Updated: Oct 19
Overthinking is something we all are guilty of doing but it is not essentially bad as sometimes it is quite helpful to figure things out and analyze them. The problem occurs when we go down a spiral of negative thoughts and miss out on the benefits of analysation; when we go too harsh on ourselves, never coming out of it with positive results.
How to Not Overthink
Sometimes avoiding it could be a bit of a challenge but here are few ways through which you can stop it:
1. Acknowledge that you are Overthinking
Whenever you are overthinking, don't try to avoid it because then our brain registers it as an incomplete task and we all have a tendency to go back to that incomplete task so as to complete it. Instead, acknowledge that you are overthinking so you can take some measures to solve the problem instead of running from it. Acknowledgement is the first step to deal with any mental problem.
2. Mindfulness and Breathing
Mindfulness means to be very present at the moment and not worry about the endless possibilities of the future or regret the past that has already happened. You can close your eyes and remind yourself that the future scenarios you are getting anxious about have not happened yet and won't necessarily happen either. Combine it with deep breathing to really get the benefits. Whatever you are doing really think about it. Even when you are brushing, think about the taste of the paste, or how you could clean your teeth better. Just be present.
3. Emotions Management techniques
When you are getting overwhelmed, a nice option is to perform Emotions Management Techniques. Here is one that you could try:
Choose a point and stare at it during the whole technique.
Combine the act with either patting the side of your palm or lightly massaging your knee.
In your mind, recite the sentence, "Even though I am feeling ________ (fill the blank with whatever you are feeling like worried, anxious, pain, etc.), I still chose to love, accept, heal and integrate that part of me" for 3 times.
After that take 7 deep breaths and calm yourself.
It is one technique that you can do anywhere and it also has amazing results. The reason why it works so good is that it involves acknowledging the emotion without labelling it as negative or positive but instead treating it as a basic human emotion. You can repeat it one more time if you feel the need.
Many times we make a big deal out of small incidents and the biggest reason for it happening is because when everything is in our mind, the scenarios get mixed with our strong emotions and even though the event wasn't necessarily big, it haunts us in our minds. One great way to tackle things is to write it on paper and only use logic to solve those issues instead of keeping it in our mind. Journalling might not be something you do every day but dumping out on a piece of paper helps us realise that there are so many things you don't even need to worry about.
If you find yourself doing it too frequently, then it is a good idea to cover your surroundings with some affirmations. You can keep a vision board or paste a few of them on the wall or put a nice saying as a wallpaper that constantly reminds you that it's never fruitful to worry. And, I am not talking only about positive affirmations, but I am also talking about sayings like, "If you can't change it, then don't worry about it" or reminders like "Dump it down" and "Journal".
It might not be something you can do at that moment, but it clearly is something that a lot of people say about including in your life, and they are not wrong. Many times a lot of people say that they can't meditate even when they try to, or that they suddenly don't feel a change. So here are a few things I would like to mention
It is not about thinking nothing at all or our brain coming to complete rest.
The experience is different for different people and no experience is bad or wasted.
You could go with guided meditation or peaceful background music or with complete silence and what might work for someone else might not work for you and it is okay.
The experience is neither good nor bad on its own, YOU label it as good or bad. So make sure you always say it was good, even when you didn't meet your own expectations.
Don't obsess too much on your thoughts, instead shift your focus on doing deep breathing. Positive affirmations can also be involved to make the practice better.
There are a lot of self-care things to read on the internet and there are so many things you know already but the only gap in between is Action and Consistency. You even start things but stop them because either you were busy or not in the mood, but consistency and making it a part of your lifestyle is a must. One great way to do it is to add an interesting element so you look up to that practice. Few ways are:
Find a buddy to do it with you or become a member of an online group including people on the same level as you, working on similar goals.
You can make your journal beautiful by using stickers, washi tapes and by personalising it so it has a sense of you in it. Also, use great quality stationery.
Find any physical activity you like for example yoga, badminton, swimming, gymnastics, etc. as it releases happy hormones that also last longer.
It is a journey to find your true potential. No experience or time gets wasted. The process doesn't happen overnight and you should give yourself enough time and even after you don't meet your own expectations, please don't stop. Be as easy on yourself as possible. Better mental health always requires consistency. Find your joy, do not treat it as another task on your to-do list but rather look forward to this self-care part of your day. Doing these practices daily can ensure a better life and prevent so many negative moments in your life. Live your life because it is beautiful.