As human beings we are hard wired to continually try and interpret the world around us.
It’s how we filter and make sense of all the information our senses are gathering. Without this we would simply become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data and not be able to function at all.
But whereas this tendency to analyse and give meaning to what we are experiencing is a useful and necessary skill, it can, like anything else, become far less helpful if not used correctly!
And how do we misuse it?
Well generally when we spend much of our time trying to work out why we feel the way we do; angry, sad, irritated, frustrated, happy, suspicious, nervous …. and of course linked with all of those emotions are the physical, and sometimes health related symptoms, we experience too – an increased heart rate when we’re nervous, headaches and ‘dodgy’ digestion, for instance. Things that can, in turn, prompt more thinking about the possible meaning, what we’re doing wrong, and how the world around us, our relationships and circumstances are seemingly causing this.
But why would trying to understand our experiences be a bad thing, other than of course the negative physical effects it can have (if this isn’t bad enough!)?
There’s no denying that our natural curiosity, thirst for knowledge, and desire to learn is what has helped us develop as a species, and continues to allow us to make huge strides forward.
Problems arise, however, when we attempt to find a meaning for those things that just naturally occur and don’t really have much meaning. All those emotions mentioned above, for example, which, despite what it may seem, are not telling us anything useful about our world, current situation, health or anything else we may think they do, but are just a normal flow of energy.
So what to do? Should you try and stop having those thoughts and emotions?
Well you can certainly try but I think you’ll soon find that it’s much easier said than done, and just as you think you have your thoughts nicely marshalled I can guarantee that a rouge one will pop up out of nowhere!
What may be easier is to try the ‘More Full Stops’ method.
Next time you feel angry, sad, irritated or any of the symptoms related to this then instead of following the usual line of thinking “I feel anxious so have a headache and that must be because…..”, simply replace the ‘because’ with a ‘full stop’ – “I feel anxious and have a headache” full stop!
But how can that possibly help I hear you say,
after all, surely if we don’t question our feelings and symptoms then we’ll never do anything about them and things won’t improve.
But therein lies the secret! It turns out that the less we actively think about what’s going on, the quieter our thinking becomes and the more likely it is that you can hear the quiet voice of common sense, intuition, inner knowing, whatever you like to call it, that I talk so much about. It’s that which will tell you what to do, not all of that excited and noisy chatter!
And the added bonus?
Quieter thinking leads to a calmer and therefore far more effective immune response, which is much healthier for you and may just enable the body to actually sort out its own problems, just as it’s designed to do.
So is it time you had more Full Stops in your life? It certainly isn’t an approach that you hear much with regards to better health but given how important and effective it is perhaps it should be!