Have you ever been stuck in a situation in which you just can't seem to stop yourself from thinking unkindly? Perhaps a friend said something that hurt your feelings, or you feel that you were purposefully left out of an activity, and now you just can't stop thinking unkindly to yourself, "They always treat me that way. They always forget about me when making plans. No one cares about my feelings. They are so selfish. They never consider how their actions affect others...and so on...and so on...and so on..." If this has happened to you, you are not alone! Once the cycle of negative, unkind thinking gets started, it's hard to stop!
That's why I deliberately used the word 'stuck' above. When we feel that we have been wronged, are emotional, or are fearful, it's easy to get stuck in "our head", thinking and overthinking the same unkind, unproductive thoughts. And often, no matter how hard we tell ourselves to stop thinking that way, and that it's not reasonable and rational, our emotions override our intellect, and the "overthinking" continues.
There is a way to stop the unkind thought cycle, though. And that is to DO SOMETHING KIND!
When I say "do something kind", I really mean DO SOMETHING! If you are sitting at your desk in your home office ruminating, get up and go downstairs! If your spouse or partner is at home, surprise them with a cup of tea or a snack! If it is garbage day in your neighborhood, take your neighbor's trash cans to the curb for them. Ask a colleague if you can take a call for them, or help them with a piece of work. Acting kindly - doing something kind for someone else - will take your mind your mind off thinking about you, and how you feel, and focus it on helping someone else! And when we help someone else, by doing an act of kindness, we feel good as well.
Although we often think that our thoughts influence our actions, (and they can!), that's not the only way it works! Our actions influence our thoughts as well. So, next time you find yourself "stuck in your head" with those unkind thoughts spinning and spiraling, try breaking the cycle by doing an act of kindness instead!
Have you had an experience where Acting Kindly has allowed you to break the cycle of unkind overthinking? If you have, please share it with us in the comments! Thanks for your kindness!