I used to suffer from chronic overthinking. A couple years ago I went through a mini phase of extreme paranoia. I found myself rabbit-holing down a deep, dark path of doomsday predictions. Everything from potential volcano eruptions or major 9.0 earthquakes, tsunamis, meteor strikes, killer bugs, more pandemics, losing everything I had worked for, to nefarious leaders with dark agendas, and robot takeovers—every day was filled with, “What is going to rear its ugly head today and try to harm us?” When the alien invasion started to be a very real possibility in my mind, I realized all logical reasoning had gone out the door. I was deep in it, manipulated by conniving fear, all under the guise of, “I am being prepared and educating myself.” I told myself I was getting ready for the next big thing that could happen, not realizing that this was full-blown fear that had manifested itself into a preparation project.
I’ve seen in my own private coaching practice and in doing research for my book Return to You: 11 Spiritual Lessons for Unshakable Inner Peace, that so many of us do this, chronic overthinking, especially when things are uncertain. Since we don’t have control over anything outside of us, we tend to worry our days away trying to maintain control of our inner world. This causing more anxiety and prevents us from feeling safe. Overthinking means that you dwell on an event, a person, a feeling or an idea so much, that it completely consumes your thoughts and can ever ruin your relationships and personal wellbeing.
To stop the chronic worry, I started to turn to my spirituality and daily routine. Practicing mindfulness and compassion was key to transforming the fear into faith with love. It is all about intention. We can fill our days with worry and fear-based thoughts, or we could choose hope, happiness, and love; we can unplug from the “system,” that promotes separation and worry and stop consuming so much fear-filled media, and instead drop into my heart.
We may feel hopeless and powerless against the negative forces in the world, but we have more power than we’ve been taught to believe. Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
So maybe instead of worrying the easiest path forward is to shift our perspective from worry to wonder.
These steps can help.
Step 1: Drop from your head into your heart.
Our thoughts are powerful directives. They will either help us or hurt us, depending on where we give our attention. The mind will analyze, judge, blame, and try to make sense of the world, but your heart trusts, allows, and loves. There is no point in trying to change the world, but there is a point in changing your thoughts about the world, and this happens when we drop from our head into our heart. It’s often been said that our thoughts create our outcome, so if this is the case, we must ask ourselves what we are thinking and projecting about the current situation. If something is causing you dis-ease, go inward to your heart and see what your thoughts are about that situation. Feel your feelings and recognize where you’ve been trapped in fear or blame. We can escape our pain by giving up all thoughts that are derived from attack, blame, or shame. We are never trapped in the world we live in, because as soon as we shift our thoughts, we can change our experience.
Step 2: Turn your resistance into assistance.
Instead of resisting things in your life you don’t like, channel all the energy into assisting. Where can you help others and turn your pain into purpose? Go inward and ask yourself, “What is coming up for me and how can I channel this energy into support for others?” You can stabilize your focus by assisting others and helping those in need. Sometimes we don’t have control of what is happening, but we can take a step to help the world. Instead of festering in your discomfit, shift into action and be of assistance to others. Being of service is the highest form of happiness and will help you stay focused on the big picture—that we are all in this together and we need each other.
Step 3: Judge nothing that occurs.
Deepak Chopra said, “If you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the wounding of the world.” When the world seems to be turned upside down and nothing makes sense, it can be so easy to fall into judgment and blame. With so much angst, there can be a lot of separation. Adopt a mentality of compassion and kindness by practicing nonjudgment and compassion for all. Today, practice nonjudgment with everything you see. As you live in a more neutral state, watch how aspects of yourself and life start to feel better.
Step 4: Hold up the energetic mirror.
Look at what is triggering you and causing you distress. Hold up the energetic mirror and ask yourself, “How is this showing me what I need to heal within myself?” Your external world is a reflection of your internal state, mirroring the deepest truths of your soul. Use this time to recognize all areas and relationships and situations that feel strained. Heal your past by connecting to it in the present. You have a divine assignment not to take things personally. Look at who and what is triggering you and what it is bringing up for you. When you feel your feelings, you release them, and as you do, you connect to the deeper message they can bring. Using the energetic mirror will help you reconnect with your true self, the pure light and love within.
We can choose peace, but it must start on the inside. You can access freedom from fear right here and now. No matter what is happening outside of you in the world, you can be calm in the chaos as your inner world is the only world you truly have control over.
Excerpted from Return To You: 11 Spiritual Lessons for Unshakable Inner Peace. Sounds True, April 2022. Reprinted with permission.
Shannon Kaiser is a world-renowned spiritual and self-love teacher, speaker and empowerment coach. A bestselling author of five books on the psychology of happiness and fulfillment, she guides people to awaken and align to their true selves so they can live to their highest potential. Shannon’s newest book, Return To You: 11 Spiritual Lessons for Unshakable Inner Peace, is a complete guide to Shannon’s most effective strategies for tapping your innate wisdom and stepping into your true power. Named among the “Top 100 Women to Watch in Wellness” by mindbodygreen and “your go-to happiness booster” by Health magazine, Shannon lives in Portland, Oregon, with her rescue dog, Chance.