in your lifetime of experiences, and through your senses, lodges into your subconscious. If you don’t examine it via the conscious mind — it can plant roots and create all kinds of things for you to be tripping over.
A lot of the feelings that are within your subconscious mind may not resonate with you. They can be the product of your reaction to outside influences. They can also be the product of old, outdated beliefs you have held subconsciously since your childhood.
The subconscious mind will unwittingly influence you and cause you to keep tripping over things. That is unless you apply your conscious mind to work on those hazards.
That is where mindfulness comes into play.
Mindfulness and the conscious mind
Your conscious mind is your present mind. It is how you are aware of where you’re at, what you’re doing, and the environment you’re presently within.
Mindfulness is the awareness of your conscious mind. To be in touch with your inner being, your perception of the world around you employs mindfulness. It begins on the surface, via sensory input through your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions. That informs your inner being — your mindset/headspace/psyche — about the here-and-now.
In addition to being a part of the world you inhabit where you are right now, your conscious mind has the power to delve into your subconscious mind. In there, it can explore, examine, find, alter, and change beliefs and habits.
Your subconscious mind is accessed for control via your conscious mind.
That’s the most important part of mindfulness. By practicing being mindful, you become aware of yourself and all you are presently experiencing. Additionally, you can be aware of your inner self and how you are both presently and previously impacted by it all. Then — you can control it.
You are not the plaything of your subconscious mind — unless you allow that to be your reality. YOU have the power to be in control, direct, change, and alter yourself on the subconscious level. Mindfulness — and being in touch with your conscious mind — is how you do that.
When you are not working with your conscious mind and practicing mindfulness, you tend to be tripping over your own two feet. Or, really, misfiring or firing the wrong neurons in your brain.
How to stop tripping over yourself
The other night, after climbing into bed, my brain took off like a runaway train. It chewed on all sorts of garbage that I have ZERO control over. That, in turn, made me upset, got my heart racing, and forced me out of bed. I needed a distraction to redirect my mindset.
That was a conscious choice.
While I had a terrible night’s sleep after this, I also gained some insight as to what my subconscious mind is chewing over. Hence, it’s up to me to stop tripping over myself by using my conscious mind to regain control.
Here is how I work to stop tripping over myself:
· Ask mindfulness questions to get into the now. These include:
What am I thinking?
What am I feeling?
How am I feeling?
What am I doing and why am I doing it?
· Write about it. Journal about it. Put it on paper so that you recognize what it is and why you’re tripping over it.
· Meditate. I spend 20 minutes a day meditating. But even 5 minutes of deep breathing and being present is sufficient.
· Rinse and repeat. Asking mindfulness questions can and should happen multiple times during the day. If something is bugging you — writing about it can get it out of your head to stop you from tripping over it. Taking 2 minutes to just breathe deeply can refocus you.
Your process might look very different from mine. Knowing that you have the power to stop tripping over yourself — particularly your self-made obstacles and such — you can better control and direct your life — and choose the paths you desire.
Tripping over your own two feet along a given path is usually an inside job — and under your control.
How do you stop from tripping over your self-made obstacles?
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, the philosophy of choosing and walking your path, and similar life lessons.
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Originally published at https://titaniumdon.com on January 6, 2021.