Simple Ways To Deal With A Mind In Overdrive

As I’ve simplified my life, I’ve noticed that my mind’s tendency toward spiraling out of control has mostly eased away, leaving me with a brain that’s much more functional than it once was.

Have you noticed a similar mental benefit from turning toward the simple life?

For most of my life, my mind seemed to be in overdrive. My thoughts were always spiraling out of control in one way or another. Whether it was a downward spiral of depression because of a small misstep, an upward spiral of excitement about a project that I never bothered to complete or unceasing planning and rehashing rampantly running through my mind as I prepared for sleep, my mind wouldn’t leave me alone.

Now, my thoughts and I get along well most of the time. The spirals and lapses of control are exceptions rather than the rule.

Shifting deliberately toward a simpler life has made a major difference in my thought processes, and that’s making a major difference in the quality of my life.

I’ve also learned some coping mechanisms that help me deal with my overactive thoughts.

Based on my experience rather than any psychology textbook or any psycho-babble espoused by a self-proclaimed guru, these three methods help me get through those days when my simple lifestyle choices aren’t enough to keep my thoughts from running away with me.

1. Appease it.

One of the simplest ways to deal with a mind in overdrive is to put it to rest.

If it’s a concern about an unlocked door or an electronic payment that might have cleared before the money to pay it arrived, the simplest way to get the worry off my mind is to feed in some accurate information.

That is, I give in and give my brain exactly what it wants. That means checking the bank balance or going back to be sure a door is locked even if I’m miles from home.

Maybe it’s not the most enlightened or intelligent way of dealing with a problem, but it works. And that’s what matters. When my mind won’t budge from a particular line of thought, it will often accept nothing less than being proven right — or wrong.

2. Meditate it away.

Chanting, praying or thinking problems through to their conclusions clears the head.

Meditation is an often-misunderstood term. In its simplest form, meditation is simply thinking about a problem until the thought processes related to the situation are complete.

For me, however, it’s a spiritual exercise of letting go and turning the problem over to God/the universe/whatever.

If you don’t know how to meditate, try taking deep breaths and letting your mind go blank — or say a prayer to whatever higher powers you learned about as a child. Those powers are still listening even if you haven’t called to them in years.

You can successfully meditate today even if you’ve never done it before.

3. Accept the worst case scenario.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? If you can make peace with whatever that might be, you’ll be okay.

Thinking about worst case scenarios may be bad advice from both a spiritual and a psychological standpoint, but it has help me calm my mind more than once. If I can see a way forward even if the worst possible thing happens, I know I can deal with whatever smaller calamity is more likely to result if things go wrong.

I know it’s better to focus on happy and good thoughts, but examining the worst case scenario can be helpful. These days, I most often plan for the best rather than the worst, but I know this tool is still available to me when I need it.

What About You?

Can you relate? Does your mind sometimes run out of control, spiral up and down and take you along for journeys on which you’d rather not go? If so, how do you cope? And does living a simple, deliberate life help you?

If you can’t relate to this post or don’t understand what I’m talking about, good for you. You’ve either conquered the out-of-control mind or never had the problem in the first place. I could worry about why my mind sometimes leads me to dark places when some minds never do that, but I don’t think I will.

It doesn’t seem like a very simple or deliberate way to use my time.

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    1. Maturing probably has something to do with it too. Of course, simplifying is part of maturing for me. I’m not sure one could have happened without the other…

  1. Thinking through to the worst case scenario has helped me many times. It’s usually not nearly as bad as the unthought scenario made me feel it might be.
    Linda Sand recently posted 10,000 Steps

    1. I’ve found that to be true also. The advice is usually to not think about bad things, but I find comfort in accepting all possible outcomes. Thanks for commenting, Linda.

  2. this topic interests me. my mind is almost always in overdrive. it yammers on endlessly about nothing in particular and everything in general. clips from recent broadcasts I’ve listened to, phrases from phone conversations, snatches of songs blah blah blah. mantras and chanting help some. I find it best to ignore it as much as possible. works better than trying to quiet it.

  3. I would like to put a few questions toward you. I used to be a hyper person
    whose mind raced a mile a minute. In that frame of mind, I was energetic and competitive.

    Now as a calmer person who has simplified her life, when I approch prosepctive employers, I am seen as less competitive since usually the employer is a manic person going in 101 different directions and I am calm, receptive, and focused.

    While I am able to focus on one thing at a time and see projects through to fruition, even making them better than I did as a manic person, those who are in the rat race often judge their more enlightened brethren as slow, unmotivated, etc.

    For example, my interviewer waxed on for over an hour about the job. I responded to her questions in a concise, focused way but felt dismissed as uncompetitive since I couldn’t match her caffinated manic energy.

    Do you know what I’m talking about …if so, any suggestions? Thanks so much….

    Are you seen as less competitive as a calmer, zen person..and how do OTHERS react to you…do you lose out on job opportunities since you are no longer exuding manic, indiscriminate energy that will take on anything as opposed to being focused and discerning in your approach?

    1. I don’t think it’s helpful to be concerned about how others perceive you. If the person you interviewed with was as manic as you say, you couldn’t have worked with her anyway. If the interviewer is a different sort of person, there’s nothing you can do about that.

      A truly zen attitude would be to release all attachment to outcomes and just be who you are today. Enough good things will come your way to satisfy your needs.

      I think people have always found me distant and a bit out of touch with reality, and I sort of like it that way.


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