You’re reading Meditation Isn’t the Answer to Overthinking, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.
You’ve been meditating daily for the last week, month, or maybe even years. In moments it’s blissful, in others it can be frustrating. Thoughts come and go – but you’re now more aware of them.
But not too long afterwards a meditation, your mind can go back to its habitual patterns of thinking, churning negative thoughts in different periods of the day.
Over time, I’ve come to learn that meditation, while incredibly therapeutic, isn’t always the answer to overthinking.
Why we overthink and what we can do about it
Meditation brings awareness into your being and your thoughts. Done consistently, it allows you to begin to understand how your mind works. But there’s an issue that lies behind most of overthinking that isn’t tied to meditation.
It’s tied to the way you breathe.
When you only breathe from the neck up, you’re likelier to stay stuck in your head. When you breathe through your body, as you feel your belly rising with you; it’s far easier to be grounded.
If you were to change the way you breathe, you would change every single living moment of your life. Let that sink in for a moment…Simple reminders to deepen your breathing can help. But for many of us, our muscles around our neck are so tight that this alone won’t work.
You’ve been conditioned not to breathe properly
So many things in our society perpetuate a castrated way of breathing. From the ties we wear, to the belts we tighten every Monday-Friday, to the monitor displays that force us to bend our necks down, to texting on our phones – most of our activities are training us to not breathe properly!
You may also not be breathing properly because:
- You sit down too much
- You have poor air quality in the house
- You do far too many pushing exercises and not enough pulling movements at the gym
- You have an allergy you haven’t addressed
- You eat high sugar foods which increase your anxiety and shorten your breathing
Express more of your thoughts
The deeper you breathe, the more of life you let in. Surprisingly, what could also be holding you back from breathing fully is not speaking enough.
I remember months going by where I read so many books and had all these ideas swirling in my head which I didn’t share with anyone. The result was that my mind felt castrated, and my breathing patterns deteriorated as a result. I remember weeks going by where all I was doing was working, not seeing any friends. I now realize how important it is to engage in heartfelt conversations with people – for my humanity, sanity, and breathing.
Any sense of social isolation can quickly make part of us feel like we’re rattling in our cage, which then inhibits our breathing. Express yourself as often as your heart permits, through your friendships, your career, and even a journal.
“The more you overthink the less you will understand.” – Habeeb Akande
It’s far harder to take your thoughts too seriously when you’re breathing deeply – almost as if everything on your mind takes a back seat. I’ve certainly not reached that place permanently, but the idea here isn’t to seek perfection in our breathing patterns, but to merely make small gradual improvements over time.
Begin a Yoga or Pilates Weekly Class
There’s a reason why Yoga, Pilates, and other stretching classes are becoming more and popular. They essentially melt away our rigidities, allowing us to breathe deeper and feel more alive.
All our muscular tensions are symbiotically connected to our minds, and the more we lengthen, stretch, and relax our muscles, the more we can breathe with depth and vibrancy. The day I started stretching on a daily basis, was the day my mind became a lot more relaxed throughout the day.
I didn’t even start with a class – even stretching my hamstrings and chest for fifteen mins every morning created an unbelievable difference in the way I breathed – and that’s what I highly recommend at the start.
If you still get stuck overthinking
Remind yourself to breathe deeply by focusing on your belly button rising and falling. And if you ever find yourself lost in a tangle of thoughts, refer to this quote:
“You will have bad thoughts. The key is never to fight them. They are your friends. Accept them just like a loving parent would to their misbehaving child and let go so you can breathe deeply. Treat your mind with love, and love will flow and emanate from you, one breath at a time.”
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You’ve read Meditation Isn’t the Answer to Overthinking, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.