You have probably sometimes wondered how you could think that thought you just thought. And praised some higher power because it is not visible on the outside what you think. Everyone has them. The strange thoughts. They rarely mean much. You ARE not your thoughts. You HAVE thoughts. And they are often the result of the stimulus the brain receives from outside sources.
You ARE not your thoughts
But if you are not your thoughts, then who are you?
The only way to find out is to examine what happens when the thoughts calm down. But it can be quite challenging to just stop thinking if you are used to thinking your way to solutions. Because if the thoughts are to calm down, it is not about doing anything. It’s about relaxing and letting go of control.
The most effective way to become friends with that stuff that is spinning around in your head is to start meditating. But isn’t that very difficult and very boring? Some think so. Personally, I love it! But even if you actually want to, it can feel almost insurmountable at first. I also think it is better to take it a little step by step than to demand of yourself that it should work immediately. Otherwise, it can be a bit like trying to stop a car driving at full speed on a motorway. It gets worse than it was before.
So if it feels far away to sit still without doing anything at all for a long time, you can instead start a little bit by simply doing things that make you relax. It’s not only easier, it’s smarter too. But you need to choose an activity that does not mean that you get a lot of input from an outside source.
Reduce the number of things that want your attention
What tires the brain and us the most is when we are bombarded with impressions from several different sources without being able to choose for ourselves what it is we want to take in. But many times it is also ourselves who expose ourselves to it by watching news, TV shows with associated advertising, scrolling through social media and so on. So the first thing you need to do when unwinding is turn off all that for a while; TV, radio, podcasts, notices and sounds in your mobile phone, audiobooks, music. If you absolutely want music – put on something instrumental so you do not have to listen to and react to what is being sung.
Then consider whether you can try some activity that requires your full focus. Crochet, build or bake something that is fussy, replant flowers, solve crossword puzzles, clean the cutlery box. Anything that feels at least a little bit interesteing to you. You don’t have to love it. Just give it a try.
Take command and do something
It is clearly more satisfying to actually do something than to just pass the time unplanned by switching between being entertained by different media. Media that is rarely just entertaining. More often than not, they also provoke reactions that doesn’t make us feel good. If you instead direct your focus to a single thing and do something that you are interested in and think is fun, the chances are high that you will also get new ideas and think new thoughts instead of getting stuck in an automatic loop. For the best ideas seldom come when we try to force them out in desperation. As little as we can force desire and joy. It comes to us when we relax and land in the space between our ordinary thoughts.