Brain Overload: When Thinking Becomes Overwhelming
Do you suffer from constant thinking and a compulsion to problem solve? Do you wish you could turn the noise off in your head but struggle to relax and feel calm? Are you drawn to intensity, a crammed schedule and keeping yourself busy? Does your “to do” list run through your head all of the time?
If this sounds familiar, you are probably also very intelligent, can focus easily and enjoy being productive. You can likely juggle many tasks at the same time and derive personal satisfaction from seeing the results you produce in the world. Having a sharp and focused mind is often a pathway to achieving much success in life.
But what happens when all of this thinking and mental chatter becomes too much and overwhelms the system? It can feel crushing and often leads to burn out. The saying “burning the candle at both ends” is applicable here. When incessant thinking and doing becomes too intense, the body will send clear signals that it no longer can keep up.
Things like acid reflux, loose stools, chronic headaches, inflammation, hemorrhoids, infections, red skin conditions, a sharp tongue and hurtful words are ways an overactive mind can show up in the body.
The most effective way to reduce an overactive mind is to sit in silence. Finding even 1 minute of stillness will slowly start to pave the way for this practice to expand. I recommend box breath for beginner meditators. Starting with just 30 seconds to 1 minute.
And if meditation does not feel like a good fit, here are a list of other ideas to start to quiet an overactive mind:
Place your hand over your belly (in the diaphragm area) and breathe deeply in and out, three times.
Take a deep breath and hold it. When you are ready to release it, slowly blow out from your mouth through pursed lips – as though you are blowing through a straw
Keep your body cool and do not allow yourself to overheat; intentionally stay away from hot sun – this will only aggravate an overactive mind
Take a 1-minute cold shower
Lie on a blanket and stare up at the sky in a shaded area