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Overthinking is the Body’s Alarm Clock

I relax more in life now that I’m over 65. I’m a survivor. I was an avid worrier. A planner and plotter for every task, figuring out what to do if any scenario happens, the what if’s and better not’s. All in the name of safety. Time has certainly helped relieve me of this angst. Befriending my heart has helped too.

I still overthink though. A telltale sign is when I pick my fingers or chew the inside of my lip. It’s a physical trait that accompanies worrying.

Overthinking is a necessity during this pandemic though. We have to remember masks, hand sanitizer, plastic gloves, six feet apart, plotting out grocery shopping, making a living, managing children, school schedules, medical appointments, putting food on the table and finding some enjoyment and comfort amidst it all. It’s exhausting.

We are survivors. We are problem solvers. We are plotters and planners negotiating our way through life. Horrible things happen. Yet the sun rises and the birds chirp.

I remember the day after my daughter made her transition, it was appalling to hear life continuing on outside my walls. Why didn’t the world stop?

Because we are survivors and we go on. I didn’t abandon myself. I picked up my wounded heart and turned inward, gave myself what I needed and recovery continues.

The usefulness of overthinking is that it tends to be an alarm clock. It’s a sign that our heart is closed instead of opened. Our questions are uncertain, as we try to understand why circumstances happen. We have been trained to wage an internal war against uncertainty. We have to find clarity to know what the plan is to step into the plan.

As heart centered beings, we don’t have to be at war against uncertainty. We have to boldly befriend uncertainty and to know the things we don’t know, we don’t know on purpose, and knowing it isn’t going to actually make us more aligned, happy and fulfilled.

Even though we’re frustrated by the mind, the invitation is to not fight with things that are fighting with us. So, we stop fighting with the mind. The first thing to do with an overactive mind is to befriend it. If I can befriend my mind, I’m showing it respect. Because we live in a world of unity consciousness, the respect I show something becomes the respect I feel within myself.

If we look at our physiology as spiritual beings, everything inside of us we’ve labeled as flaws or something that is less than our highest will and ethics is really just information that spirit is trying to give us or remind us what we really need.

If we can catch ourselves really looping on regrets, looping in fantasies, looping in why me, why this, how come it couldn’t have happened differently, the sound of our thoughts is that alarm clock that says the mind is only as preoccupied and noisy as the heart is closed.

So if the mind can’t relax, we go to the body. Just like when the body is balled up in fear, we go to our mind. We always work with the opposite. When we take time to love our hearts, to be grateful for what we have and we take time to appreciate ourselves and give ourselves the compliments and encouragement we’re waiting for other people to give us, we open up our hearts once again.

Being an open-hearted spiritual being, the mind has delivered its message and can actually quiet down naturally because the mind isn’t making noise for any other reason but to open our hearts once again.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • I found the writing and the piece you chose incredibly resonating for me. In fact, I have this card that says “stop thinking” and I also have this book entitled “Comfortable with Uncertainty.” I find when I’m meditating, I make lists of things I need to do. Today I was trying to accept my brain and its worrying and also look at what I’m resisting. I still don’t have all the answers, but I do appreciate the questions that surfaced. I do love this group.

  • I love the idea that overthinking is like an alarm clock to wake me up that my heart needs to open. When I’m so engrossed in overthinking, that’s the last thing on my mind. These are uncertain times, and it’s so easy to get caught up in thinking. Most of what’s going to happen is in the future. My body is here right now always available to me. It’s a natural thing to go there, but when caught up in thinking I forget.

  • I remember doing an experiment once when my head was so caught up in the worry of everything. I made myself sing which was like trying to pulling something out which didn’t want to come out. Once I sang, it opened up my heart and I felt better.

  • A good thing to do is some sort of movement practice because that gets me out of my head and into my body. I engage my heart doing movement and dance.

  • The Matt Kahn piece is very carefully crafted. What struck me is when we meet through our hearts is when there is a connection. If we had been doing that as a country before we came to this place, we wouldn’t be in this predicament. There is a lot of thinking and labeling. If we have imagination and we feel with our hearts what the other person’s life is, there’s a way forward. It opens up compassion.

  • I keep feeling that the verb we use when we are using our brains is “I think” or “I’m thinking.” When we’re using our hearts, we say “I’m feeling.” I was just thinking and feeling that when I’m in a group, if someone says “I feel” it’s like my antennae goes up quicker than when someone says “I’m thinking.” Maybe we need to change our language. I was also thinking about the expression “drop down into your heart.” I’ve heard “Put your thinking cap on.”

  • We don’t want to get rid of our minds, our mind is important. If we drop down to our heart and then speak, do our thinking after we dropped down to the heart, let that be our education center. Then it would be better.

  • My sister always says “kiss your brain.” She teaches small kids to get them to appreciate their thinking with their hearts. I like the line, things that we label as flaws are just information that spirit is trying to give us. It’s a really nice way to look at how we treat ourselves. Trying to connect the dots to everything that happens in life is part of overthinking. I always say don’t connect the dots. In these times, I want to connect the dots, but that’s all the intellectual side. The key is to stay in the present, stay in the heart and don’t overthink things.

  • I’m asking for prayers for my relative who was admitted to the hospital. I know it’s a transition time and she’s fighting it tooth and nail. I feel like I’m going into turbulent waters again with the whole situation. I want to keep things simple and communicate from my heart. Thank you for the prayers.

  • It’s easy to start overthinking as you’re thinking about how to deal with situations that haven’t happened yet. What always helps me is when I have a difficult situation, I bring in something that represents what I want to remember like feeling centered and staying connected with my heart. An amulet like a stone or something is helpful. In meditation, set the intention of what the amulet represents and carry it with you. It’s present with you, and there to be a reminder that it represents balance or calmness. It is support for you in a difficult situation.

  • Thank you for joining us. Thank you for listening to my words and Matt Kahn’s words. I hope you all have a gentle day.

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