Whooowey! We are those people!✋ We run so many miles in our head, we could be fitness instructors. We fully raise our hands up to that…If we can think of all of the possible events which could occur, then we do that to the 100th degree. It helps us to mentally plan out every eventuality, which we fully accept is a defence mechanism. So, hop on this train and let us work through some steps and tools in order to reduce my and maybe your overthinking!
Overthinking should probably be my middle name…I constantly find myself playing over the various scenarios that could happen if I do XYZ, in that exact order. I know, I know, life isn’t as simple and easy as the order of the alphabet…but that’s just how I like things! As you may already know from one of our previous posts…(NY Resolution) I’m very much a list maker. I like things to be organized, colour coded and ready for me to spot exactly what I need and go. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I want to scream and tell my brain; “just go with it!” but I’m so used to doing things a certain way that it takes a little push to get me out of my comfort zone/my funk whatever you want to call it. I’ll be honest though, I’m getting better at just going with the flow and “making things up on the go”, taking whatever life throws at me and making it work FOR me and not working for it. I’m not too sure if that made any sense… but hey I understood what I meant lol.🤷🏾♀️
1- Breathe: Sounds simple enough and maybe it’s an oversimplification, but just sitting up straight and taking a deep breath, not only takes in more oxygen, but it helps to try and calm the mind. One of the main features in mindfulness is breathing and focusing on the breath, as it’s something in the now that we can all use. Breathing, slowing the breath and focusing on our breath, brings us to the now, brings our minds to what is actually happening, thus aiding to stop our overthinking.
2- Distraction: Try and find something which will take your mind off of what you’re overthinking or at least something that will help to relax or calm you. For us, just being out in nature or taking a walk, helps to not only give us fresh air, but it chills us out. For the times, when the weather doesn’t make it easy to go for a walk, R1 tends to listen to the relaxing sound of crashing waves, this not only slows her mind down, but it also makes her feel like she’s actually out in nature. You don’t even have to spend money on apps, YouTube has lots of videos which does the job. There are also free meditation apps which also work.
3- Write It Down: Writing things down, help to compartmentalize your thoughts. Breaking it down into quick easy visuals, help to manage our thoughts, but also it helps us to see it from another perspective. We’ve always been onto journaling, so this has been a simple and easy step for us to incorporate when we get into our overthinking train. Sometimes seeing it on paper, allows us to get it off of our minds, but it also allows us to really see just how ridiculous some of our worries might be.
Before you think it, I’ll let you know that I am not an overthinker on the daily…OK, maybe just every other day…😀 I find when I get to bed, instead of falling asleep, I can stay awake for hours just thinking. It’s not like I am searching for the meaning of life, I just think of the conversations I had that day. Moments where I was misunderstood, what I could have said instead or ways I could have explained myself better. I think about things I need to do the next day, week, month. I think about what I want out of my life, how I am feeling. I attempt to process and rationalise those feelings…the list is endless. What I know for sure, is that it’s a lot of assumptions and wasting time on things that haven’t occurred, things that are in the past, but most definitely things that I cannot control. I know that it’s a matter of mastering and calming my mind because I just replay events and find alternative versions, but at the end of the day, I know that it will not change the outcome and I lose time on worrying. Which let’s face it, isn’t healthy in more ways than one.
4- Be Present: Focus on the now. On what is actually occurring, whether in your life or as simple as what you’re wearing, eating, feeling. Bringing your mind to what is present allows us to block out the other things. Overthinking usually occurs because we’re worried, stressed or fearful of events that haven’t occurred. So focusing on what is really happening to your body or even pointing out what is in the room you’re in, allows your mind to calm down. Having something to focus on “controls” the brain, for lack of a better word to not be like a balloon losing air and flailing around a room. Resetting, breathing and setting yourself back to the now is key.
5- Find A Way To Relax: A lot of the reasons why we over think, is because our mind is racing and worrying over things we can’t control. Often times, these worries aren’t warranted and only add more fuel to our mental fires. Relaxing is a form of distraction, but more specifically, it’s meant to calm and destress you. Whether it’s a bubble bath, listening to calming music or reading a book, just finding a way to make your mind re-focus on something else, is of great benefit!
6- Talk To Someone: Overthinking is usually an internal process, it is usually a mental churning. If you find your overthinking is becoming too much, it might help to talk it out. Speaking to someone and even saying it out loud can help you to see just how irrational your overthinking can be. Especially if you have a friend who talks sense into you, speaking to someone like that can whip you into shape, but it also serves as a form of distraction, helps to clarify your thoughts and they also help to knock some sense into us!
There are many other things and steps you can use to help combat your over thinking, these were just a few and the ones we use for ourselves. You can always change or evolve the steps you take, there is no right or wrong way of doing things, we are all different and no one thing works for all. What tools or steps do you take or use to help curb your overthinking? Share with us, because we are ALL ears!