Thinking is not the problem

Think too much?  Mind races when you are trying to sleep?  Caught up in “what ifs”?  Frequently worry?

Our brains are automatically wired for survival, automatic reactions so that we don’t have to think about how to protect ourselves in emergency situations.  One of these functions is the tendency to initially assume everything we perceive is a danger.  Once we have “jumped back” to safety, we can re-evaluate the danger.  React first, think later.

Problem is we react too much.  We stay stuck in react mode by continuing to think negatively, to think that the situation is bad.  We keep repeating the “danger” in our minds in some fashion such as repeatedly telling ourselves the story, reviewing what happened, coming up with things that might happen.  Each of these kinds of thoughts is another kind of “attack” that we react to.  In this way, we stop the natural flow of thoughts.  That’s the problem.

It is natural for thoughts to come and go.  Not being aware of what we are doing with our own thoughts is the problem with thinking. Paying attention to what we are thinking is the first opportunity make a choice; continue to focus on the thought or let it go.  That is mindfulness.

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