An epidemic of Americans are thinking too much.
According to research by University of Michigan psychology professor Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, 73 percent of 25-35-year-olds overthink, 52 percent of 45-55-year-olds do, and 20 percent of 65-75-year-olds are thinking too much.
While a busy brain can, indeed, keep your mind sharp, an over-taxed brain can actually hurt your productivity and your emotional health.
You know you’re overthinking when you’ve been thinking about your boss’ comment about your new haircut for three days (what did he mean by “interesting”?), or when you have so many thoughts racing through your mind that you feel like you want to scream.
It’s a proven fact that when you multi-task you actually get less accomplished because your mind takes time to switch from one task to another. In a similar vein, if you think too much, you are not doing yourself any favors.
Overthinking, according to studies by Nolen-Hoeksema:
- Can lead to severe depression and anxiety
- Interferes with good problem-solving
- Increases your likelihood of turning to substance abuse or even committing suicide
So how do you quiet your racing mind so that you can think clearly, or simply have a night of peace, without any negative thinking at all?
“The goal is to be quiet with your mind instead of trying to stop its chatter,” says Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates. “When you try and stop its chatter you are simply adding another layer of chatter on top of the chatter that is already there. So the best approach is to let go of your reactions to the chatter and let go of resisting thinking.”
Letting go is a technique that you can learn by using The Sedona Method . It's deceptive in its simplicity, as releasing your negative thoughts is something that you already have the power to do, but you likely don't harness it.
Ironically, the more you give in to your negative thoughts, accepting them for what they are without judgment, the faster they will fly from your mind. The problem is that many of us inadvertently keep them there by overthinking tough or stressful situations.
The Sedona Method is the key to a calm mind, even during times of stress, because it actually shows you how to remain impervious to negativity.
'When you find yourself thinking too much, let go of your identity as the thinker, and know that you are that which is aware yet unaffected by thinking,' Dwoskin says. 'As you let go of your reactions to your thoughts, your thoughts themselves also get more quiet and stop racing. You will find that thinking takes on a much more positive and cooperative tone naturally -- without you having to force this to happen.'