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Anxiety: The Thinking Trap

Life can be so terribly complicated;

with so many rules to follow and so many mandatory things to do in order to live in modern day society.

The western world ‘luxuries’ like cars, a home, phones, clothing, make-up and even having a social life, can all just end up being one gigantic burden sitting on your shoulders, yet they are all extremely necessary to survive in our western world.

The world with too much to think about

The issue that I see is that there is just so much to think about; so many things to look after and to keep paperwork on, so many passwords to remember and all of this pressure to be perfect and successful and tall and thin and muscular and manly. On top of all of this, you need to exercise regularly and eat healthy and go to your GP regularly and Doctor Google says that from your latest symptoms you are terminally ill and have 5 minutes to live!

Just writing that sent my blood pressure through the roof. What you just read, describes a little thing that I call, ‘the thinking trap’.

“If you are good at finding problems I the world, you will always find something to worry about.”

What is the thinking trap?

 Zen Buddhism refers to the thinking trap as Monkey Mind; your mind is filled with drunken monkey’s chattering non-stop and uncontrollably. This ancient metaphor refers to the reality that our minds are constantly in motion, maybe you recognise some of these points:

  • Constantly listing off things to-do
  • Remembering and replaying hurtful things that have happened to you
  • Listing off fears – both imaginary and real
  • Imagining disastrous ‘what-if’ scenarios
  • Always judging and picking apart the present moment

This can all become a little too much on your poor soul

If you’re anything like me, I was someone who had a mind with hundreds of monkeys and they just wouldn’t be quiet!

I used to pride myself on knowing every phone number, single-handedly managing every appointment for myself and my entire family, I was in constant motion concerned with the welfare of others and I was a full-time university student with a full-time job. 

After a year of this at my peak number of monkeys or things to think about, I had a complete meltdown and developed severe anxiety and depression.

I sought to become minimalist and a nomad

Since my melt-down, I have since been slowly ‘down-grading’ my lifestyle luxuries so that I will have less responsibilities and so that I can focus more on developing myself.

  • I don’t have a car, I cycle everywhere
  • I have no more clothing than a 20kg suitcase
  • My social life extends to my boyfriend and work colleagues

Minimalism helped, but did not quell my anxiety

Yes, I felt a big weight lift off my shoulders by letting go of all of my material possessions, yet even after all of these huge changes I have made to my minimalist lifestyle, I still find myself being caught thinking a thousand things at once.

It is great to not have to worry about keeping my car clean and paying for registration, but cycling everywhere has it’s own problems: you worry about being taken out by a car, you worry about being late and getting lost and there’s the constant problem of not being smelly all of the time.

If you are good at finding problems in the world, you will always find something to worry about.

2 Guidelines for the chronic thinker

These 2 guidelines can change my day for the better if I am thinking too much.

  1. You might be deficient in B-12

B-12 is known as the energy vitamin, aiding in digestion, red-blood cell formation and an immune system booster. This vitamin is also essential for brain health and the nervous system:

  • it assists in nerve growth and development
  • helps in your ability to focus
  • offers a calming effect to balance moods
  • stabilizes adrenal function

 $27.50 75 Tablets (in store) 

I am always on the look out for great products that contain a good quality source of B-12. One that I can recommend is Thompsons Mood Manager – this supplement also has folic acid, fish oil and Tyrosine (plays a part in the production of dopamine and epinephrine).  This product is currently 50% off at Mandurah Health Supply this June!

$49.95 Save 50%.

  1. You can’t change the past and you can’t predict the future, so why are you worrying about it?

Life is all about living in the present; you cannot live in the past and the future will never technically arrive. The best advice I can a chronic thinker like myself is to take 1 step at a time; everytime you catch yourself thinking of your next to–do item, stop and refocus on the task at hand.

  1. Accept reality and don’t sweat the small stuff

Life doesn’t always go the way you planned, but what is done, is done. The best thing for you to do is to ask yourself is, what can I do right now to better my situation? Yes, there is still the future to worry about but better to fall down forward than to not move at all because you are too afraid to. Remain focused on your goals and don’t sweat the small stuff.

I would love to have a chat with you about keeping in good health. I will be at Mandurah Health Supply on the 14th and 15th of June between 10am-2pm.

I will leave you with this

Everything will be alright, you are magnificent, brilliant and a totally unique person who is a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. Don’t let anxiety get you down.

Love, Brittlz

1 comment

  • Brittney, this is a great article. Thank you.

    Stuart Lowry

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