Overthinking – tips to make it stop
Overthinking is a common complaint for many people. It’s when you find yourself thinking about the same thing over and over again? It might be something small. Like deciding whether to buy those expensive but terrific pants you saw yesterday. Or it could a something big like which house to buy or whether to take that huge job offer. Many of us spend too much time thinking about these things and that’s when it creates a problem. It can start by you feeling uncomfortable all the time and even affect your sleep. It is normal for everyone perhaps have things that worry them and to rethink life when deciding which path to take but if it becomes a constant habit then it becomes an issue.
Why is overthinking so bad?
Our minds have the capability to create, discover and dwell on thousands of thoughts. We may not always be aware of these however a lot of them don’t serve us in any way and drop away. They do however cross your mind and can affect the quality of your thoughts, your concentration, and your inner peace. An example of this may be when you’re at work reading emails you will find that as you read your concentration is not fully on them, with other random thoughts popping into your mind. Some of these other thoughts may include things you have said or done. Or it could be thoughts regarding your performance at work. You could be concerned about something that is fearful for you and this creates the overthinking.
The problem that comes with overthinking are negative thoughts and anxiety. Everyone has a fear of something. However, for some, most of these fears are the creation of our own mind. Anxiety and depression are common problems that coincide with the habit of overthinking. It can be easy to get anxiety issues if you’re overthinking all the time. When you overthink, you may also find it hard to make decision. It can make you mentally fatigued, resulting in you feeling uncomfortable. Also, it can affect your sleep, which then affects your moods and quality of life.
Ways to combat it
Learn to Focus
By focusing on what is present instead of the ‘what ifs’ you stay in the moment. We do need to think about the future consequences of our decisions but we should not spend too much time on this. Take a break from thinking about it before you become overly concerned. To focus on the present means you may be more open to life and be happier. Remember your future is unpredictable to some extent and whilst it is good to plan, life can change, depending on circumstances, in an instant.
Let go of the negative thoughts, focus on the positive
How many of your thoughts are negative? Remember that failure in one situation doesn’t mean you have failed in everything. Go easy on yourself and cancel and delete your negative thoughts just like you would press the button to delete on your phone or computer if you typed something wrong. Think cancel and delete and don’t believe your negative thinking. Twist it and make it into something positive.
The benefit of having a pet
Owning a pet is good for your mental health as they often love you unconditionally and will help you forget your overthinking as you tend to their needs and play with them.
Become engrossed in a good film
Sometimes watching a good movie will make you feel better. Sometimes you will find that the character in the movie is someone that you can relate to and they can help you understand yourself better. Of course, you may watch movies just because you enjoy them but sometimes you may come across a movie that can change the way you think and feel. Movies also help give you a break from whatever that problem is that is bothering you. The stories in movies can also sometimes offer you a different perspective and help you understand and make sense of the world.
Remember you are not alone
If you live alone or are in a new city remember that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Being alone doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be sad. There is always someone that is willing to listen and help if you have problems. Share your thoughts with someone else and it will reduce your burden whilst building stronger relationships and trust with others.
Meditation and mindfulness
There is nothing better for your mental health and overthinking than a good twenty minutes of meditation. It will help you focus, bring you into the present moment, increase your concentration, eliminate those negative thoughts and calm your nervous system. When you are finished you will re-join your life with a different perspective.
There are many other ways that you can distract yourself and stop that overthinking, including writing down your positive thoughts or changing your environment. A good night’s sleep often helps you put things into better perspective. Remember to acknowledge your success and take stock of the good you have in your life. This leads to a sense of gratefulness which alters your state of mind. Also remember to declutter your environment. The saying goes that what is outside is a reflection of what is inside. Tidy up, throw things out and at the same time declutter your mind. For more information on the importance of getting rid of clutter check out https://www.wellbeing.com.au/at-home/clutter-mental-emotional-health.html
It is important to take control of your mind. It is YOUR mind and whilst a quick fix could be that treat you buy yourself it is only a temporary band aide for your negative lifestyle. Only you can bring the happiness into your life that you so ardently desire but you are not alone. Seek the assistance of a good therapist who will teach you tools to overcome your habit, help you look deeply into the reasons you focus on the negativity and help you create a positive mindset. A toolkit like this you will have the rest of your life and it is worth the effort to find the right person to help you heal your overthinking habit. Habits can and do change.