Most of us like to think of ourselves as positive people, however sometimes we can’t help but think too much about what is going on in our lives. On occasion, we can feel as though our minds are driving us mad – with every little thought appearing to go round and round with no clear solution.
“The more you overthink the less you will understand.” – Habeeb Akande
It’s actually very easy to fall into the habit of overthinking. For example when things go wrong and you’re left alone, you may find yourself deep within your own thoughts, playing back what’s occurred and trying to analyse why things turned out the way they did. In actuality, no amount of thinking is going to change what’s already occurred. Yet that still doesn’t stop us from thinking it over in our heads! Often, the more time we spend thinking about something, the greater the chance that we’ll end up creating a new problem – something that wasn’t even there to start with, and thus feeling worse than we did to begin with! For this reason, I tend to identify overthinking as the habit of thinking yourself into a bad mood.
The good news is, however, that you can challenge your overthinking, and try to calm your brain down to give yourself a little more relaxing down-time. So here are 10 tips to help you with overthinking:
1. Understand that your overthinking is a problem
Many people overthink without even knowing they’re doing it, and as a result spend their lives in a spiral of worry and self-doubt. Once you know that you’re an over-thinker, and accept that you have a problem with it, you will be able to start challenging yourself, and trying to change the way that you approach certain situations in your life.
2. Don’t be overly hard on yourself
One thing that over-thinkers tend to do, a lot, is blame themselves for everything that happens in their life. If something goes wrong, it’s very easy indeed to blame yourself, and to think that it was probably something that you did, however more often than not this isn’t the case. Usually, anything that goes wrong isn’t even all that important in the grand scheme of things – so try to put things into perspective, and remind yourself that it isn’t the end of the world.
3. Relax, and take a breath
A lot of people don’t know how to calm down when they’re worried, however by simply taking some time out to sit and breathe, you should find that you can start to soothe your over-active mind. Sit down somewhere comfortable and take a slow, deep breath, and then hold it for a few seconds before you exhale. This can slow your heart rate, and help you to get hold of the clarity that can be missing when you’re in the middle of worrying about a situation.
4. Keep yourself busy
Nothing’s worse when you’re overthinking than sitting with nothing other than your often venomous thoughts to keep you company. It is much better to try and keep busy, as it means that you have less time to mull over whatever happens to be worrying you. Try to surround yourself with friends and family who’s company you enjoy, or even get something done around the house – doing anything is better than doing nothing, and by focussing on something that you have to think about, you should find that your mind wanders much less to things that are worrying you. Getting some physical exercise can be great, too, as the endorphins released during this type of activity can give you a much-needed boost.
“When you begin to worry, go find something to do. Get busy being a blessing to someone; do something fruitful. Talking about your problem or sitting alone, thinking about it, does no good; it serves only to make you miserable. Above all else, remember that worrying is totally useless. Worrying will not solve your problem.” – Joyce Meyer5. Accept what you cannot change, and embrace what you can
Some things in life we can control, and others we can’t. It’s important to understand the difference, because unless we can crack this, we’re likely to spend a lot of our time worrying over what we simply have no control over. Whenever you worry about something, ask yourself whether you have the ability to change it. If you think that there is something you can do, then use all of that anxious energy to put effort into your solution. If there isn’t anything that can be done, then there is little point in worrying – as it isn’t going to make things any better.
6. Try not to talk too much
A lot of the time, people may encourage you to talk about your problems as it can help to get them out in the open. While this is true for “normal” issues, if you’re an over-thinker, putting your thoughts out there is likely only to encourage you to go round and round in circles without ever finding a solution to any of your issues – because much of the time, an over-thinker will be worrying about nothing that really matters anyway.
7. Stay out of negative situations
Many people will know the types of situation that make them overthink, and if this is the case for you then it can be a good idea to try and stay out of these types of situations whenever you possibly can. For example, if you know that when you’re drunk, you tend to do things that you regret when you wake up in the morning, you should avoid alcohol. If you know that you cannot control your actions around a certain person, or perhaps even a whole group of friends, then it would be better to avoid them completely. By taking yourself out of negative situations, you can often avoid the risk of negative thoughts building up.
“Learning to distance yourself from all the negativity is one of the greatest lessons to achieve inner peace.” – Roy Bennett8. Don’t get carried away with possibilities
“What if” is a common thought for an over-thinker, and it is definitely one of the most dangerous ones to have. You can drive yourself mad with all of the different possibilities for any given situation, but that is only likely to make things worse. Of course, you can try to make sensible choices to increase your chances of a positive outcome, but once your choices have been made there is little that you can do to change them – so obsessing over what might happen next is just a waste of energy. Understanding this, and trying to change the way that you think about the consequences of your actions, could be key with regards to preventing further over-thinking in the future.
9. Remember thoughts become things
We’re on about the Law of Attraction here! Where our attention goes, energy flows. And where energy flows, things grow. Overthinking can manifest the unwanted. Always try and keep your focus on the positive things, or the things that you actually desire. The key is to focus on the wanted, not the unwanted.
“You are a creator; you create with your every thought. You often create by default, for you are getting what you are giving your attention to wanted or unwanted but you know by how it feels if what you are getting (creating) is what you are wanting or if it is not what you are wanting. (Where is your attention focused?)” – Abraham Hicks10. Have a little patience
While these tips will almost certainly help you to get a hold of your anxiety and over-thinking in the long term, nothing is an instant fix, and it is very important that you are able to understand this. Everything good takes time, and as long as you put in the effort to get hold of your thoughts, you should find that eventually they begin to lessen, leaving you with more time to enjoy life rather than worrying about things that you cannot control.
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