How to Stop Thinking Too Much and Quiet Your Mind with Proven Methods
In this article and video, you’re going to learn how to stop thinking too much using proven methods that are thousands of years old.
There is a high correlation between happiness and a quiet mind. You may know this already, but how do you quiet your mind? It can be quite tricky.
This isn’t just a “how to meditate” tutorial. There are a few time tested ways to interrupt the persistent and seemingly endless chatter and quiet your mind considerably. They don’t necessarily involve sitting in a cross legged position and all that jazz. In fact, they can be integrated into everyday life.
Smash the play button on the video below.
After that, you can do one of two things:
- Just watch, listen and learn.
2. Scroll further and follow my voice while reading the transcript.
Why are we thinking so much all the time? Why is it that we just can’t stop thinking?
In general, we are addicted to thinking. Many people who have tried to sit down and meditate find out just how tricky and elusive thoughts are. Thoughts will do anything to suck you into them and follow them to even more and more thoughts.
When you do manage to quiet the mind a little bit, your thoughts may become more appealing and irresistible. Your brain is like a spoiled child. It does not want to break long held patterns, so it will tempt you out of that process and you’ll just continue to think too much.
How do you stop thinking so much? Continually interrupt these thinking patterns.
The nature of my daily life tends to be quite cerebral. This can lead to too much thinking, and that creates a momentum. Here’s one thing that I do that really helps to break down that momentum so that I’m not thinking so much and getting lost in thought.
Whenever I walk anywhere, I tend to use a mantra (repeated word or phrase) to interrupt the stream of thought. In this case, the mantra is usually devotional because I personally find them to have a much more powerful effect. That may be fine for you, or you might respond better to secular mantras.
The mantra repeats itself silently over and over again in rhythm with the walking. It does so at a desirable melody, but monotone can work just as well.
I breathe through the nose the whole time unless I’m actually articulating the words. In that case, I’m just breathing through the nose on the inhale.
If you try this, you will likely notice a lot of chatter distracting you from the mantra. How do you stop this thinking? You don’t.
This is just a simple mindfulness meditation that is integrated into a typically mundane activity such as walking. When practicing mindfulness, you don’t stop thoughts. You make friends with them.
If you’re familiar with mindfulness, you know that it involves watching the thoughts impartially. Your thinking is not outside the present moment. Thoughts are processes happening within the present moment. Take note of the thoughts, without identifying with them, and go back to the mantra. Don’t just overpower the thoughts with the mantra.
If there’s a body sensation associated with the thought, bring your attention to that and hang with it. Do the same with tension that you do with thoughts. Let go of and release whatever you can as you go along.
You may notice that some thoughts will start to dissipate as you take note of them without following them. Others will be more “sticky”. Just keep repeating the mantra and the mindfulness practice. The momentum will build.
Speaking of momentum, you want to do things like this multiple times per day. Even if it’s only for a minute, it will go a long way toward quieting the mind and stopping it from thinking too much.
One important thing to remember: The bulk of the problem is not that you’re thinking so much. You’re getting lost in the thoughts because of attachment to these thoughts. Mindfulness loosens the grip. This loosening tends to quiet the mind in the long term.
Examples of activities you can do to Stop Thinking Too Much
Deep sincere prayer
Reading of spiritual text
Singing of spiritual songs
Brief meditations plus a longer practice that you do every day at a special time
Grounding exercises that bring your awareness back into your body (visualizations, communion with nature, Hatha Yoga)
The more you do these types of things, the less of a grip your thoughts will have on you. Make it a habit to integrate calming activities and mindfulness into daily life. Slip it into those 20 seconds inside the elevator or in the grocery line.
Interrupt the habits of mind whenever possible, and you will learn experientially how to stop thinking too much. Try it, and you’ll see that this is an excellent way to quiet your mind in the long run. Stop overthinking and enjoy life. At least you know how to heed that advice now.
Are you ready to stop thinking so much? Share your stories in the comments below. Also, please share what YOU do to quiet your mind.
Tom Von Deck is a meditation trainer, speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course. Tom specializes in making meditation much much easier for busy and non-busy people from all backgrounds and paths. He is the Mackdaddy of The Deeper Meditation Video Zone and DeeperMeditation.net.
i actually wanted to develop the strategy to do most of the things(like multi-talented) , so during this process I get used to think about different-different situations or things around me, and indirectly I have trained my mind to think about each and every thing and unable to sleep(either night or at day time) so eventually my concentration was decreased and even not able to do the things which i use to do earlier and this has become a big problem for me..
I have found ,atlast, that my concentration was decreased and decided to do concentration exercises but my mind is fully stressed out (no rest condition ) and attended the psychiatrist and result was same from the doctor(reduced concentration) and gave me some kind of sleeping tablets. but even though some days i used to overthink at night.. and the next day is a total mess…
WHAT SHOULD I DO… PLEASE HELP ME
I even tried to roam ourside .chit-chat with friends and other related stuff, but this was temperory
Thank you for the wonderful resource. I have a question about detachment that I have been struggling with for some time. My meditation is usually steady, (I have bad days like anyone else), but the concept of detachment is difficult for me to comprehend. My question is this: if you are being truly detached, what motivates you? What makes you desire to make positive changes in your career, health, etc? I can’t seem to wrap my mind around detachment – because it seems to make me apathetic. My ego and thinking mind is what motivates me to go to the gym, be creative, etc.
If you truly detached what motivates you??
It seems an age old question between the Western world of self-actualization and the Eastern one of self-realization that I cant seem to reconcile.
Thank you for any insights!1
Tom Von Deck
Non-attachment is often mistaken for indifference. They are two totally different things. The ego clings to comfortable experience and shuts out uncomfortable experience. This leads to tension, drama and problems. With non-attachment, your range of choices increases. The ego is still there, but it’s not clouded by the drama. You’re in a better position to make good decisions. The ego’s good. It keeps your heart beating. It just doesn’t have to be the master of your decisions. Your heart opens up with detachment. Decisions come from a much more spacious perspective. Indifference means that you don’t care. Meditation does not lead to indifference. Indifference means a lack of awakening, and it’s more closely associated with attachment to ego.
Tom Von Deck
Yeah. That one’s always tricky because it’s really practice that will reveal that. When thoughts come up, you take note. You can use the word “thinking” to label what’s happening. If there’s a feeling in the body associated with the thought, just observe as if you are the sky and it’s a cloud passing through you. You can leave your mantra or whatever you’re concentrating on for a few seconds or a minute to do this. Do your best to feel what’s going on. Then, if there’s an object you’re concentrating on, go back to that. Sometimes emotions will come up, like anger. Same thing. Hang out with the feeling. Let it be what it is. Maybe I’m repeating myself. With practice, you get better at it, and you also get a deeper understanding of what I said in the video. After a while it becomes easier as experiential knowledge increases.
Thanks for this article, it is great but I think that it would be a good idea to teach us how to observe own thoughts without engaging into them. I have really big problem with it. In theory I know how to do it, but in practice…
Another suggestion, could you please tell us more about inner smile?
Tom Von Deck
Also, about the inner smile: You’re picking a part of the body such as the forehead, for instance. Just as you are smiling at a friend, you are doing the same to that part of the body. You then shift the focus to different parts of the body. There is an mp3 at http://www.deepermeditation.net/oceanicmind/inner_smile.mp3