Being Mindful

I went for a run this morning to soak up the last days of spring before summer kicks in. While I was out, Liz messaged me, asking if we could meet up.

We met at our favorite Village coffee shop and I settled into a booth with Liz. We exchanged our usual hellos. Sensing something brewing stronger than our lattes, I asked, “What’s going on, Liz?”

Liz spoke softly, “It’s everything, Bob,” she confessed. “Decisions, worries, doubts – they all swirl around in my head like a never-ending storm. I’ve tried yoga, listening to music to take my mind off things but nothing seems to help.” She described how her overthinking tendency was affecting her health, happiness, and ability to get things done.

I reached out and gently squeezing her hand, I said, “Liz, we all battle the overthinking monster sometimes. But the key is learning how to manage it, not let it manage us.”

“Yes, Bob, but how should I do that?” she sighed.

I shared some insights. “First, it helps to identify your overthinking style. Are you a…

Past Analyzer: Dwelling on past mistakes or bad feedback? Schedule a dedicated “worry time” to deal with these thoughts head-on and prevent them from haunting you all day.

Future Analyzer: Constantly worried about what’s next? Try a future visualization exercise. Imagine yourself past the hurdle you’re fretting about, having achieved your goals. This can shift your focus to a more empowering perspective.

Over Analyzer: Do you get stuck in analysis paralysis, unable to make decisions or fearing imperfection? Practice accepting “good enough” sometimes. Perfection is a myth, and progress is key.”

Liz’s eyes widened. “Wow, Bob, that doesn’t just explain me, it explains half my friends too! And categorizing it helps too. Thanks, Bob! You’re like a walking self-help manual!” We chuckled, as we shared a strawberry parfait and some sweet laughter.

As humans, we have this incredible ability to be mindful and redirect our energies.  It’s not about silencing all deep thinking, but about choosing where to focus our mental power. Whether it’s through yoga, meditation, reaching out to a friend, or even seeking professional help, the tools are there. With a little self-awareness and some helpful tactics, we can beat that overthinking monster for good.

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