stop overthinking

Stop Overthinking and Be Present

How “guilty” am I of thinking “too much”? Certainly guilty. Sometimes more, sometimes less. How about you?

I invite you to watch your stream of thoughts. How often do you think about the past? How often of the future? And how often are you noticing the current moment?

As Eckard Tolle points out in his book “The Power of Now,” we create most of our pain and suffering in our minds.

The “past” is a collection of moments that were once present but have passed now. Some memories are pleasant. Others cause us pain – we let them by focusing on them.

The “future” is an invented string of present moments that have not arrived yet. When we worry, we imagine possible future moments that may never happen.

In the meantime, with all that focus on past and present moments, we often miss the present moment. That is the moment where life happens. That is the moment where we have power and control – one tiny moment at a time. That is the reason why little steps forward are so powerful.

Focusing our thinking on the past and future is habitual for most people. Thus, we can use some techniques to regain a greater sense of the present moment:

  1. First off, realize your mind is causing most of the pain you feel in your life. Focusing on your body helps you separate yourself from your mind.
  2. Ask yourself the question Eckard Tolle recommends: “What will my next thought be”? – When you focus on that question, you observe your thinking. Through observing, you create a gap in the flow of your thinking.
  3. A second technique by Tolle is to observe your mind without judging. Again, it is watching. Judging is an act of the mind that brings us back to pain.
  4. A third technique mentioned by Tolle is “active waiting.” It is a waiting state where something important or serious could happen at any moment. There is no time for distracting thoughts or planning. During “active waiting,” you focus on your body because it may have to spring into action. You are fully present in the now.

Eckard Tolle says, of course, not all pain is avoidable. Some pain happens in the current moment (rather than being recalled from the past or imagined happening in the future). You have to deal with that. Yet, it is easier because you have trained yourself not to overthink it.

The techniques here also don’t mean “never think again.” Of course, not! Yet, observing your thoughts and seeing what they are about is valuable. And focusing on the moment is sure to boost your life’s quality and your well-being.

I’m Curious

  • When today will you spend five minutes observing your thoughts?
  • I invite you to either ask yourself, “What will my next thought be?” or test out the “active waiting” method.


  1. Tyler Orion on at

    Merry Christmas to you and your family! Brava for sticking to your daily plan through the holidays!
    Best wishes –

  2. Laura H Schultes on at

    This is powerful to me… “realize your mind is causing most of the pain you feel in your life. Focusing on your body helps you separate yourself from your mind.” Thank You!

    • Stephie Althouse on at

      Hi Laura, you are welcome! It is powerful – and I need to remind myself of this fact, too.

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