Do you think too much?

Do you think too much? I was reading something the other day by a man called David Samuel.  He said that said “Life really is quite simple if you don’t overcomplicate it with analysing”.  David’s Website  Do you overthink?  It is easy to fall into doing this!

The great founder of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), the late Dr Albert Ellis also says it is not the ‘thing’ that happens to us that hurts us, but our attitudes TO that thing – be it a random happening (someone rude to us) or even physical pain. Pain can be very sharp, or if we are preoccupied and relaxed can be felt less … This is our moment of choice and all of us have it. Dr. Albert Ellis maintains that we cause our own discomfort by the way we process things in our own minds. He says that we “construct” the world by the sentences that we repeat to ourselves in our minds. The logical follow on from this is that if we do cause the problem, we too can alter it. WHAT exactly, were you saying to yourself just BEFORE you felt bad last time, or should I say, just before you made yourself feel bad?

  1. Start to think of the words you use inside your head.  This will be a set of sentences packed fairly tightly together.  When you have isolated your sentences, start to write them out.
  2. Some of the sentences will be reasonable and logical enough. Others, though, will be emotion-laden e.g.-

“I can’t stand this”

“This is awful”

“It makes me feel terrible when I ….”

Keep the logical sentences.  Challenge yourself with your use of the other ones.  You need to convince yourself of the illogical nature of what you are saying, and keep gently challenging yourself. We say, “I can’t stand it “, when this is a nonsensical phrase.  The “it” in, “I can’t stand it” implies that “it” has landed upon us from another planet or somewhere, and does not acknowledge the fact that we have personal control over our feelings.  Of course you can stand the feeling you have given yourself.  In reality you’ve probably done so many times before without the situation finishing you off.  Having said this, acknowledging your feeling of discomfort is perfectly acceptable and in itself brings a sense of relief. If the bad feeling you have given yourself appears to have come from someone else’s action or what they have said to you, think for a minute.  What did the other person intend?  Did they intend to hurt you very much?  I would put it to you that it is YOUR perception of what YOU think that THEY think about you that is causing the discomfort.  Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones will break your bones but words can never hurt you”.

I remember an old friend Jane, who’s sea-loving husband had built a boat.  He invited her t0 sail to France with her and 8 pals … (big boat!). She accepted but as night fell she was most upset as 9 men snored (all at different rates) very loudly.  She went up on deck and sat quietly thinking what to do.  The only thing she could think to do was to tell herself   that the snoring was comforting and after 20 minutes or so went back below decks – AND SLEPT!  She would back up Albert Ellis’ theory absolutely!

There are meditations, and ways of changing perception in “Peace of Mind – Pathways to Successful Living”.  Download Chapter 1 free now!

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