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How do you deal with a mind that never stands still?

From nature, I have a very active mind.

Sometimes it is a constant stream of ideas. For hours I can be in my own world, absorbed in my thoughts, ideas, projects, plans, thinking, and inventing… and enjoy it.

Now at my forties, I see that there have always been 2 sides of this coin.

On one hand, this active mind has been a great gift

I love how quickly I can think out and outline certain concepts, see what needs to be done to get there.

And because of this active mind, I understand and solve certain problems faster and I can switch quickly between them.

And again and again, I have seen how easily the amount of my thoughts and ideas can become overwhelming, turning it almost into a curse.

Feeling stuck and as if I am chasing after my own tail.

Thinking about possible consequences in the (distant) future, focusing on what can go wrong and why it may not make sense.

Ending up so busy thinking in and about the future that I forget to be in the here and now and enjoy what is in the moment.

Over the years I have built a better relationship with my thinking and developed new habits to get in charge of my mind.

This brought me a lot of rest and I found a better balance in being in the here and now.

As a quick thinker, you can sometimes lose control of your own thoughts because of the number of thoughts and the speed with which they follow up. tools that help me to quickly go back to the sweet spot again.

Have an active mind too? What can you do?

Whenever you notice that it starts spinning your head, take the time to stop for a while.

As a quick thinker, you can sometimes lose control of your own thoughts because of the amount and the speed of thoughts with which they follow up.

Be aware that when it is busy times and you are busy in your head that it feels contradictory to stand still, which is why it is so important that you do it.

To get and stay in charge of your mind you need to:

  • Build habits to calm and empty your mind on a regular basis

(e.g. Journaling & Meditation)

  • Build a system to effectively manage your mind, as well as its contents

(e.g. GTD)


1- Meditation

Meditation helps to create a stable base.

By taking the time every day to be still, and then looking with friendly curiosity at what is going on in your head, you can work on raising awareness on how your mind and thoughts works.

Meditating does have a learning process and doing it once does not contribute much. The results will only show if you continue to do it structurally. Like building muscles.

During meditation,- as the observer of your thoughts-, you work on a better relationship with your thinking.

So the more you practice, the less likely you get stuck in your thinking.

Just know that there are many different forms of meditation, so don't be too quick with the thought 'Meditating, that's not for me'. If you find it difficult to sit still, try a walking meditation, for example. Try different things and decide what you like.


2- Journaling

Journaling is simply writing down your thoughts & feelings. It is a way to track everyday life. Figuring out the patterns in our thoughts and emotions, what makes us tick and happy or upset.

The practice of journaling has been known to promote a clear mind, connect with deep emotions, spark creativity, and heal your physical and energetic body.

There are not any rules although your journaling will be most effective if you do it daily for about 20 minutes.

My favorite way is starting with doing a brain dump, this means that I write down everything that I am thinking about at that moment and continue with the natural flow of other thoughts following it, writing for 20 minutes.


3- GTD

Getting Things Done (GTD) is a personal productivity methodology that redefines how you approach your life and work.

As a 10+ years practitioner, I can easily say that GTD has changed the way I use my -active- mind.

Knowing that I have a system that works and I can rely on, no matter what is happening in life or in my mind, I always have a feeling of power.

On a regular basis, I collect the contents of my mind, process and make sense of it, instead getting in a loophole.

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