The Stupidity of Thinking about Things Twice

Just lately it has become so clear to me how much of my life I waste by thinking about things over and over again.

What I realise now is that I only need to think about a task when I am doing it, rather than multiple times before and after. For most of my life I have thought about what I am going to be doing this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week, in an exhausting way. And if that’s not enough busy-ness, I can also worry and think about things that I have already done… over and over again.

It seems quite exhausting just thinking about it. Oops, there I go again…

It is so much better for me to be thinking about what I am doing right now. And so for now that means thinking about what I am writing. But even while doing this, my mind sometimes wanders off-task to start thinking about something else.

As I bring my mind to what is happening right now I find that there is a deep steadiness that comes over me. When my mind is busy with thinking about things that have not even happened yet, there is a sense of agitation or worry that this brings, and I feel unease in my body.

The stupid thing about thinking about things that might happen tomorrow is that it is just a made up story about how things might be. But made up or not, that doesn’t stop my mind from creating a whole drama about it; say a conversation I want to have with someone tomorrow. I can think about what I might say, about how they would reply, and so on until I’ve written a script in my head. And then I go and replay it again in a slightly different way because I can think of another way that it might be.

And so on and on it goes with my mind making up stories about tomorrow, and worrying about interactions of yesterday.

I’ve read lots of books on this topic of mindfulness, or living the moment, yet despite seeing the futility of not being present, I have continued with this same pattern more or less most of my life.

Until lately that is. The stupidity of thinking about things that haven’t happened yet has become very clear to me. So clear that I now notice very quickly when I am doing that, and bring my mind back to what is happening right now. And that means coming back to feel my body. To feel a connection with myself that is missing when I go off with the fairies.


The catalyst for this change has been the Gentle Breath Meditation™ that I have learned with Serge Benhayon, It is a very simple meditation that takes only a few minutes. How many minutes it takes, or how many breaths it takes me to come back to myself depends on how far I have wandered and how much I have become caught up in a story that I have made up.

Now that I observe myself quite closely, I can choose to come back before I have strayed too far. It may often take only a few breaths — but if it takes more than that, it is a sign that I have wandered off from my connection with myself.

And the more I practice being with me, the more easy it is to notice when I stray.

The futility of thinking about things that haven’t happened yet hits me loud and clear.


I have become an observer of myself and can now own up to what I do without trying to defend it. My mind seems to have to justify its busy life to me, the observer.

My mind is actually quite a useful tool, as long as it stays on task. While my mind is with me, it serves me well. While its attention is right with me now and focussing on what I am actually doing, that doing comes with a loving imprint that brings an easy connection with me, with my innermost (what is truly me). And when that connection is strong I can see the beauty in what is around me. I can see the beauty in everyone that I interact with.

This awareness that I have now is such a gift of love. It brings me joy and contentment and also allows me to chuckle over my own stupidity when I wander off to rewrite some future interaction I am about to have with someone.

When the time comes to have that conversation, I can be there and bring me totally to the conversation as it unfolds. I can come now without expectation of how it might be. And I surprise myself over and over again, that what I need to say is there when it’s needed, without any rehearsal, and without the waste of thinking about it beforehand.

“What a waste it is to think about things twice!”

by Chris Baker, Sunshine Coast, Australia

304 thoughts on “The Stupidity of Thinking about Things Twice

  1. Chris I agree with you, thinking twice is like procrastinating or stalling and then we analyse, plan etc etc. When we allow the body to do its own thing, we will be surprised in what it’s capable of doing and being. We tend to under estimate it’s intelligence and think it’s the mind that is intelligent and over ride what the body presents to us constantly.

    The Gentle Breath Meditation brings us back to the body and its intelligence, and it places us back IN the body inside of staying outside of it. Then the mind plays a different role…

  2. I love how you have bought it back to the simplicity of it all, the Gentle Breath Meditation and it doesn’t matter how long it takes to come back. It is resource we can turn too at any time.

    ‘My mind is actually a useful tool, as long as it stays on task’, is something for me to consider much more deeply. I’ve either wondered or annoyed when I’ve strayed from what I am in that moment. It needs to be done more lovingly. 

What a beautiful read to start me in my day, thank you for your sharing.

    1. The mind is designed to stray or thinks its the boss because it’s intelligent with degrees and pHD’s. While in reality the body is the boss with no degrees or pHD’s…

  3. Multi-tasking is like living two moments at the same time – eg washing dishes and then thinking about what to do tomorrow… and living two lives at the same time whilst only being in one body is understandably draining.

    1. Multi tasking is what I’m experiencing in loveless project work. The human body isn’t designed to fly a plane at the same time as driving a train, it is mere impossible, unless you are a robot.

      Doing too many things is exhausting on the body, and I love how you’ve shared, its like living two lives, the body’s reason for it becoming exhausted. If we don’t plan, then the body can be drawn to what is next. It will be impulsed because you are in your body…

  4. i also hate that feeling of driving off and then not remembering if I shut the garage door or locked the front door – this is all showing me I have not been with myself and been present with the tasks at hand. More often than not I have actually locked the doors, however, because I have been thinking of other things and not being present, I have no recollection of having done what I have done.

  5. Thank you Chris – a great point about staying present with what you are doing…I once heard someone say that when they are in the shower they often find themselves thinking about work and work issues, but then wondering why they do not then at work think about showers and taking showers and how wonderful the water feels on their skin?! Funny that how we can avoid feeling and being…

  6. The endless chatter of the the busy mind, with it constant stream of information, is so exhausting to my body, yet I am a master of the chatter that goes on and on, about today, tomorrow and what will be. Thank you Chris for your writing, as it has again brought me back to conscious presence and most of all the observation of when my mind begins to run my body. All upside down, as the body running the mind bring me such settlement and the clarity of thoughts to express when and if necessary.

  7. Great topic Chris, the endless mind chatter is exhausting, it’s like it clutters up the body with energetic pollution, and it can run on high speed depleting the body further. It’s so true, it’s useless and goes nowhere. I’ve recently experienced a 4 week Esoteric Yoga program which was strongly focused on conscious presence, so I’m learning a lot about having the mind and body aligned to the same activity, it’s actually quite challenging even though it’s surely our normal way to be by being in harmony and connection to ourselves.

  8. This is a brilliant blog exposing those crazy stories we have with ourselves in our minds and sometimes we are so engrossed with them we end up not realising where we are or how we got there. How many times have we driven our cars and got to the end of the journey without really understanding how we got there we just did. This is called checking out on life and more and more of us are choosing this behaviour.

  9. This is great Chris, as we can all learn to escape the trapping of the mind and become consciously present with what we are doing so when it is finished we feel complete and move to the next purpose, and this simple process as you have shared is ‘focussing on what I am actually doing, that doing comes with a loving imprint that brings an easy connection with me, with my innermost.’

    1. We feel more settled yes, and ‘As I bring my mind to what is happening right now I find that there is a deep steadiness that comes over me.’

  10. What I can feel from this is a totally self-indulgent nature of the mind and its behaviour, yet it is not even able to dictate what it wants to think as it keeps wandering, it feels like it is exposing itself as a vehicle that can be used by anything.

  11. Reading this blog again is a great reminder of just how I can wonder off into my thoughts while doing something else or when listening to someone a thought comes into my mind and I have stopped listening and have got caught up again. Where does this mindless chatter come from? And why do we get caught up in it? It is all a distraction to stop us from re connecting back to ourselves because if we reconnected back for long enough our bodies would remind us of where we came from and what we should be reconnecting back to. So there is a huge investment to keep us all away from such a knowing. So if we have ever felt like a puppet on a string that’s because we all are held by a consciousness we are unaware of that does not want any reconnection to ourselves.

  12. This is such a brilliant reminder to stay focused on what we are doing because the rewards far out weight the mindless chatter that we can allow to rule us.

    1. The mindless chatter can and does take us on wild goose chases, ‘The stupid thing about thinking about things that might happen tomorrow is that it is just a made up story about how things might be. But made up or not, that doesn’t stop my mind from creating a whole drama about it; say a conversation I want to have with someone tomorrow. I can think about what I might say, about how they would reply, and so on until I’ve written a script in my head.’

  13. Reading your blog Chris I get to see and feel how senseless it is to allow our minds to distract us from what we are currently doing. This is a waste of energy and amounts to nothing less than us abusing our body. I have noticed as I write this just how much I allow my mind to take me away from what I am writing….something I will be observing from now on!

    1. I’ve been feeling that too Elizabeth, that letting the mind wander off, sometimes creating stress and anxiety around the past or future, is definitely feeling like a self abuse, and conscious presence is a very beautiful act of self care.

  14. ” While my mind is with me, it serves me well.” So true Chris. Staying present with what I’m doing feels great – time disappears and space appears. The reverse is true when I allow my mind to wander and I seem to be chasing and trying to keep up with what needs to be done. Having pictures and expectations are a killer.

    1. Great to hear that you now bring yourself back to your task in hand, ‘bring my mind back to what is happening right now. And that means coming back to feel my body. To feel a connection with myself that is missing when I go off with the fairies.’

    2. Thanks Sue, this was a supportive comment to read, it’s given me a good marker that when I’m in the concept of time I’m not going to be in conscious presence.

  15. I find my mind can take me totally off track, not just thinking about stuff twice, but over-analysing things after they’ve happened, or wondering if I did a good enough job etc – I agree that focus is everything when it comes to our thoughts, and if we are focused on what we are doing then there is much less chance of our minds wondering astray.

    1. Well described Meg – the mind can be like a teenage truant, wandering off, analysing unnecessarily, chattering away unneccesarily etc. It takes a bit I have found to settle it and give it some worthwhile activity – the only worthwhile activity being thinking about how the body is feeling and keeping it super simple at that.

  16. Thinking ahead is not planning what day will I have dinner or go to buy something. It is also an action aimed at giving form to space so it feels familiar to ouI vibration when we get there. It is a vibrational intertemporal action.

  17. Imagine, for how exhausted we get when we are not fully present with ourselves, there is the equivalent energy there to invigorate and allow us to fully enjoy and be present in life.

  18. It is exhausting when we question ourselves and overthink things, staying present and connected to my body allows me to catch these thoughts and to not go off into my mind where these games can be played.

  19. The timing of me reading this great blog today was truly sent from Heaven, as I had spent the last 24 hours pretty much in a spin cycle of rewriting and rehearsing a future conversation I felt I needed to have with someone that I worried would be quite difficult and was based on me holding back what I felt in the past. This resulted in a horrendous sleep and subsequent challenging day at work, and showed me just how crazy it is to indulge in this type of wasteful inner dialogue and use energy on a situation that isn’t even currently happening! I can see now just how harmful it is to not express myself when a situation is active and it is there to come out as it actually hurts to do so, and is so draining to think ahead and plan away my life and not trust that my body knows what to say.

  20. Absolutely a total waste when we wander off in the other direction. I see now how when I go over something in my mind, like what is coming up or a conversation I need to have, is that it is a form of escaping what I am needing to do right then and there. No different to loosing myself on social media or on a device, it’s a distraction that I’ve created and run off with. My energy levels are way more steady and balanced when I am present with what I am doing. A dead give away that I’m not with myself, is when I am feeling drained and tired for no reason.

  21. I find that by observing myself as I work and in staying present with what I am doing, there is a natural flow to knowing what needs to be done next.

  22. It is amazing where the thoughts come from to deter us from doing what is true for us. I can very much relate to the unnecessary anxiousness thinking in the future can bring but it is super great when I become aware of it and realise that what I have let in even briefly is nothing but a game I am playing to hold myself back from living the fullness of who I am.

  23. It’s incredible how we train ourselves to be in the future or the past while the body is here at present by constantly filling up our mind with thoughts unrelated to where the body is at, and accepting this exhausting way of being as our normal.

  24. We have made the process of thinking and having thoughts run through our head a normal moment to moment activity, but as you describe so well there is no true gain in it, quite the opposite, it not only keeps us busy but lets us go through totally made up scenarios. All the while when we learn and practice to stay with our mind with what the body is doing in every moment we will be fully present in every moment and knowing what to do or say.

  25. It is amazing how quickly our mind can turn to something other than what we are doing; I just caught mine skipping off into the future when my eye spotted the clock. Knowing we can bring our attention back to the body and its movements is key to addressing the exhaustion many people are experiencing today. I have found Esoteric Yoga is such a supportive modality that strengthens this re-connection with the body.

  26. The amount of energy we waste thinking robs us of the joy of being present yes. It doesn’t ‘work’ either as it clouds the natural clarity and simplicity of being with what is.

    1. Spot on Victoria – the over thinking and thinking about things that have nothing to do with our present moment are indeed ‘killers’ – it takes us away from the natural simplicity of being in the present that we can live with and thrive from.

  27. Thinking of the same thoughts over and over not only distracts us from the present moment but stops us from realizing our potential – for in every moment no matter what is before us we always have the opportunity to learn and grow.

  28. Endlessly running scripts in the head is not only very exhausting but it keeps us in the same murky broth of circulation energy, forever chasing its own tail and getting nowhere. And the longer we engage it, the harder it can be to break out.

    1. I agree, we can end up in a downward spiral which we can only get out by stopping the process.

  29. “This awareness that I have now is such a gift of love.” Developing an awareness of my connection to the task in hand offers the opportunity to appreciate how I am with myself instead of wasting time and energy with my mind wandering elsewhere.

    1. It is great to read how The Gentle Breath Meditation was such a catalyst for your change, ‘The catalyst for this change has been the Gentle Breath Meditation that I have learned with Serge Benhayon’.

  30. Yes I too have felt the tension and unease within my body from the scenario’s I build in my head, but always find the clarity return when I adjust my movements. Even something as simple as feeling my fingers or toes can re-connect me to the present moment and the thoughts and scenario’s melt away. Our movements bring great learning to our lives and offer us such simplicity to our choices making life much more about connection and less about the complication.

  31. Thinking about things ahead of time allows out mind to have a field day and drains us of our vitality. Whereas when we have our mind totally with what we are currently doing, our body will automatically keep itself energised. So it is a stupid and deeply harmful pastime to give our power away to thinking about things twice.

  32. Our true power is lived when we bring all of who we are to the moment we are in. As in actual fact it is in the quality of presence that we bring to each moment that our future is already lived. Worrying about any other moment, past or future, is a distraction from and a relinquishing of the power, the truth, the love and the ‘all that we are’ responsible for living in the moment we are in.

  33. The reminder to be in the present, not carrying the past along like a dead weight, or anxiously looking towards what the future might hold (or not) is a wise offering.

  34. Observing my thoughts is showing me just how often they are not loving or supportive. Through observation I then have the opportunity to refocus on my connection within and from there the thoughts can change.

  35. What you describe here so well is how living in our head does not lead us anywhere as we are constantly living in a hypothetical world where anything is possible as it simply depends on where we want to go with our thoughts, but this has nothing to do with real life and the connections and relationships we (could) have with each other.

  36. When we let our thoughts run away with us, that is when we start believing in our thoughts, dwelling on them or giving them more importance, analysing and dissecting, life becomes very complicated and joy disappears.

  37. This is a brilliant blog Chris, it’s just what I needed to read. So, interesting to be aware of our thoughts and how they can exhaust us or work to assist us in our tasks and our connection to ourselves. It make so much sense to let go of the constant busy-ness of our thoughts and bring it back to our task at hand and focus on what we are doing. I am going to practice in bringing my thoughts back to the present and not let them run wild in the past or the future but being present with me, to be more present.

  38. The mind may have its way but at the end of the day the body is always the winner. It is after all the one which experiences all our choices and is the one that makes us real and down to earth with life when we are open and with it.

    1. So true Joshua – we can never escape the truth or untruth that is lived in any moment as our bodies will always show us. And so, as you beautifully said, it is our body that guides us to live who we really are when we are open to it.

  39. True, what a waste of time and energy to think things over and over again. It takes in so much space and when I allow myself this twisting and turning in my head I get easily frustrated and exhausted. The observing way of life you are talking about is definitely making life simple and joyful.

  40. ‘For most of my life I have thought about what I am going to be doing this afternoon, or tomorrow, or next week, in an exhausting way.’ We waste so much energy on what might be rather than living in the here and now.

  41. A timely reminder of what thinking about things twice actually does….nothing. And often it’s not twice, it’s several and it invites complication and uncertainty and going back and forth. An exhausting way to live. It takes a lot of practice to go with the flow, when we are so used to doing the opposite, but I’m willing to break the old habit, and keep practising trusting what I know.

  42. Thank you Chris, I read this earlier this morning and then went out shopping and noticed how often I’m in the future or past in my thoughts. Once I noticed this I adjusted my posture and reconnected to my body and gentle breath. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  43. Timely post to read about thinking and delving into things twice – HUGE subject! And wonderful opportunity to comment on . . . I was pondering and you could say it is ‘evil’ to think about something twice – what a dis-honour to leave you and the preciousness in what you are doing to go back or forward in life.
    When the mind is used in conjunction to the depth of what your body knows it is special and a joy to feel in each moment. I love the honesty to bring you back and having that relationship of base to come back to being decent and respectful to your inner-knowing, and others around you, to what it is you naturally know and feel without the ‘thinking’. It is as though thinking about something twice is a corruption of your makeup.

  44. Bringing ourselves back quickly when we realise we are doing this is so important, otherwise we just go round and round in circles giving power to the what is not, ‘The stupid thing about thinking about things that might happen tomorrow is that it is just a made up story about how things might be. But made up or not, that doesn’t stop my mind from creating a whole drama about it; say a conversation I want to have with someone tomorrow. I can think about what I might say, about how they would reply, and so on until I’ve written a script in my head. And then I go and replay it again in a slightly different way because I can think of another way that it might be.’ People have been sharing with me how they get caught in the above scenario, and I have referred them to the Gentle Breath Meditation,

  45. Over thinking can be quite exhausting, and take us completely away from our bodies, this makes much more sense, ‘What I realise now is that I only need to think about a task when I am doing it, rather than multiple times before and after.’ Absolutely, stay with the task in hand.

  46. We can think on situations or tasks as much as we like but actually it all comes down to the moment we are in that situation or doing that ask and sure it will be completely different from that what we have thought it to be. This to me makes it very clear that this way of thinking actually brings us nowhere, as it keeps us trapped in thoughts and through that we miss a great part of life as in our thinking we have actually disconnected from the moment we live in, the moment where everything is happening from which we can grow and evolve.

  47. I agree Chris. Only yesterday I spent a good hour mulling over a presentation I did. Not a good use of my time. Yes I did review what I would do differently next time, and what went well but that part was done in 10 minutes. The rest was me fretting about stuff I no longer had any control over. It was gone. And then of course there is the future that I spend way too much time thinking about. I am learning to stay with what I am doing. Its far less exhausting and I get to enjoy the present moment rather than being somewhere else in my head.

  48. ‘The gift of observation’ this really is a gift, not only to give to yourself, but to everyone. Being able to really arrest reactions of people, situations and the world really is a gift. To observe unemotively, to not allow yourself to get involved and then retell the story over and over, which only ever keeps the yuk energy alive and at play.

  49. I really get this – thinking about a conversation I am going to have with someone, or an activity, going over it again and again after it ended – what a waste of time this is. Even without it, often we feel as though time is running out, but really, we are filling up its space with so many things that actually do not belong to the moment, robbing ourselves of the space, running on the nervous energy and anxiety which exhausts us with no end.

  50. A great sharing Chris. I find myself thinking ahead of myself or about something I may have said days ago and how that may have impacted that person! Seems crazy that we waste so much time on fruitless distractions that are so unimportant in the scheme of things, rather than the here and now!

  51. The body constantly gets effected by how we think and the thoughts we are allowing to play out. Even sitting in one spot, not moving, we can totally exhaust ourselves by thinking and rethinking about the past or future.

  52. It is a great observation isn’t it to realise just how much our minds are conjuring up stories and pictures about life most of which is completely in our imagination and may be a far cry from the energetic truth of what it actually occurring. I find the Gentle Breath Meditation really supports me to stay steady so I can spot those stories and also to feel what is really going on in any situation.

  53. It seems crazy to sit in an armchair and go over in our minds what we are going to do and how we are going to do it, yes initially we have to put a plan in place and cover all bases, but after that second guessing ourselves only causes anxiety. One thing that I used to do a lot, was look at what needed doing within the house, say, sorting something out, and I would imagine doing that task and then not doing it, then imagining again another time, and not doing it. So by the time the task got done in my mind I’d already spent heaps of time thinking about it. Like you have said Chris, a total waste of time, and it is draining.

  54. Rehearsing our interactions ahead of time, it’s a total waste of time and energy because it’s done out of fear, in protection, or some kind of justification – so it’s not really the full and true us that’s doing the rehearsing, but our emotions. When we stay focused on the present moment and don’t wander off into our heads, we have all the energy and answers we need for any moment, when we’re in it. That’s not to say we don’t ever need to plan ahead – sometimes we do need to make plans, or reflect back on what just happened – but there’s a way of doing it where we stay connected to our bodies and aren’t totally checked out in our minds.

  55. This article is one of simplicity and practicality. It simply explains how practical it is to focus ones mind on where the body is at present. A sharing that we need in our world in our current times, as our mind has definitely taken our bodies for a ride that mostly is one of disregard, emotional blackmail and dis-ease.

  56. It is such a blessing to let go of the control of the thinking mind and to become my own master again and having control over my mind instead.

  57. This is a gorgeous reminder Chris to stay present with our bodies and the joy felt when we make this choice – ‘when that connection is strong I can see the beauty in what is around me. I can see the beauty in everyone that I interact with.’

  58. Over-thinking things, if we are actually able to catch ourselves in the process (as you’ve shared here Chris), can be something we choose to learn from, and learn deeply, can’t it…
    As in, why would we second guess ourselves? Why would we need to run something from the past or the future, over and over and over in our minds, thereby disconnecting ourselves from the present moment? There will always be something underlying here to address – whether through our own exploration and/or with the support of a wise practitioner, it is well worth digging a little deeper and addressing why our mind is being ruled by nervous energy (in the over-thinking) in the first place…

    1. Indeed Victoria, that will be a wise thing to do, to explore why for heaven sake we wonder in our mind while we have a life in the here and now where we have the opportunity over and over again to learn and to evolve. While we are not ‘at home’ so to say, we do miss the wondrousness of this and stay trapped in the old way of living and in fact stay bereft of the many evolutionary steps which are on offer for us all the time.

  59. How powerfully and truly we can actually respond to any situation or conversation, when we are present with ourselves and our own bodies…
    I’ve also found it futile to try to plan any conversation ‘ahead’ of time Chris – the whole notion coming from anxiousness and lack of presence in the first place, and then actually robbing the other involved of receiving ‘us’, instead receiving a rehearsed response that is not in the slightest bit authentic.

  60. ‘Oops, there I go again’; what beautiful, gentle self talk to reconnect to our true selves and purpose. Thank you Chris for the timely reminder to not over-think things but to live from the wisdom of our heart and body.

  61. Thank you Chris for sharing all this – I can relate to what you say about how healing it can be to truly observe our thoughts – to see if they are running off in distractions or worry that serves no real purpose and if so to bring our mind back to the simplicity of being with the task at hand and not over-planning ahead or getting lost in worrying abut something we can’t control.

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