I’m a overthinker. I always overthink in every situation. My mind is always disturbed by this overthinking. Nowadays I’m not able to sleep properly either, from this overthinking. Please suggest to me what to do.
Hi Alllyyyy –
I have to admit, to us dogs’ eyes, all you humans overthink all the time! That’s one of the biggest differences between us.
But maybe it’s better to say, you guys think way too much about the wrong things! See, we dogs don’t have a big sense of the past or future, not nearly as much as you with your gigantic brains. We stay centered in the moment.
Just as an example, imagine someone gives you a big piece of pizza. Your mind is going to go ten directions at once: “Wow, I love pizza! Yum!” “Why did they give it to me? Do I trust them to not be drugging or poisoning me with it?” “If I don’t eat that now, they’ll take it away and I’ll never get it!” “If I eat it, I’ll gain weight.” “I wonder if this is as good as the pizza I had at that place on Main Street I loved so much. I wonder if they’re still in business. I need to find out. Maybe if so, I can go there next week. But who would I take? Maybe that new coworker who’s so cute? But I don’t know if I’m good enough for…”
Now, do you know where our minds go? “YUM!” And it’s gone! No more thinking, no more questions!
Now does that mean it’s easier to sneak a drug into our food than yours? Sure! That’s how Handsome gives me my supplements every day (but don’t tell him I’m onto him please)! But yes, that also means it’s easier to hurt us than you. And also, our way of thinking would never get us a date with that new coworker, or even finding out if that pizzeria is still around.
So your thinking has a lot of strengths, and there’s no reason to try to stop them. Most of the time!
But sometimes, you do need to just give it a rest. To live in the present, to center yourself in your body, to empty your brain of all…
Is this sounding like something familiar to you?
Yes, my friend, I’m going to recommend you try meditating. I’m not pushing any religious or spiritual agenda on you, but if you can spend even two minutes every morning just closing your eyes, sitting still, and focusing on your breathing, that’ll be great. If thoughts come to you, let them be there and go, and refocus on breathing in and out. And if you have a little more time, try shifting your focus to what you’re seeing (I know your eyes are closed, but what designs or light do you see while there?), smelling, tasting, hearing, and touching. And with each, putting your attention fully onto that sense.
See what you’ll have done? You’ll have stopped those thinking wheels in your brain for just a few minutes. And worked to build your brain’s “muscle” of being in the moment, focusing on just what’s there.
The strength you’ll develop from this won’t be that you get stupid or thoughtless. Rather, it’ll be that you can direct your focus away from “overthinking” when that helps you. To slow down panicky worrying, to stop yourself from ruminating over useless questions (which, in my experience of people, usually begin with “Does he/she like me? What did he/she mean when…”)!!
Doing this won’t solve everything, but it will definitely help. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
And if that works, maybe you’ll learn our incredible ability to block out all thoughts but one for hours on end, usually involving staring at a tree and waiting for a squirrel to walk back down it! Now that is a glorious mental skill!
All my best,