You may have looked at the title of this article and thought to yourself, ‘why would I want to know how to stop thinking’? Well, the reason is when you stop thinking, you can start doing. We all know that when we start taking action, things get done.
However, by overthinking, we often delay what we have to get done, or in the worst cases, we think too much that we come up with reasons not to do it, and then nothing gets done. Although thinking can, of course, be beneficial in so many ways, knowing how to stop thinking can be a very powerful personal tool.
HOW TO STOP THINKING AND JUST LET GO OF ANYTHING DRAGGING YOU DOWN
OVERTHINKING LEADS TO NEGATIVITY
Over the years, I’ve often wondered how to stop thinking and after reading the Ekhart Tolle book The Power of Now, I realised that by stopping the thought process, I could get much more done in less time and have more peaceful periods to myself when I don’t think.
Often, by overthinking, we end up thinking ourselves into negativity and away from productivity. I found as I got a grip on the concept of how to stop thinking so much, I would start doing some of the things I once felt I needed to think about before I started to do. Let me give you a simple example.
You’re living in a high rise apartment and realise you have run out of milk for your morning breakfast cereal on your only day off this week. So, you start thinking about dressing up, catching the elevator to the bottom floor and going for a walk to buy the milk.
And then you think about the fact it has also started to rain, so you decide you just couldn’t be bothered and you’ll just miss breakfast altogether. However, in the back of your mind, you can’t relax because you’re hungry and finally, after a couple of wasted hours, you finally decide to go and get the milk and eat breakfast.
If you had given it no thought at all and simply got dressed and gotten the milk, you would’ve started your day on a more positive note.
GET RID OF UNPRODUCTIVE THINKING
The example I just gave you is insignificant on its own, but when you live a life full of thinking moments like this, you end up spending perhaps hours and hours every day wasting time. So many people live this way, but you can change and become more productive in both your professional life and personal life when you understand how to stop thinking so much.
Of course, you’ll need to spend some of your time thinking but your main aim, as far as how to stop thinking is concerned, is to get yourself out of the habit of unproductive thinking and more towards a proactive mindset or spend some time relaxing and rewinding without thinking.
DO ‘STOP THINKING’ SESSIONS
The first step towards your goal of how to stop thinking so much is to make time each day to sit down and relax. It doesn’t have to be for an extended period. In the beginning, you simply want to get started on creating a new habit.
Try taking just 5 minutes a day to sit down and relax; anyone can find a spare 5 minutes no matter how busy they are. Your goal is to do nothing more than to stop thinking. It’s a type of meditation, but let’s not call it meditation. Let’s just call it your ‘stop thinking time’ for the sake of the exercise.
Sit down whenever and wherever you have time, morning, lunchtime or evening and stop thinking. When I first started doing it, I must say, I found it kind of difficult as my mind always seemed to be thinking and would wander back to thinking almost immediately. So, you need to focus on something. As for me, I decided to take the meditation technique of focusing on my breath without actually thinking about it.
You’ll figure out what works for you when you try it. All I do is close my eyes, so I can cut down on outside stimulus that could cause me to think. Then I sit in a relatively quiet area and focus on my breath, nothing else.
When your mind wanders, and it’ll wander, don’t worry about it because that’ll cause you to start thinking again. Just get back to focusing on your breath, that’s all you have to do.
It’s just like anything else, the more you do this exercise, the better you’ll become at not thinking. In time, as you master the art of how to stop thinking, I bet you’ll start to get hooked on doing it.
Even though I’m much more proficient at being able to stop thinking at will than when I started, I’m still not an expert. However, certain revelations seem to come to me while I’m not thinking. These revelations are like answers to questions I’ve been subconsciously thinking about.
It’s like magic in a way, and I don’t doubt that you’ll experience this too when you stop thinking by spending quiet periods relaxing. Now, I look forward to these short breaks through my day and on the weekends. When I’m home alone, I sit and stop thinking for long periods and always feel rejuvenated after a stop thinking session.
YOU GET TO ENJOY LIFE MORE WITHOUT THINKING
As I’ve learned how to stop thinking and spend more time relaxed and just concentrating on my breath, my subconscious mind seemed to reveal some hidden secrets to me that have helped me to enjoy my life so much more.
During periods where I’ve stopped thinking, my mind has revealed to me many of the things I write about on this website. Often, the answers to many of life’s questions are staring us in the face, but we can’t see them because we spend so much time thinking and not enough time merely observing without thinking.
TAKE BACK THE CONTROL
When you figure out how to stop thinking you may notice a slight sparkle reappear in your life and a fresh batch of creativity emerge. We often unknowingly block our creativity by hanging on too tight to the things in our life. This has certainly been the case in my experience.
I always felt like I needed a measure of control over the things around me but during my stop thinking sessions, I now understand that I don’t need to be in control, I just need to be more observant and not think too much about the little things. Thinking that way restricted me creatively but now I have a mind set of let go and trust.
For people who are chronically depressed, anxious, moody or just unhappy, it’s imperative that you understand how to stop thinking since your thoughts make you angry and unhappy about the circumstances of your life.
The answer to overcoming depression and anxiety is in your ability to stop thinking about it. When you spend more time not thinking, you’ll begin to notice those nasty black clouds start to dissipate overhead. And as you continue with your stop thinking sessions, you’ll probably have wished you stopped thinking sooner.