How To Stop Thinking, Worrying And Analysing And Just Start Creating

The Worried Look
image: spo0ky

Being the creative person you are, I’m pretty sure that at any one time you have probably a few hundred thoughts zipping around your mind, all vying for your attention.

They range from the trivial every day thoughts like “What shall we have for dinner tonight?” and “When is our car due a service?” to deeper concerns like “Is this dull pain in my stomach anything to be concerned about?” and “Will I ever be as creative as I was in my early 20s again?”.

Along with just about everything in between.

It’s ironic that although we’re capable of being highly creative and have a constant source of ideas pouring forth in our minds, the flip side is this equally infinite onslaught of thoughts and worries, all capable of distracting us, and at times it seems completely debilitating us from creating anything at all.

Then there’s that whole OTHER layer of worries about worrying, and analysis of analysing.

“If only I didn’t worry so much I could just get on and enjoy my life and what I want to create. I worry I worry too much, then that makes me worry even more! What’s wrong with me, I think I need to figure this out, think it through thoroughly, before I get to creating anything…”

Sound familiar?

I know as I was writing that last paragraph my own mind was saying: “Hey, that’s my line, did I give you permission to say it loud in public?”

What if we could just stop all the worries, thoughts and concerns? What if there was a switch that just stopped them all in an instant so we could get on and focus on creating what’s important to us, what we’re passionate about?

What if we could put them all in a huge box, chain it shut, put it in a dark corner down in the basement, lock the door and never see it again?

Well, that’s not going to happen. There’s no magic trick, no secret method to removing all those thoughts from your head. Not one that doesn’t involve invasive brain surgery at least.

But you know what? This is a GOOD thing!

Because as we said just now, all this thinking – all this endless activity in your mind – is the flip side of being creative and being able to pour out ideas like a barman pours out beers on a Saturday night in the busiest bar in town.

You know I said there wasn’t a trick or a secret to switching all your thoughts and worries off? Well, that is true, but there IS a way to deal with them far more easily, to all but eliminate their impact on hindering your creativity.

You can’t turn them off, but you can turn them down, and you can tune them out.

Imagine your mind as a radio, where you can tune into thousands of different channels. Whilst all these channels are still broadcasting a signal 24 hours a day, you can choose which channels you listen to, which you tune into.

So if you don’t want to listen to that annoying high pitched host of W.O.R.R.Y FM, then you don’t have to.

Actually imagine in your mind how this DJ sounds, endlessly rambling on with their fears and concerns. Then tune them out, turn them down. See them disappearing in your mind. Instead of being on full volume at the front of your thoughts, picture them fading away into grainy black and white and receding into the distance.

See them drifting away, become ever quieter and more transparent, their image and voice breaking up and fading like a ghost disappearing as day breaks. Imagine them just drifting into a single collected mass of your thoughts, a gentle low background presence that doesn’t concern you.

You know like when your in a building in a city and you can hear the traffic outside? You know it’s there, and if your bring your attention to it, you hear the rush by of every car, truck and bike. But most of the time it is just a background presence. You don’t need to listen, it’s just there, not doing any harm, whilst you get on with what you need to get on with.

Practice tuning out your own inner radio channels that have up until now distracted you.

Give them names, imagine the host’s face, give them a personality, rather than have them as an ominous floating fearful entity.

Then tune them our, watch them fade away into the soft background melee of sound you don’t need to focus on or pay any attention to.

The more you do this, the easier it will become.

In the meantime, just create.

Give yourself specific dates and times, mark it in your calendar, a short block of time each day. You only need 10 or 15 minutes to begin.

Building this daily creative habit, making full use of the time rather than endlessly worrying will make a huge change in your creative life.

You can start today, and I’m confident you will. Because we need to create, it’s not an option. It’s what we do. It’s what we must do.

So it’s goodbye W.O.R.R.Y FM, hello Creativity Central…

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8 thoughts on “How To Stop Thinking, Worrying And Analysing And Just Start Creating”

  1. Ohhhh so true! 🙂 I can get exhausted just listening to my brain go on all by itself. “Tuning out” through meditation has worked well for me but my primary tool is writing all the stuff down so I can forget about it. Then if I have the same intrusive thought again, I can dismiss it by telling myself, “I’ve already worried about that – it’s under control!” I also notice when I’m actively creating and really digging in, everything else goes away. Including the chatter!

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    1. Oh I love that technique Kristin – I’ve already worried about that once and written it down, no time or energy to do it again. Excellent idea. Thanks for posting.

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  2. This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me. I have been struggling with consistency playing my guitar lately and I’ve been wondering where the flow of a few months ago has gone.

    I keep trying to recapture flow, and the creative bursts of energy that come with it, but it seems to be eluding me. Reading your post made me realize that it’s the fear of never feeling flow again, or worrying that this may be all I am capable of creating, blocks the very thing I am wanting to nurture.

    Time to go turn off “What if” FM and tune into “Flow” FM instead.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

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    1. Flow FM – I love it. I can relate to feeling afraid of trying to rediscover the kind of art and flow we had in the past, in case it’s not there anymore. I’m going through this with salsa at the moment, just not feeling it like I used to, and I don’t want to go out and dance in new places because I’m afraid that if I still don’t feel it there, it means I’ve definitely lost it, not just maybe lost it.

      Two things come to mind.

      First, create to just enjoy, and experiment. Don’t do it to try to recapture what you had before. Take the pressure off, creating is meant to be fun. Enjoy what you have, it’s more than likely already more than many people have.

      Second, try new stuff. I’m getting into yoga, only started about two weeks ago but already I’m feeling the benefits and practicing daily. We all need new stuff, new outlets, new adventures. What used to flow through one medium may now flow in a different way through another. It comes from the same source, it’s just flowing down a different tributary. We only find the new ones if we’re willing to seek them out.

      This is what I’m trying anyway, and it’s helping so far. Hope it helps you too Dawn, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

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  3. Hi Dan!
    Another of your brilliant articles to ‘recognise, acknowledge and then take action’. . .
    Love the concept of “…background presence” and turning ‘it’ down, tuning it out.(great analogy = radio)

    Yep ~ (over)analysis leads to paralysis!
    Thank you Dan!

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    1. There are NLP techniques that take this even further, that you can use to overcome addictions for example. It’s the same premise, essentially turning down the volume and fading out the things that are distracting you, and turning up the volume of the things that are important to you and you want to fill your life with.

      Analysis paralysis is something I’ve experienced my fair share of Lindy! Pick something you’re motivated to create, that excites you, and just go for it. 🙂

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  4. “infinite onslaught of thoughts and worries” Oh, boy do I relate to that. Occasionally, when all the elements combine to achieve creative flow, it’s a wonderful respite from the worry machine, turning down the troublesome noise in my head for a bit!

    To achieve this, I need 3 key elements: a substantial block of uninterrupted creative time (at least 2 hours), listening to good music (or sometimes peaceful quiet), and satisfaction with the art I’m creating.

    Another tool I’m using to tune out the worry is getting back to journaling (thank you, Kristin). I’m also looking into Yoga, but haven’t found a routine yet that works for me. The instructors on the last DVD I rented said things like “Send the sore joints you’re angry at some loving, compassionate thoughts.” Oh, brother. But I’ve heard so much about the mental and physical benefits of Yoga (plus your endorsement) that I’m still looking into it.

    You can’t force creative flow, but I’m hoping that using all the right tools will help achieve it and tune out the worrisome thoughts.

    Thanks Dan, and everyone, for helpful posts and comments.

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