Let’s just get this out of the way…What a crazy world!
Am I right?
So much to get bogged down in, especially in this unprecedented time. It feels like it’s been going on FOREVER. It’s easy to get caught in the trap of overthinking things.
We crave a fresh start, a new chapter. But, until all those that choose to get the vaccine (yes, please!) have that opportunity, this is our current ‘normal’. As all things do, this will pass and our world will open back up to us. In the meantime, what do we have control over? What can we change in our lives to feel like we get to decide when that next chapter starts?
Well, the answer walks around with us all the time. It’s sitting right on top of our necks, actually. lol We can change our minds. Our perspectives.
This past year, I grappled with this too. Over and over again, thoughts swarmed around in my head like insects. My brain really enjoyed doing this in the middle of the night, when I wasn’t distracted by anything else. Clearly, my madness wanted my full attention.
This had to stop. This thought carousel on steroids had to be tamed. But how? (Don’t start, brain…)
A situation came up in my work that shone a bright light on the need to change up my approach a bit when it comes to the different puzzles of life.
A software issue, that was assumed to be incredibly difficult and time-consuming to figure out, ended up being the simplest of things to solve. Just a couple of clicks. We all sat there looking at each other, in relative shock. That was it? No drama?
We all went into that situation with assumptions that were plainly incorrect and without realizing it, we were trying to make the solution to the problem fit our pre-conceived notions about it.
This is what I mean by changing our perspectives…
We’ve all been through all lot this past year, that’s a given. Some of us have actually adapted to the stress to the point that stress is what we now expect, going forward. Pre-conceived expectations of stress and anxiety are natural when that’s basically all we’ve experienced for so long.
If this is you, as it was me, I can tell you that being aware of this phenomenon within yourself is the first step toward recognizing an easier puzzle when life presents one.
So, let’s take that first step together…
OVERTHINKING THINGS - THE PUZZLE
It seems, the world we live in has become so complex, that we’ve found ourselves (as in the above example) subconsciously adapting our thinking, over the years, to address everything that comes up in a much more complex way to meet it.
On the surface, this kind of development might appear to make sense. Yet, when you look at each individual situation that comes up in daily life…only a handful of them are actually worthy of us “overthinking” them. Most turn out to be really quite simple.
This adjustment has evidently shifted from being a seemingly necessary, environmental adaptation in how we think, to quite frankly…a bad habit.
Have we, as a society, really lost the ability to discern between a complex puzzle and a simple one?
We are constantly bombarded by puzzles to be solved, on a daily basis. That’s just life. Yet recently, (especially in the last couple of years or so) we’ve been presented with issues, on a global scale, that truly require immediate sorting out. We are reminded of these issues constantly, very rarely being allowed a break to just breathe and refresh ourselves. Naturally, stress and frustration ensue.
THE SOLUTION - FINDING CLARITY FROM OVERTHINKING THINGS
For me, I realize that a much more efficient behavioral adaptation is available and necessary just for my own sanity. Being self-aware and present in each moment allows us to take off the blinders of negative emotion, so we can see more clearly. The second step is to allow calm and clarity to be your starting point. (The stress we’ve become accustomed to is not a protective barrier, so it’s safe to let it down sometimes.)
From this new frame of mind can come simple and rational reactions to each individual puzzle that is handed to us. Your mind will be free to ask the question, “In actuality, is this a complex problem or a simple one?” Once determined, you can then get on with working through the puzzle without imposing any unnecessary stress or frustration on yourself.
Once this new “habit” is adopted and utilized for a fair amount of time, I believe that the world will begin to feel far less complex and the puzzles of life will feel far more manageable and solvable than they do now. They will begin to feel lighter and more easily carried.
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