Have you ever stopped to consider how much of the stress in our lives is self-generated?
Our minds are marvelous for making meaning and order, but they can also get in the way of living in the present. That voice in our head is constantly telling us stories, interpreting, judging, and more often than not failing to see things as they are.
It can be useful at times to detach ourselves from our thoughts. Meditation teaches us to let thoughts arise and then let those thoughts go, as though our thoughts are passing cars and we are comfortably seated on a bench.
Directing our attention to the physical world can also ground us, and turn down the volume on that ever-prattling internal voice. Focusing on one simple task at a time– the feel of our body in motion, as in exercise for example– is a powerful way to “come to the surface” of the world.
Learning to accept things is a crucial art. We can spend inordinate amounts of energy turning over the past and worrying the future. So seldom it seems do we find contentment within the present moment. Acceptance does not mean we surrender our preferences or abandon hope for change, but it does mean recognizing conditions which are simply part of our fate for the present moment.
Now and again, step back and give yourself a respite from the ceaseless mind. Recognize when you might be overthinking it.