Ambition Answers

How do I find my purpose and stop overthinking everything?

Hi Guy123,   Thank you for reaching out with your question. It sounds as though overthinking and lacking purpose have lead to your emotions being all over the place and your anger is pent up. You notice your emotions, but it sounds as if you can’t work out what to do with them. There are emotional consequences in not feeling happy and physical ones you may be aware of too. Though you have a sense of what might be causing this- your location, job, and issues with your partner's past and family, it is hard for me to get a sense of what triggers you the most. The most important thing to know is that this is how you feel, it is your reality, and it is valid. At the moment, working out why you feel this way and how to change it is hard, which is why counselling can help.   It can be helpful to set goals that feel manageable when you are overthinking. When we have an expectation that is unrealistic of ourselves and that is asking too much, it can be aspirational, but unrealistic expectations seem to get in the way of consistency at least as often as they support it. For example, when it comes to anger, it would be difficult to get rid of anger completely, but it can be soothed in manageable ways.   Sometimes, our expectations and plans can be so lofty we forget where we are and don't take into consideration how we feel, it is disempowering. Might it be you have good reason to be angry? What are the consequences of dismissing your emotions? As an alternative, we can create a simple list of things you feel able to do that moves you towards the general direction of your goal. This could be something like noticing what triggers your anger responses to bring them into greater awareness.   Organic growth over time identifies what we can do with the resources we have. It helps us appreciate that our energy levels change, and our resilience can ebb and grow. And anything that gets us to happily show up every day is the mechanism- expectations that are too high lead to feeling like we want to shut down.   Other times, it might be we don’t think we can talk openly about the thoughts and emotions that are occupying us; from the past, present or future, with the people around us. For example, addressing the issues you have with your partner and their family. If we don’t feel we have the right words to explain how we feel, why would anyone listen? This is where therapy can help. Counsellors provide a third party, non-judgemental approach to what you are feeling, so you can find a language to help express yourself.   Even if it feels overwhelming and painful, thinking and talking about significant feelings, events or thoughts that trouble you may help you process them. Depending on how strong you feel about these events, going through the process with a counsellor is highly advisable.   Thinking about how to find motivation when scared is hard, though and it might be helpful to consider the following:   • Sleep is often the first thing to change or deteriorate when we are overwhelmed. Ideally, aiming for 7-9 hours’ sleep is important. If you are having difficulty sleeping, a counsellor can help you explore why this might be and how it could improve.   • Being active can improve physical health and mental health as well. You said you find physical activity helpful and there are lots of things you can do depending on how much energy you feel you have, including brief activities whilst the kettle boils or dinner cooks.   • Maintaining connection with friends and/ or family can help. Humans have evolved as sociable animals, meaning connection helps us feel grounded and connected to what is happening around us.   • Creativity is also important- a favorite piece of music, art work or expressive art can reduce anxiety. Writing, drawing, creating for yourself has been shown to connects you with more positive emotions, plus gives you something to look forward to and activities that aren’t the main stress factors of your life. Some music won’t help of course- fast and irregular tempos as in dance music or aggressive lyrics may (but not always) make things worse.   Overthinking can also be known as dwelling, which takes us away from the resources we have. It can be helpful to think about the things you can control in each situation. Taking action to control how you respond when angry is a good example of this. You can control how you respond to people and yourself. Counselling can help with this, as certain types of therapy can help empower you to see the choices you do have and why you feel anxious since your panic attacks, too.   By focusing on what you can and are able to do, this moves the thought processes away from dwelling, to actively doing what you can. There are situations you cannot control, for example, we cannot control people. We also cannot control how others respond to us, though in both cases, we can control our emotional and thought responses to them. This can be hard to do and is another example of where therapy can help provide support.   Actively working with how you feel and your emotions is important. How you feel right now, is how you feel, it is important you work to avoid suppressing or avoiding this, which will only increase your belief that you cannot handle overthinking. Even if the situation is not one you can control, you can still work with your emotions to address how it makes you feel. This can reduce anxious and stressful feelings.   It is not uncommon to adopt behaviors to try to cope with feeling uncomfortable. As well as overthinking, it might be that you need constant reassurance, or even to avoid situations. However, these strategies do not prevent the unknown from happening.   Challenging these behaviors may help reduce the need to dwell. Each time you are faced with uncertainty, consider what the advantages of not knowing are as well as the disadvantages. Not all uncertainty is bad, but perhaps it doesn’t feel like that right now? Learning to sit with uncertainty helps with being able to respond to what is happening in front of you, adapting and overcoming the challenge.   Sometimes, our thoughts convince us that certainty gives us control in a situation, but what does certainty really bring? No matter how certain we feel about something, it can always change. So, craving certainty does not make it certain, but it does leave you feeling anxious. Within this, try to consider what your need is to reason your thoughts? Does uncertainty mean something bad will happen? Or does it mean something bad will happen because you think it will? Even if something bad does happen, does that mean you won’t be able to cope with it? It might not sound easy but try not to underestimate yourself. You do have the resources to cope when things go well or badly. What would it be like to ask a friend or family member how they cope with uncertainty? Likewise, if it were a friend struggling with uncertainty, what would you say to them?   It is important to allow yourself to feel the effects of your thoughts and work through them. It may feel uncomfortable, and it will pass eventually. It can be helpful to think of ways to find it believable that the discomfort will pass, too. Focusing on the present, what is going on around you, will help you feel and experience the what is happening in the present rather than your thoughts about it. Staying present, or grounding, is a group of techniques that can be learnt either through counseling or internet tutorials, to help with this.   So, overthinking and lacking purpose are not easy to experience, but it is all around every day- focusing on yourself, what you can make certain, can challenge and can feel are all important strategies in preventing how you feel when things overwhelm you.  
(MA, Counselling, Cognitive, Behaviour, Therapy, Level, 5, PGDIP, Integrative, Counselling)
Answered on 08/17/2022

How do I stop overthinking?

Dear NG,   Thank you for your message and sharing.   I understand how difficult it is to try stopping your thoughts. I could imagine how hard you have been trying and how frustrating to feel that nothing is working.    We can't stop our thoughts, but the more we practice being mindful of the present, the better we can catch ourselves with our thoughts and develop an alternative response to them, and learn to let go.   During moments like this I remind myself the teachings regarding worries, it is consisted with a 2 part questions:   1. Is this problem within my control? If so, then this problem will be solved given time and the right intervention. 2. Would worrying about it make any difference? If not, then is it worth it to sacrifice our time and mental health worrying over something that (1. can't be solved anyway / 2. will be solved anyway)?   This is definitely easier said than done, therefore as a fellow human being, I am working with you to pay attention to what is good, what is kind rather than our worries.   Obsessive or consuming thoughts can make living miserable when you are plagued by them, but this very situation can become the invitation to transcend mind and be free of suffering forever.   Can you stop obsessive thoughts? - If you could, it would be great, but the truth is that it's slightly more complicated than just suppressing your thoughts which at-most you can do for a few seconds. Plus suppressing thoughts is even worse than enduring thoughts. It builds up a lot of negative energy inside.   So how to stop these stops thoughts? The secret to stopping these thoughts is to detach from the mind because You cannot fight mind with the mind. Let's look at this in more detail.   What Causes Obsessive Thoughts?   If you generated the thoughts, you could've controlled them too.   The truth is that you don't generate thoughts, the mind does. And the mind is on auto-mode most of the time.   You can see this for yourself; can you predict what you will think 30 seconds from now? If you can't how can you assume that you are generating the thoughts?   If you believe that you are your mind, that's a false notion again.   If you are your mind then how can you observe the thoughts? So you must be separate from the mind to see what the mind is doing.   The mind generates thoughts, which are mostly just energy forms. These thoughts pass through like clouds. We identify with some of these thoughts and obsess over them.   So in truth, all thoughts are just neutral energy forms; it's your interest or association with the thoughts that makes them obsessive. If you can understand this truth, you have taken the first step towards getting rid of obsessive thoughts.   How to Stop Obsessive Negative Thoughts?   If you are asking this question, ask yourself another question - "is this question not another thought? It's a thought about killing thoughts".   All your attempts at suppressing and stopping thoughts fail because you are using the mind to stop the mind. The police man and thief are both the mind; so how can the police man catch the thief?   So you cannot kill the mind by force. The mind dies its own death by the poison of disassociation.   What gives power to a thought? - Your interest. If you have no interest in a particular thought then it loses its hold over you.   You can try this out now. Let the thoughts flow through your mind but don't take interest in them. Just stay as a bystander or a watcher and let the thoughts float.   Initially you might have a hard time watching thoughts because of your inherent habit of associating with each thought that arises.   It helps to know that you are not your thoughts, that thoughts are just energy forms created in the mind. Why does the mind create thoughts? No one knows - it's just something it does, why bother. Do you ever ask why does the heart beat?   With a little practice you will get really good at watching thoughts and not involving yourself with them.   You will stop giving power to thoughts by not giving them your interest. Thoughts die immediately when they are deprived of this fuel of interest. If you don't associate with the thought or give power to the thought, it will wither away quickly.   What Are Thoughts?   Past events get stored as memories. Your mind conditioning and beliefs are also stored as memories. All this is unconscious storage; the mind does all this in auto mode.   Perceptions and interpretations are created in the mind based on its past "external" conditioning and also its natural conditioning (genetics). These interpretations, perceptions and judgments come up as thoughts in the mind, and they can be positive or negative depending on the mind's conditioning.   Thoughts are generated based on the past incidents/memories, future projections and interpretations on the present life situation. It's like a computer trying to predict or conjure up projection based on the data it has collected so far.   When thoughts are negative in nature (thoughts of worry, anxiety, stress, lack, resentment, guilt etc.) they produce resistance to the movement of your life, and this resistance is felt as suffering. Negative thoughts will always stand in resistance to the movement of your life, like blocks of stone in the midst of a swift current of water.   Life is a stream of pure positive energy and hence any negative thought will stand in opposition to it, causing friction which is felt as suffering in the body.   The thoughts in your mind gain power from your attention and interest. Your attention is the fuel for your mind. So when you give attention to consuming thoughts in the mind, you are unconsciously fueling it and thus attracting more momentum for these negative thoughts.   The momentum of negative thoughts in your mind will slow down, and ebb away, automatically when you stop feeding your attention to it. Stay as an open space of awareness without focusing your attention on the negative thoughts of the mind, and soon they will lose their momentum.   You can focus on the positive thoughts generated in the mind, and thus develop a positive momentum in your mind. Every time your mind produces some positive thoughts, e.g thoughts of love, joy, excitement, abundance, beauty, appreciation, passion, peace etc, focus on it, milk it, and give attention to it.   This will cause your mind to attract more positive thoughts and thus build a positive momentum.   Whenever the mind thinks negatively, don't give it attention or interest, this will cause the ebbing away of the momentum of negative thinking. It's really that simple. Once you understand the mechanics of how thoughts gain momentum in the mind, you will be in total control of your state of being.   The Practice of Watching the Mind   All you need to do to get rid of obsessive thoughts is to watch the mind without getting involved.   You will get really good at this with just a little practice. This practice, or "sadhana" as called in Hindu scriptures, is the root of awakening from the illusion of mind.   Without trying to understand this practice just implement it. The more you try to understand the more mind gets involved. Just watch the mind and you will soon see that you are not the mind at all.   That the mind is like a machine in your head that generates thoughts based on your attention/interest. Be free of your mind by depriving it of your interest. This is the only direct path of becoming free of the mind.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to talking with you more :) Jono
Answered on 09/29/2021

How to overcome the fear of doing what I want?

Hello! 1st, thank you for reaching out and asking this question. This is such an important step to take for your own mental health, wellness, and happiness. Our bodies are very much wired to naturally be motivated by 'wins'. When we experience a win, it reinforces that choice that we made. Failure doesn't produce the same motivation, naturally.  If you have established what your goals are as well as the steps it takes to achieve that goal, the process can produce some anxiety. Remember that anxiety lives in the future or the past. Using grounding techniques can help you to regain emotional composure. This is the place where you can problem-solve or try new things with a more calm and clear mind.  In order to begin to approach doing something new or something hard in order to reach our goals, answer the question for yourself: "Why do I need/want to achieve this goal? How will achieving this goal affect my life? How much do I need/want that end result?" Asking these questions can help illuminate things that you can utilize as motivation to accomplish the goals you've set for yourself OR inform you on ways you may need to adjust your goal to create reasonable steps for growth.  You can also utilize your support network. Who do you have in the life that can partner with you on the journal of accomplishing those goals? Who can you talk to when you feel like you've failed or allowed your anxiety to overpower your will, that can speak to you in a defeated place and help you re-establish your footing to go back and try again. At times, the change that sees for ourselves requires a "village" of support in order to overcome the personal challenges that stand between you and the life that you see for yourself. At times, you are better suited to communicate and journey through with someone to experience that "win" to strengthen you for the next journey. I hope this makes sense.  Establish your goals. Why did you choose these? What is the 'why"? (why is this goal necessary?) What is the block? ( what makes this scary or produces anxiety in you?) Find your tribe. Utilizing your support network in critical or difficult places can change the game for you in a very positive way.    As always, utilize the support of a licensed therapist to help you talk through things that may be difficult for you so that you are able to continue to achieve the progress you have set for yourself. Good luck to you, moving forward! 😊
Answered on 09/08/2021

How do I stop maladaptive daydreaming

I read where you interested in stopping maladaptive daydreaming. I see where you shared that you have used day dreaming as a coping mechanism since you first started experiencing symptoms of anxiety. I read where you shared that you continue to distract yourself from real life and you are interested in knowing how to stop maladaptive daydreaming. I would suggest that you first start with seeking mental health therapy with a professional counselor or therapist. Therapy and medication together can help minimize the severity of triggers that manifest into depression. Individuals who receive therapy and medication often see quicker improvements and overall better outcomes than those who only receive therapy or those who only take medication in regards to dealing with depression. However, the choice is ultimately yours in regards to if your personal mental health needs.   A professional counselor or therapist can be very beneficial in supporting you with discussing and assessing your specific needs in alleviating or decreasing maladaptive day dreaming. A professional counselor or therapist can help you in regards to providing you with adequate or appropriate skills and techniques to discuss what situations, environments, etc. could be the cause or triggers to your symptoms of anxiety which you shared manifests into maladaptive daydreaming.   Behavior interventions, Psychotherapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have all been beneficial in treating individuals who struggle with maladaptive daydreaming that can manifest in symptoms of anxiety. In an effort to stop maladaptive daydreaming manifested by symptoms of anxiety you can try to commit to changing the way you think. It will take a lot of practice, dedication and determination to stop maladaptive daydreaming. However, trying to do this will help you feel better and it can lead to your feeling much better and becoming more productive. You can recognize when it is happening and when you find it happening you can choose to think about something more productive. You can also look for solutions by committing to learning from your mistakes and solving your problems so you can productively move forward, set aside time to think when you notice that you are beginning to daydream outside of that scheduled time, remind yourself that you will think about it later, distract yourself with a self care activity and you can practice mindfulness.   Mindfulness is the key to living in the "here and now." When you become mindful, you will be completely present in the moment. It can be like a form of meditation that takes a lot of practice, but over time and with consistency, it can be very beneficial maladaptive daydreaming manifested by symptoms of anxiety in an effort to help you experience an overall healthier mental well being. Overall, I highly recommend that you seek help from a professional counselor or therapist and a medical provider if needed to properly assess your maladaptive daydreaming manifested by symptoms of anxiety. Mental health is not a one size fits all, so it is important to get personalized treatment for your specific and current mental and emotional needs. Best regards to you!      
Answered on 01/22/2021