Written by grace deunk
Does the human mind ever really 'turn off'? Seems I'm always thinking about something! For a period of time, I made it my mission to actually examine the things I think about.
I quickly learned that becoming aware of and 'monitoring' thoughts can be difficult and elusive. When I did succeed however, I learned some valuable things. For example, re-thinking negative experiences only takes a second and can easily become a mental habit while driving to work, waiting for an appointment, or doing the laundry. I've also noticed that these thoughts quickly lead to experiencing difficult emotions almost as poignantly as the first time and, unlike my thoughts, emotions take more than a moment to dissipate!
Then there is my pattern of 'speculative' thinking. In a matter of moments I can speculate on what the future might hold, the well-being of loved ones, others perceptions of myself, possible motives for the words and behaviours of others, my own abilities, and the wisdom or possible outcomes of all my actions and decisions.
The more I speculate, the more anxious I become. I've noticed that, similar to negative emotions, once I've forgotten the actual thoughts, the anxiety remains.
Seems my thoughts are similar to the Alberta weather; intrusive, volatile, and beyond my control. But then again, I once heard a great thinker say "Don't believe everything you think"…..now, there's something to think about.