Updated: Aug 22, 2020
Do you find yourself caught in a vicious cycle of compulsive thinking? In this article I'll give you ten ways to stop overthinking.
Have you caught yourself thinking about the same thing until you find your thoughts are going around in circles? Thought loops.
Re-living a conversation or event over and over, internally criticising yourself or others.
Do you take a long time to make a decision? Over analysing and researching every option, endlessly deliberating, reading reviews, calculating and over thinking it?
Maybe you worry. Reading into the smallest of details, agonising over how others will react. Worrying about a future that may never eventuate?.
Are you the sort of person who questions your own decisions and changes your mind and changes it again? Fretting and becoming anxious, trying to predict the future.
Over-thinking is exhausting.
Overthinking can be linked to mental burnout, depression and anxiety, with chronic worrying even leading to coronary problems and suppressed immune functioning.
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So how do I stop overthinking?
Reality Check. Ask yourself.... "Is that really true?" if the answer is yes - ask the question again. "Is that really true?" Often reality becomes clouded and confused when we overthink and we convince ourselves of stories that may not be based on 100% truth. So is it really true?
Turn on your Senses. What can you hear? Can you name all the different sounds around you? What can you smell right now? Connect to your senses - guided meditation
Connect to the Body. Focus your attention on sensations in the body, can you notice any pain or numbness in your body right now? Some yogic practises use body scanning - starting at the top of your head, slowly scan through every body part, organ and internal system to detect pain or sensations. Body scan meditations can be found online.
Listen to your Heart. Make decisions based on your instincts rather than your mind - not only will the outcome be better, but you can save yourself all the stress. So does the decision make you ring like a bell or thud like a sack?
Time out. Over thinking can occurs when the mind gets trapped in minute details and loses sight of the bigger picture. Getting into nature or going somewhere that is bigger than yourself like the ocean, a forest, or a mountain top to get a higher perspective on life. As you look at the horizon ask yourself - 1. In the grand scheme of things how important is this really? 2. Is this person, event or thing really worth sacrificing my health over?
Meditation. Specific types of meditation are designed to empty the mind. Focusing on a candle flame, imagine yourself floating in space as a speck of light, chanting a mantra or reciting an affirmation.
Stop . Change Catch the thought and immediately say aloud STOP now CHANGE.
No Wrong Decisions There is no wrong decision. Every decision you make will lead to growth and learning, so there really are no mistakes in life. Consider no one way instead of one right way.
Take a Chance Do the opposite of what you would normally do. Turn 180 degrees and go in that direction, choose differently, do it just for fun, see what happens and be open to new possibilities - any decision can be undone.
Don't Worry Worry is the mind running off into the future and imagining the worse case possible. Worry brings your energy down and makes you feel hopeless and depressed, because worry stems from fear. Fear for ourselves, fear for our future or projecting your fear onto others by worrying about them. So what can you do instead of worry? Rather than worry about people, pray for the highest intentions for them, see them happy and smiling and their situation is fantastic. Think about your best possible scenario instead of the worst. What's the best thing that could happen? How would it feel? What do you look like in this new future?
What methods have you used successfully to stop overthinking?
If overthinking is ruining your life, and if you think you may be spiralling into depression because of your thoughts, it pays to get professional help. Contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit the website at www.lifeline.org.au
For more articles on mental and emotional burnout check out my blog page on balancemyworklife.com
For life coaching to help you in any area of your life, including how to stop overthinking email me at firstname.lastname@example.org