When does thinking become overthinking? By Matt Halfin

Too many lightbulb momentsMost of us who overthink know from the reaction of our friends and family that there are certain areas of life we take more seriously than other people, but when does thinking become over-thinking?

For me overthinking is when we inhibit the natural flow of life, tying ourselves (and often others) up in mental knots trying to work out The Answer, trying to anticipate any potential outcome, and basically not being able to see the wood for the trees. We of course do this in all innocence and with the best possible intentions – to make good decisions and minimise the risk of things happening to us that we think we might not like. Continue reading

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Contemplations on Make Up and Money

make up and moneyThanks  to Lian Brook-Tyler who kindly originally published this article as ‘What A Fabulous Lipstick Taught Me About Happinness’ on the Born Happy website in August this year.

A few months ago I happened to be in Primrose Hill and feeling indulgent popped into Space NK tried on some green lipstick that enhanced your natural lip colour. To me it felt fabulous, but as I felt it was frivolous to spend money on something I didn’t need, decided not to buy it.

A month or so later I happened to be going to St Johns Wood on a course so I had two days to myself without the kids in tow (Yippee!). The lipstick had been on my mind, and since I knew there was a Space NK there too, I thought I’d treat myself to it. But that morning I went to withdraw money and there was none left in my account. Since I didn’t want to check it from my phone I realised I’d have to wait until I got home to see what had happened. I decided not to let it dominate my day and just enjoy my course which I did. (This was a huge achievement for me because in the past I would have obsessed about it all day and not been able to concentrate on anything else.)

At the end of the day I thought I’d try the lipstick on again anyway just in case my bank statement was wrong, so I did and I liked it. Then the sales assistant showed me a similar type of lipstick that was more expensive and had more ‘benefits’. I liked this one even more! I thought if I could wear this when I did my talk at Tikun that was being screened live, the lipstick would make me glow and I would feel fabulous!

Trouble was my bank statement turned out to be correct, so I couldn’t buy it even though it was really tempting. Then I thought: ‘Well, I’ll use this as an incentive to get clients and earn money so I can spend money on frivolous things like lipstick.” and got into very determined thinking. This led to more thinking about money and not having enough and not earning enough and not contributing enough!

What a lot of thinking I got into just from trying out a lipstick!

The funny thing is as people know me know, I’m not big into make-up. I see it as a treat and wear it sparingly except for on special occasions. Even thinking about make-up, gets me into lots of thinking about it! For instance, I was kindly given a voucher for my 40th birthday and I spent it on expensive make-up and sometimes when I look at it I feel bad cos even though I like, it I’m sure I could get similar products that were the same at a fraction of the price.

On reflection we buy into make-up and into conversations about needing things because we think it will make us feel good.

I didn’t have the special lipstick on when I did my talk at Tikun that’s now been watched by over 170 people. You can watch it here (start it at 2:00:54 as it’s unedited) and I felt fabulous and glowing and I know that wasn’t from the make-up… it came from inside.

My thinking about money and perceived lack of it was just that – thinking about money. Once I saw that all the obsessing and striving was coming from me and getting me no-where fast it naturally dropped away. My situation hasn’t changed. I have what I need and my family has what we need and that’s all that counts. If we didn’t I trust that I’d know what to do ensure that we did. So my circumstances are still the same but I don’t see money, or a perceived lack of it as a problem any-more. Nothing has changed… just my perspective.

That’s how life is, if you focus on something as a problem be it money, your job etc it becomes a problem until it doesn’t.

Now I guess I’m onto the next thing – lack of time anyone?!? Tee Hee.

If you have enjoyed this and want to know more, feel free to get in touch and I’m happy to offer you a half hour introductory Skype call at no cost. If you want to meet in person join our growing band of overthinkers at Overthinkers Anonymous. We will meeting up on Wednesday 16 September in Queens Park where we will be discussing ‘If it’s really true that there is too much to do and too little time to do it’ , it would be lovely to see you there.

Also if you or anyone you know have recently had a baby and want a chance to let off steam and get support from other mums as well as learn something that will help them deal with life with a baby then join me for our next NapChat on Thursday 17 September. To find out more click here.

Contemplating Reality – Lessons From Sick Days Off School

Contemplating Reality - Lesson from sick days off schoolMy 3 year old was off school with a bug last week. It started with him throwing up in the middle of the night so we kept him home a day. Then he was well again so we sent him back to school but they sent him straight back because he had a temperature. That afternoon he was lively as anything. The day after he was very weak and lay on the sofa feeling really poorly. – To the degree that if the slightest thing went wrong – like the milk evaporated into his Weetabix in the wrong way I was in trouble! Meanwhile the baby now 10 months was in classic maniac mode – cruising round our living room like a mountaineer discovering new terrain without a safety harness. – So lots of tears there too!

Even though this lasted only a few days I really got a new appreciation for what Syd Banks could have meant when he said “The brain acts like a computer. Whatever you put into it is all you get out.“* I noticed I would go into the kitchen to ‘do something/take a breather/have a sneaky bit of chocolate’ and I would start to think about being desperate to get out of the house so I would feel claustrophobic.  Then I would be in the living room with the kids and I would start to think about all the work I had to do to get the questionnaire I was creating about ‘the emotional support available to parents of babies’ done and I would start to have feelings of impatience and stress. I would then not buy into these and they would pass naturally and then I’d be back with the children seeing how cute they were and feeling love and compassion again. Continue reading