Don’t you just hate it when you can’t stop thinking about something; when your mind is just going round in a loop, repeating the same thing again and again?
It’s incredibly frustrating and it can be mentally debilitating because all of your energy is taken up by it. Hours can slip by while you are drifting off in your own head, trying to understand something that happened – particularly if that something was an event that came highly charged with emotion.
This need for understanding comes about both because of the confusion that surrounded the initial event, and the manner in which you reacted. You crave a resolution and a return to inner peace and it is this that contributes to the repetitive nature of your thoughts.
The problem you may face, however, is that you cannot always think yourself to a place of peace. No matter how many times you go over what happened, your thoughts may not, by themselves, be enough for you to put something to rest.
Your emotional side also needs to come to terms with what happened and this often takes a little while longer. Until it does, your thinking mind will never be able to rationalize its way out of the loop you’re stuck in.
So, what’s the answer then? How can you set your thoughts aside and get on with life and leave your emotions to bubble away in the unconscious?
One very effective way is to forcibly turn your attention to a specific task – one that you cannot achieve on autopilot. If you choose a task that requires a high level of concentration, the only way that you can complete it is by surrendering your mental energy and capacity over to it.
Thus, by forcing yourself into a situation where your focused attention is required, you should be able to silence the repetitive inner monologue that currently fills your mind.
Of course, this technique is not guaranteed to work straight away; thoughts have a knack for working their way back into your consciousness. When this happens – and it’s almost always a when and not an if – you will have to bring your awareness back to the task and redouble your attention.
It might even require you to make an exaggerated effort to focus, by zeroing in on every little detail, every little thought, and every little movement of your body that is required. Slowing down often helps you to do this as it interrupts your brain’s usual flow and forces you to think about each step you take.
The thing to remember is that whatever you choose to do, it has to be something where serious attention is required. You can’t just go for a walk or watch TV because these things can be done without much conscious thought. If you don’t find it at least a little bit challenging, it won’t be able to completely fill your mind. The more complicated it is, the more effectively it will block out your recurring thought patterns.
Eventually you should find that your mind has distanced itself from the initial event that caused the looping thoughts. And, as if by magic, once your mind has stopped thinking about it, your heart is able to process your emotions more rapidly. You see, when your mind is obsessing on a particular thought, it only serves to reactivate those emotions you had in the first place.
In other words, there is one loop in your thought process, but there is another running between your mind and your heart. You can’t simply stop thinking about the issue while your emotions are still running high, and your emotions can’t dissipate while the same thoughts keep going around and around.
It’s a bind that takes a great deal of effort and determination to break, but one that can be weakened to the point of breaking by forcing your full attention onto something else entirely.
So, next time you get a thought in your head which just seems to be stuck on repeat, give the technique above a go and you might be surprised how quickly your mind settles back into its normal rhythm.
Do you suffer from this problem a lot, and if so, are you willing to give this method a go? Let us know by leaving a comment below.