I have recently been reading an excellent book. I stumbled across it because a client recommended it. It’s called ‘Stop Thinking, Start Living’, and it’s by Richard Carlson. It is in fact a few years old now having been written in the 1990s but is quite brilliant in its simplicity.
The essence of the book is that Richard believes those of us prone to thinking a lot may be at risk of encouraging mild to moderate depression. This is because our every moment is involved in thinking. Thinking isn’t a bad thing, or a problem if we are constructive about it. But instead, many of us are ruminators, prone to revisiting problems over and over. Looking for the answer within the problem he believes, does nothing more than deepen the discomfort of it for us. If anything, it positively promotes or deepens our troubles.
Instead, Carlson believes we should tackle problems as they occur, roping as many people as possible in for advice if needed. Then we must learn to ‘park’ it. Parking it as a habit, teaches our brains discipline. A form of discipline that stops us playing and replaying the scenarios we are dealing with and enables us to get on with living.
Living he feels, involves recognising several things: –
- Life is not an emergency. We are all in a hurry these days and rush about doing as much as we can, fitting so much in to a day that we are ‘meant’ to feel efficient. Yet stress is typical of all of us who persistently feel ‘hurried’ so would we get more done if we slowed down and try to enjoy it as we go?
- He recognises our readiness to dwell on our troubles is often based on slights from the past. These are events we were part of, regrets or things we feel saddened by. Things people have said to us, feelings attached to those, and reasons to berate ourselves or others. These are also sources of our distress. Consequently, we spend time in silent conversations in our heads with things we would have liked to have said. These include cutting remarks that might have helped us feel better if we had come up with them at the time. The problem is all this does is start-up the angst, anger, or upset all over again. Often years have passed, and we are still doing this!
In many ways, living for now, staying in the moment, and therefore concentrating on enjoying current experiences, is about mindfulness (http://mindfulness.soulnutrition.org/appreciatingwindowsill/ )
Mindfulness has only been proposed to the general populace in the last few years, so my feeling is this book literally predates it. Yet without calling it such, he seems to be referring to a discipline of mind and action that is very similar to the teaching of mindfulness.
This brings me neatly to what the book really talks about. To me it’s value is in helping ALL of us to recognise happiness lies less within the action of others, and A LOT more within the control, of our own mind and body. This may not feel a revelation, but to be given the tools to do this is of value.
Truly changing how we view something may need help, or a tool. If you are interested in this try watching the YouTube explanation for a very useful tool, called EMDR, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKrfH43srg8
You can also find a practitioner here: https://www.findatherapy.org/emdr if you have suffered from trauma, or something you feel would benefit from treatment.
The book is available from Amazon but we also have the full blog on our site and a review of the book.