Stop Overthinking

Sometimes, we can allow our minds to go on overdrive. We can have a thought, think about that thought, which leads to other thoughts, project different scenarios into that thought and without thinking, we are overthinking. This overthinking can then cause worry which can then also lead to changing our moods, which built upon can cause anxiety and stress. Overthinking can have a detrimental effect to our well-being emotionally, physically, and mentally.

Overthinking can be prevalent on a Sunday afternoon/evening before work on a Monday morning. We can dream up situations and even conversations in which might happen and then how we will react. If this continues, then what we are actually doing, is willing these situations into our life, looking out for signs that may not actually be happening, but our mind is now perceiving that these exaggerated situations are real. If this situation does not happen, then we are keeping it in the back of our mind, not letting it go, waiting for it to happen and then for us to say, ‘Hah! I knew I was right!’

We need to ask ourselves, is this how we actually want to be spending our Sunday nights, or in fact, any part of the week, day, or night?

Start to think about thinking.

The first thing we need to do, is to be aware of our thinking and also, overthinking. Everything starts with a thought, these thoughts create emotions, and our emotions then create actions – so, it is no surprise that if we are thinking sad things, it will create bad emotions within us, which will change our mood and change how we will react. As soon as you start to feel different, take a moment to think what you are thinking. Then, try to think where this thought has come from. Is this thought something that you have exaggerated or is this thought factual? Also, ask yourself whether you have had this thought before. Ask yourself whether this thought has been sitting with you for a long time, or whether it has just appeared. Sometimes, we can regurgitate thoughts from a long time ago and sometimes, these thoughts are not even our thoughts, they are projections from others. We need to be able to disassociate ourselves for a moment, to really understand whether we are taking on others’ beliefs or whether they actually resonate with who we actually are.

Deep dive to root cause.

So now you have started to think about your thoughts and whether they are your thoughts or perhaps someone else’s thoughts; ask yourself another question, when did these thoughts start? Was this after someone itching and snitching about a situation or person? Was it because these thoughts have been implanted in you, conditioned by other people’s belief system that does not sit right with you? Or even, have these thoughts been regurgitated by yourself so much, that they have now taken you to a place where reality does not exist within this situation? When we think and then overthink, what our brains are doing is trying to protect us. Our conscious mind wants to help us to be prepared for a situation by allowing us time to think about what we can say or how we can act within a future situation. However, what we need to remind ourselves with is, is that this situation has not actually happened yet. By doing all of this overthinking, we are actually creating this situation, creating this conversation that have not actually happened, creating this animosity that is then sitting around you and within you, changing your mood. The more we do this, the more our subconscious mind takes on these thoughts and conversations as if they have actually happened. We can therefore see how essential it is to stop overthinking as quickly as we can, and we can only do this when we consciously acknowledge that we are doing it.

The Three A’s

As already mentioned, we need to act when our mind is racing and taking us over. The first A is to ‘acknowledge’ that your mind is taking over. All you have to do is to acknowledge it, say to yourself, that you know your mind is saying things in quick succession without you actually placing those thoughts there intentionally, that you know these thoughts are dragging you down and that deep down, you fundamentally know are not true. So, acknowledge the thought and just like a cloud, feel it coming, notice it there and without fully engaging with it, allow it to drift off again – let it go.

The second A is to ‘attribute’ your thought quickly, is it a good thought, is it an uplifting thought, is it a true thought, it is a thought based in fear, based in worry, based in not being ‘enough’? Reframe the thought to a positive one… ‘I am not good enough… was a thought I once had, but I know that I am enough and always will be.’ ‘I am not worthy… but I am actually worthy of all that is good and true.’ ‘I don’t care… but if I really did not care, why am I feeling so angry? I will not fuel this anger anymore, so back off.’

The third A is for ‘action,’ take action to live a positive life. At first you will find this really difficult, but it is essential. I once watched a Ted Talk where the speaker herself was told to ‘fake it until she made it.’ Many people have gone through this, but it does work. Remember, reality goes where your energy flows, so plough all of your energy into positive statements about yourself and what is happening in your life. The universe will see this and bring more positivity back to you. Think of two children in a playground, one upset, angry, head down, kicking, and the other laughing, playing, head held high and smiling… which one are you gravitated towards? Always take the sunshine with you even if you are not feeling it. Allow the sunshine to warm your heart, warm your thoughts, which in turn will warm your actions and therefore naturally, warm your actions.

You are important, fact. You bring to this world so many things that others cannot because they have not had your experiences and they are not you – only you can do it. You have a purpose and people need you. We know how important a good bedtime routine is for babies, perhaps a nice lavender bath, smiles, soft music, a story, clean sheets, and early nights. We have tricked ourselves that we need things to help us to switch off and to sleep. We may have told ourselves that in order to sleep, we need to have a drink or perhaps take something to help us sleep. We may have convinced ourselves that we need to switch off by watching something on the TV until the early hours, or scrolling through social media on our phones, but this ‘chatter’ is filling our heads and certainly does not bring a calmful sleep. You need to work out a night-time routine that will allow your mind to switch off. Have a long bath with soft music and bubbles, declutter your room, have fresh sheets, perhaps read something which will make the muscles around your eyes feel heavy, and try to sleep earlier than usual. Sleep itself is a magical cure – we can see this through toddlers who refuse to give into an afternoon snooze! Be kind to yourself. Understand that the worry in your mind is not going to change anything, except rob you of sleep. So, write down your worry and at least two actions in which you can use to alleviate this worry tomorrow morning and then allow the universe to sort things out for you.

If you have work worries, too many deadlines, take the last half an hour of your day to write down how you are going to tackle things tomorrow and if there is something that you can do before you leave to take away a worry, then quickly put this to bed so you can sleep better later. If you wake up in the middle of the night with a worry, write this down taking it out of your mind and onto the paper where you can pick it up in the morning. ‘To Do’ lists are a way of getting things out of your head, prioritising, and moving forward. Think of this as a triage service as if you were in an Accident and Emergency in a hospital where everything is urgent and everyone needs assistance at the same time. However, within this urgency the nurses and doctors still prioritise and it is the ones whose life is threatened get the treatment first. Look at your list, is anything here life threatening? No, then take a step back and look at your list with fresh eyes. Prioritise, deal with it, and move on always knowing that you made the best decision at that point in time with the facts that you had. And there is another little nugget… only deal with situations using the facts and not the emotions and suppositions of others. This makes things much easier to deal with. Also, ask yourself, will you be worrying about this next week, next month, in six months’ time or even a year? Again, I am presuming not, so, don’t carry it with you for the next six months to a year – be kind to yourself and do not carry what you do not need to. Lay your worries down, deal with them and walk away.

We teach children mindfulness in schools these days, so let’s spend time, within the moment of the day to do this for ourselves as well. If you feel as though tension is rising, stop for a few seconds and breathe, concentrate on the breath that is coming into your body, being thankful for this gives you life, breathe deep into your lower abdomen and then breathe out. If you take six life-giving breaths, you will feel better. This is due to slowing down the heart rate, slowing down the adrenalin which is being pumped into your limbs through your veins, taking the vital blood away from your head into your extremities just in case your bodies need to fight or flight. Just notice this is happening and breathe yourself to your own equilibrium again. Nobody needs to notice you are doing this, but you will and that’s all that matters. Being grateful for the smallest things around us, including our breath is equally important. Be thankful for the room in which you are in, thankful for the chair you are sitting on, thankful for the friends in which you have, the body that you have. Be kind to yourself and all that you have, this will soften the hurt, the anger and the worries you have inside of you.

Whilst we are on the thought of being grateful, why don’t you try and pay forward a little gratitude towards others. My Mum died due to Covid and now, each February, on her birthday, I have started to give away eleven bunches of flowers to others in her name with the hope that her name and these flowers will brighten someone’s life as she brightened mine. We hear about people buying a coffee for the person behind us in the queue. We might just want to send a card, a postcard or even a text to let someone know that you are thinking of them. Doing a chore to help someone also goes a long way. And also, don’t forget smiles are contagious – spread a smile, spread the joy, spread the kindness and if you don’t feel it, do it anyway because you will get a smile back and the more you give away, the more positivity you will get back.

Before we leave, remember, you are never on your own, there is always people around you who you can turn to for a chat. Talk through your issues, even if this is with your boss because you will find that your mind is making things much worse than they probably are.

Take care of yourselves, be kind and stop your mind sabotaging the rest of your life through overthinking.

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All