Hyperactive thinking is a common cause for insomnia. Often paired with stress it quickly develops into mental and physical fatigue. Many of us suffer from it at different severities, so it is rather common. We should not underestimated this discomfort.
Perhaps more alarmingly, it grows onto you like an addiction, integrating itself with your habits and efforts of productivity. Generating, so to speak, a kinetic energy of thoughts that enslaves you to always maintain a full container in your head. Despite the discomfort, your get used to it and the notion of rest may even feel counterintuitive. This is negligence.
A container has a capacity. Often distracted by daily challenges and necessities, we seem to run our thoughts on overcapacity. Filling every single empty space until the end of the day, to repeat the same thing on the next day, with little to no awareness. When we are finally given the opportunity to wind down this “kinetic energy” of thoughts, we choose not to.
This makes it harder to act on interesting opportunities, enjoy nuances and flavours in life and even tend to basic needs. Alarming because it is a process that is so invisible. A mind driven by challenges and necessities, not by awareness… or you. So instead of overinvesting all the time, how do we reserve some space of thought?
Emptiness of thought
Emptying your thoughts is like an creating an empty container, useful because of its emptiness. Take moments of rest, close your eyes even if for 10 seconds while taking a few deep breaths. Accept not having to think of anything for a moment. Taking walks or other meditative activities can all help in creating brief moments of emptiness to help you manage your thoughts better, effectively reducing the discomforts and opening many opportunities for change when exercised.
In the moment of awareness, force yourself to a timeout. Attempt to momentarily set everything aside, allow yourself to relax and wind down. Anker your thoughts onto your breath if you must or think of something comfortable and simple. To give an example, if you are taking a coffee break, do not think about work during that time, instead do some focussed breathing exercises. Throw out unnecessary thoughts and bring back into the container what is needed after resting. Even the briefest of interruptions of hyperactive thoughts can be effective to empty your mind.
Relapses will happen (quite often), but with exercises and meditation this rapidly gets better. Don’t be pre-occupied to control your thoughts either. It means you are trying too hard. Be lenient with yourself. On the contrary, an empty mind is easier to fill, meaning all kinds of things can flood in, so keep that in mind.