It’s always easy to think too much, what should I do?
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Every day, in our lives and work, what is the most ideal state?
It must be “forgetting” to devote yourself to the things in front of you, now, and at the moment, with no distractions, and focus on doing the things at hand. right?
This is the most ideal state, and also the most comfortable and happiest state.
But our thinking has one characteristic:It always shifts from the”now” spontaneously when we don’t expect it. Either it is shifting to the past; or it is shifting to the future.
When thinking shifts to the past, it will lead to”error avoidance.” For example:
- “Is it wrong to speak like that last time?”
“The way the leader talks to me is uncharacteristic , Are you a little disappointed with me?”
“The last time, if I could calm down a little bit…”
When thinking shifts to the future, it will lead to worry. For example:
“Is everything ready? Will there be any mistakes? If something goes wrong, what should I do…”
Together, they are called “rumination” (Rumination). You will feel that some sounds are playing in your heart over and over again, making you involuntarily think about it, thinking about it, it is difficult to contain.
These negative thoughts entangled in our minds, and they will continue to burden our brains, which in turn makes us feel physically and mentally exhausted.
The specific principle, why am I so tired every day? I have already talked about it in.
So, can we get rid of this”rumination of thinking”? Very difficult. Because this is due to the characteristics of the brain.
Why do you say that? Neuroscience discovered that the default mode of our brain, called DMN (Default Mode Network), is a low-excited, diffuse, random walk network structure.
It will randomly activate the hidden and suppressed memories and conceptual nodes in the brain, allowing them to”surface”.
Conversely, when we focus on a certain task, the brain pattern that is triggered at this time is called TPN (Task Positive Network). It is a highly excited, centralized network structure that will highly activate areas related to the current task and inhibit other areas.
How to understand these two brain models? Let’s make an analogy:
Recalling our childhood, looking up under the curtain of night, you can see a whole night sky dotted with stars (you should not see it now), and every star seems to be there. Flashing, the entire starry sky is like an ocean, undulating evenly and slightly, like breathing, and like ripples blown by the wind.
This is DMN. We can imagine each star as a thought in the brain, and when it lights up, it is activated. Many such thoughts are constantly activated, one after another, occupying our thinking and consciousness. This is the”default working mode” of the brain.
So, what is TPN? It’s like moonlight in the stars. It is so dazzling that it even covers up the light of all the surrounding stars. As long as it is not covered by clouds, we can only see it in our vision (in consciousness).
So, how are these two brain patterns distributed in our normal day?
As the name suggests:DMN is the default mode of the brain under normal conditions, and TPN is the”abnormal” mode. That is to say:As long as we are awake, the brain will always”wander away”, always coping with various thoughts and thoughts that jump out of the water in our hearts, and constantly chewing on them.
According to the common sense of daily life, many people think that the brain consumes particularly high energy when focusing on work, and it consumes very low energy when resting. But the experimental results are quite different from this:
When working attentively, the brain consumes about 25%of the energy consumed by the whole body;
However, what is surprising is that:At the time, even if the participants did nothing but lay in a daze, the energy consumption of the brain reached an astonishing 20%and remained very stable throughout the day.
Why is this happening? The culprit behind this is DMN.
It seems that they didn’t do anything. In fact, their brains are busy dealing with all kinds of thoughts, thoughts, and thoughts that”leaped out of the water”. They are busy arranging them to keep their mind at peace. Keep the brain organized…
So, some people call DMN”the dark matter of the brain.” Precisely because it is like the dark matter of the universe, it still occupies a lot of resources and space where we can’t see it.
Even if you have a lot of things in the”backstage”, even if you seem to be resting, the energy consumption of your brain is not lower than that of focused work, and may even be higher-because you need Expend more energy to suppress the negative emotions generated by these”ruminations”, such as guilt, regret, worry, anxiety…
Why do we do nothing throughout the day? Feel exhausted? It is because of this.
For the average person, this kind of thinking rumination will increase the burden on the brain. For people with negative beliefs, it may direct self-criticism and self-denial.
What is negative belief? It refers to a situation where the level of self-esteem is low, and it is easy to attribute the problems and mistakes encountered in the direction of”I can’t do it”-for such people, ruminations will not only make them feel exhausted, but also repeat them in their minds. Looping in the middle:
“I messed up again, I really can’t do anything…”
This is called”depressive rumination.”
Over time, what result will this kind of ruminating and self-denial lead to? Negative reinforcement. This makes people fall into this negative cycle.
In other words:
If you encounter a setback, it is easy to attribute it to”I can’t”;
- When rumination occurs on weekdays, I play”It failed because I can’t” over and over in my heart;
This kind of attribution constantly creates psychological hints to myself , Thereby weakening self-confidence and sense of control;
Due to lack of self-confidence and sense of control, it is easier to fail when encountering similar problems.
So repeat the cycle of 1-4…
A 2016 study found (Hamilton et al., 2016):In depression In the patient, a certain brain area responsible for emotion regulation has an abnormal connection with the DMN. This has led to the fact that the more active their DMN is, the easier it is to arouse”depressive rumination”, which will aggravate the symptoms of depression.
Simply put:When normal people experience DMN, they may have positive, negative and neutral thoughts. But for people with negative beliefs (depression patients basically have negative beliefs), it is difficult for them to move their attention away from negative thoughts, and they are tortured by negative thoughts over and over again.
After talking so much, it seems that DMN is a useless function?
Of course not. To fully understand DMN, we need to know why the brain has DMN patterns? What is its mechanism and principle?
In general, DMN is closely related to two mechanisms.
On the one hand, it is closely related to environmental search, understanding and risk avoidance. When we receive information from the outside world, DMN can quickly”go through the brain”, find relevant experience from our memory bank, and compare it with this information, so as to quickly help us judge whether the outside world is in danger or not. Need to take safety measures.
But for many introverts, this function is often too powerful, which results in their ability to act is often weak, and they tend to”think twice before acting”, or simply”can you Do not act.”
Similarly, for highly sensitive people, they will be more sensitive to external stimuli. A little stimulus will also activate their DMN. It is easy to associate with bad and negative experiences in the past, which leads to To zoom in, it takes more energy to smooth it.
On the other hand, it is closely related to our own”why for ourselves.”
What do you mean? Simply put:DMN is integrated with the contextual memory of the brain. What is contextual memory? That is,”who am I”,”what have I experienced”,”what things are related to me”, etc. It is the key link that constitutes our self-recognition and the continuum of life.
So, why is DMN so active? To a large extent:it needs to filter, judge, connect, and compare the information received by the brain every second, and then integrate it into”our life” and make it a part of your”self.”
In other words:Many times, what might”think too much” mean? It means that your life experience will be richer, fuller, and fuller…
Understanding this, do you think, eh, it seems not bad?
In fact, not only that, DMN is also closely related to several other important functions. These functions can be roughly divided into these categories:
- Creative brain
How to understand? Let’s look at them one by one.
1) Creative brain
What is the essence of creativity? It is the long-distance association between concept nodes. Therefore, the inspiration, creativity, and ideas we talk about are basically derived from the rumination and integration of DMN.
For example:When was your most active thinking and creative moment? Psychologist Kaufman did a survey, 72%of people answered:in the shower.
The reason is simple:when we are in the shower, our senses are blocked and cannot receive fresh information from the outside world. This forces our active brains to turn to the”inner”, which makes the work mode shift from TPN to DMN.
At the same time, showering puts us in a state of extreme relaxation. In this state, our openness will become stronger, and those things that are usually restricted by the threshold of perception will relax the restrictions, allowing various results to flood into the mind.
Of course, it is not just a shower, any time that allows the brain to empty, relax, and transform the thinking from the outside to the inside, is the best opportunity for us to generate creativity and inspiration.
Therefore, I often say:Do not take in information in fragmented time, it is better to use it for thinking. The”thinking” here is actually actively and consciously controlling the DMN, allowing the brain to spontaneously sort out and sort out the fragments of thinking in order to collide with sparks or ideas.
2) Countermeasures to the brain
In 2017, a study in Cambridge, England (Vatansever et al., 2017) found that:in the test task, those Participants whose DMN model is more closely connected to the hippocampus have better performance and shorter time to complete the task.
One possible reason is:the closer the DMN is to the hippocampus, when we get new information, it is easier to write it into the long-term memory; conversely, when we need to call the information, It can also be extracted from memory more easily.
This is also the underlying principle of”DMN is closely related to contextual memory” mentioned earlier.
I want to talk about it here:Our long-term memory can be divided into implicit memory and explicit memory, the latter can be divided into semantic memory and episodic memory. When we need to”strongly memorize” a sentence or a page, we call semantic memory; when we need to absorb and internalize a piece of knowledge, and turn it into experience, we use contextual memory.
The latter is closely related to DMN. Therefore, I call it the”countermeasure brain” rather than the”memory brain”-because it has nothing to do with”forcibly memorizing and remembering a thing”, but with”understanding, internalization and absorption”.
In other words:the more developed the DMN, the easier it is to recall the experience and knowledge corresponding to the current situation from memory to solve the immediate problems.
3) Social brain
In 1993, psychologists Dunbar and coleagues proposed a”social brain” hypothesis, which believed that humans (and other higher spirits) The long class) brain will reflect the complex computing needs in the real society and be used to adjust itself so that it evolves in the direction of”being better adapted to society.”
In the past 20 years, research on the social brain has continued to develop. Now it has been discovered that DMN plays a very important role in the development of the”social brain”.
Where is the specific performance? Roughly have the following functions:(Schilbach et al., 2008; Laird et al., 2011)
- Perceive and understand the emotional state of others;
Express sympathy and understanding to others;
Infer others’ beliefs, thoughts and intentions;
- Judging the actions of others…
and so on.
In short, people with more developed DMN (more connected with other brain regions) tend to be better at experiencing each other’s subtle mood swings and mental activities, and it’s easier to put yourself in and stand on each other Consider the perspective, thinking about the other person’s ideas, plans, and intentions.
Take”empathy” as an example. Neuroscientists believe that in empathy, there are at least three systems at play:the mirror neuron system (see:sensitive you, I want to tell you), the empathy system, and the DMN network. The roles they play are:
- The mirror neuron system:to experience the other’s perception (such as pain, fear);
- The empathy system:produce emotions similar to those of the other party (such as resentment, pity, sympathy);
DMN:Understand the other party’s feelings, stand in the other’s position and think about it (I understand you, I understand you).
In this process, if there is no DMN network, the mutual understanding between us and the other party is actually disconnected:we just have similar feelings, but there is no one Bonds can connect”us” together.
DMN is this link.
So, having said so much, how can we make use of the advantages of DMN and try to avoid its negative effects?
The core strategy is to actively and consciously control our TPN and DMN, try our best to let them play”the effect we want.”
Share a few effective techniques:
1. Balance switching
First of all, you have to know that you usually prefer Is the network used, TPN or DMN?
How to judge? You can ask yourself:
- I’m easier to focus on the outside world, to observe and pay attention to external changes (TPN), or to focus on the inside, to meditate, reflect and Integration (DMN)?
In my day, what do I do more time? Are you busy with the task at hand (TPN), or often chewing on various ideas (DMN) in your mind?
Then, try to exercise the network that you don’t use frequently.
If you are inclined to TPN, try:
- Set aside 10-15 minutes a day to chat with people around you. Try to listen and understand them, without busy giving solutions;
Take out half an hour every day to think and summarize”what I did today”, and make it worthwhile Record the things you recorded and talk to yourself.
Set aside a period of time alone, temporarily refuse to take in external information, let yourself stay quiet for a while, and think about anything.
If you prefer DMN, try:
- Write down the thoughts in your mind and list them Make plans, break down the steps, and write down the actions you can take;
Read some more complex content with more data, and try to organize and organize the data. Analyze;
Try to do things that require focused operation, such as handwork, baking, cooking, etc.
By exercising another network, you can gradually master the ability to switch between these two modes.
The ultimate goal we want to achieve is to switch freely and seamlessly under different scenes and times in a day, so as to better handle problems.
2. Record at any time
For friends with active DMN, a particularly important approach is to develop the habit of recording at any time.
Specifically, it can be divided into three points:
- When you recall and regurgitate the past in your mind, immediately record them and tell yourself :Now focus on the things in front of you, and deal with them when I have time;
When all kinds of interesting thoughts flash in your mind, write them down immediately , As your idea library. In many cases, they can take root and sprout and become your materials and raw materials at unexpected moments.
When you have worries and anxieties about the future, write them down immediately and tell yourself:write down these thoughts, and you may be able to use them when you plan later. Up…
It is impossible to let yourself”not want” any content. What we can do is to make the brain feel at ease as much as possible, let it know that”everything has its place”, and release it from the brain.
This can minimize the burden on the brain and make the brain more refreshed.
3. Thinking turn
To deal with DMN and”rumination of thinking”, a very effective approach is to adopt a metacognitive strategy.
To put it simply, it means to keep an eye on and aware of your own consciousness. When I switched to DMN and started to have all kinds of negative thoughts and thoughts, I found out in time:
Ah, I’m ruminating again, and I’m going to start a”thinking turn.”
What is the mind shift? Simply put, it means to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- “Was it inappropriate for me to talk like that last time?” →”Next time I encounter this situation, how should I express Would it be better?”
“The way the leader talks to me is uncharacteristic, are you a little disappointed in me?” →”What can I do to leave the leader Good impression?”
“The thing last time, if I could calm down a little bit…” →”Next time I encounter this kind of thing, I can Sum up a set of standard procedures?”
and so on.
The advantage of positive thoughts is that it can avoid the negative emotions that you generate due to negative thoughts, thereby reducing the burden and consumption of the brain.
Furthermore, positive positive thoughts may even stimulate dopamine secretion, because it may make you more motivated and positive.
4. Adjusting beliefs
Most of the time, what is the reason for”rumination”? It’s because we take ourselves too much.
When you feel that you are important, you will subconsciously magnify your words and deeds, and you will feel:Every detail of yourself seems to be examined by others with a magnifying glass , As long as you find a mistake, it is a disaster…
Is this reality? of course not.
Why do you have such a belief? This is because everything we see, experience, and think of every day is centered on ourselves. We only pay attention to”interactions between ourselves and others”-but in addition to interactions with ourselves, other people have Many experiences, large and small, are invisible to us.
This leads to the “centralization effect”:We pay too much attention to ourselves, and we think that others will also pay attention to ourselves as we do.
(For the centralization effect, please refer to:How do people become stronger)
But in fact, everyone is very busy. Apart from family members, no one will be like you Follow you like that.
For example:In your eyes, the intersection between you and other people is only one interaction, so you think that his attention to you is 100; but for him, he will meet many people every day, Intersect with many people, then his attention will be evenly spread. You may only have 10 or even 5.
Slowly adjust this belief to weaken your”centralization effect”, and a lot of burdens and pressures will disappear.
5. Perceive the present
If your DMN and thinking rumination is very serious, and your mind is often full of distracting thoughts, then try to slow down ,calm down.
Take a while to practice your ability to”perceive the present.”
Specifically, you can refer to these several ways:
1) Open the senses. Stand up, go out, change the environment, and ask yourself:What am I seeing now? Hear what? What do you smell? What did you touch?
Let the mind focus on the present perception. If you have the conditions to get in touch with nature, it would be better to walk into nature.
2) Mindfulness meditation. Keep a comfortable posture, breathe slowly (approximately 4 seconds to breathe, 8 seconds to exhale), observe various thoughts flashing back and forth in your mind, keep observation, not judge, not immerse, let it emerge and disappear by itself.
Every time you practice 10-20 minutes, you can better control your thoughts.
3) Organize. Set aside a period of time every day to organize your thoughts, such as the notes you take, the files in your computer, the clutter at home, the chaotic thoughts, goals and plans in your mind, and so on.
Make them more orderly, thereby reducing the burden on the brain.
6. Break down the challenge
Another consequence of rumination is that it is easy to be distracted, distracted, and destroy one’s concentration.
For this situation, the strategy I often use is not to force myself to concentrate, but to adopt a mentality of flexible decomposition and turn the task at hand into a game of breaking through and fighting monsters.
Specifically, it is to break down the tasks to be done into small challenges, one by one to overcome. For example, taking writing an article as an example, I would challenge myself like this:
Can I before my next wandering:
- Make it clear that this phenomenon is common in life
Use the simplest language to explain this concept clearly;
Come up with a metaphor to illustrate this phenomenon ;
Re-edit this passage to make the tone smoother and more natural…
This is one This is a very magical thing:once the task is turned into a small”challenge” that requires mental thinking and has a certain degree of difficulty, the brain will naturally be attracted to the past, but it will not be easy to distract.
The reason is simple:the brain has a natural interest in”problems.” When you create a challenge, it is equivalent to asking a question for it. Solving the problem itself, and the sense of accomplishment it brings, will make the brain feel very happy.
In this way, step by step, one challenge after another is gradually completed, and an article is finished.
This is essentially a manifestation of”flow”. The”concentration” that can really persist must not be forcing the brain to focus, but through small challenges, allowing the brain to continuously obtain rewards and promotion of a sense of accomplishment in the”break through” again and again.
I hope today’s article can help you better deal with the distracting thoughts in your mind.
You can also read these articles:
Sensitive you, I want to tell you
Why are you so tired every day?
How do people become stronger
- Good night –