Last night I lay awake, staring at the ceiling of my bedroom with a hyperloop of worries and fears pumping through my mind. I’m generally a calm and laid-back person, but something about the sun going down seems to bring up all of my fears and anxieties. I would be willing to bet that some of you have experienced this hyperloop of thoughts as well, whether that be at night or another time of day.
Why can it be so difficult to slow down our minds?
How do we get into these thought loops, and why are we so quick to believe these ideas as if they are fact rather than what they actually are…just thoughts?
As Tara Brach, Ph.D (one of my favorite psychologists, authors, and meditation teachers) explains, “when stressed, we often react with looping fear-thoughts, feelings and behaviors that cause harm to ourselves and/or others.”
As humans, we evolved to have a bias towards the negative in order to protect ourselves and survive, but in today’s modern society our stress levels tend to be high and our fear response is on overdrive as a result. It’s easy for us to get into the habit of fear or stress-driven thought patterns, and most of the time we aren’t even aware that it’s happening.
Tara goes on to say, “When we’re living out stimulus-react looping…we’re believing something that’s not true. We’re living in a very confined reality of a separate and limited self. A reality that has us locked into a very small sense of who we are.” I know I don’t want to live in such a constricted state, and I’m sure you don’t either.
So…what can we do?