Are you an over thinker? By definition, bright and active minds think a lot at any age. We think about the past, ponder the future, think about the fate of the world, and can get caught up worrying about just about everything. We worry about death, the origins of the universe and the rain forests. We ponder the meaning of life, the purpose of our existence and if we can truly effect change. These are just a few examples of the ideas that keep gifted, and sensitive minds racing. In the moment, it is serious business, which can leave us feeling hopeless, depleted and exhausted by the ups and downs that unfold around us and within us.
What if all of this wasn't as serious as we think? What if there are ways to calm our minds, keep things in perspective and feel happy? It is possible to care deeply, think intensely and live freely without the burden of being in a constant existential crisis.
There are different ways of to manage and reduce this kind of stress. Using mindfulness techniques to stay present is helpful, but not necessarily easy for everyone. Being in the moment, shifts our focus from things we cannot change to what we have control over in the moment, and allows us to experience what is happening now. We are freed from dwelling on pain from the past, worrying about a future that is uncertain, and frustration linked to elements outside of our control such as the actions of others.
Focus on Strengths
Being able to recognize our strengths, what we are doing right and what we can control can be extremely empowering, as well. When our thought process becomes derailed by less helpful thoughts, countering these thoughts with realistic and believable positive or realistic alternatives, as well as plausible self affirmations can be helpful. Studies show, people who are able to build optimism tend to be more resilient and do so in part by recognizing the positive aspects of their lives, themselves and by acting on what they can control. You can in fact, be your own super hero.
Nurture a Sense of Humor or Just Laugh!
Another great way to handle the stress, angst and sadness associated with our thoughts, and life circumstances is to find humor. Laughter can put things in perspective, serve as an anesthetic and actually helps us to heal. Having a sense of humor reminds us that even the most exceptional humans have limitations, can be frail, and make mistakes. Humor takes the seriousness out of every day living and can bring back the joy of life. How many times have you had a difficult situation that turned into a great story later on? While it may be difficult to laugh, it can help you to see other points of view. Intelligent people are often idealistic and tend to catastrophize.
Introducing humor can lighten the mood and help you to stay grounded. Recognizing the humor in a situation or making a joke can ease tension or lift our moods. You may even notice if you are able to laugh during a stressful moment, it can put some mental distance between you and the problem.
Laughing is actually good for your brain and your body as well! In fact, laughing activates multiple areas of your brain, it causes your brain to release dopamine and serotonin, while reducing stress hormones like cortisol which helps you to feel better. Researchers believe humor also enhances our cardiovascular, endocrine and and immune systems.
If you find yourself troubled by your overactive mind, existential angst or disillusionment, try one or all of these ideas. It is possible to calm your mind, find meaning and hope. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts reach out to trusted people who care about you for support, and don’t hesitate to talk to a therapist near you who understands the needs of gifted people to help you to connect with a more positive side of yourself and the joy that life holds for you.
About the Author:
Christy, is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, practicing in San Diego, California. She has nearly 10 years of experience working with children, teens, parents, families, couples and individual adults with complex psychological and relationship problems. She specializes in the needs of gifted, bright and high achieving people, as well as those who have suffered past trauma. Christy uses an eclectic approach, meeting the needs of whomever she is working with. Her work addresses the needs of the whole person, incorporating mind and body.