Consider the expression “out of your mind.” It’s used pejoratively, a way to convey that someone is acting “irrationally,” or not within the bounds of cultural norms.
Oxford defines the phrase to mean “having lost control of one’s mental faculties.”
Synonyms include mad, insane, deranged, and frantic.
We have this completely wrong.
If you’re prone to overthinking, anxiety, rumination, and indecision, it’s because you spend too much time in the realm of your mind.
At one point in your life, you learned that the mind was a safe place to go when emotions got too big.
Nobody taught you how to sit with the big emotions, or people told you that it wasn’t ok to feel the big emotions.
This is not to put blame on the adults in your life (parents, teachers, etc). Chances are that nobody taught them how to be with their emotions either.
As a result, you escaped your emotions by going to the mind:
Thinking. Rationalizing. Ruminating. Spinning stories.
The problem with the mind is that it attaches to ideas and stories. Once it gets its hooks in, it doesn’t let them go easily.
If you sit still and listen to sounds, you might observe how your ears allow sound to enter and leave, without attaching to the sound. Once the sound is gone, it’s gone.
Similarly, emotions last for only about 90 seconds.
You may think an emotion lasts for longer, and that’s because what keeps it alive is the story you’re telling in your mind. Every time you tell the story to someone — including to yourself — you relive it, and triggering the emotion again.
Einstein’s definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Under that definition, insanity is in the mind. It is in the mind that we repeat the same stories and thought loops over and over again. Especially when we’re angry or upset, we love to share the story of the thing that happened to provoke the emotion. We tell it often, as if the ending will magically change. Then we wonder why we’re caught up in these emotional charges.
Your mind is the problem here. Through overthinking and rumination, it produces confusion and incoherency.
The way back to center — to sanity, to clarity and to calm — is to allow yourself to feel what arises and let it pass.
Getting out of your mind is exactly what you need.