Overthinking is something that we all are familiar with. From “why did I do this?” to “why didn’t I do this?” we all have asked ourselves questions that have caused serious headaches and emotional damage. Over thinking could lead to panic attacks and severe anxiety issues. It can affect your life negatively leading to a change in personality and behavior.
In order to chill out your little mouse on the wheel, you can start by practicing the following methods:
- Look at the Big picture
People who over think have a difficult time recalling things because they focus too much on the details. You can retrain your brain by performing a simple exercise: take a picture book or a photo magazine and open a random page. Study the picture for five seconds and close the book. Now try to recall everything you have seen. Since the time allotted wasn’t much, your brain is prevented from overthinking making you focus on the necessary elements. You can repeat this exercise until the time you feel that your brain’s ability to quickly process information has improved.
- Uncertainty principle
You should stop focusing on uncertainties. Over thinkers tend to dwell on questions that have no answers. They keep thinking the same thing over and over again like “what did they mean by that?” or “how could it possibly happen?” Do not torment yourself by asking such questions. If you can’t let things be then go and ask the source itself. You have to choose between peace of mind or constant turmoil, and remember… the key to every problem lies you!
“What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Solve the problem
If there is something bothering you then don’t keep thinking about it. Try to solve it. You can do this by writing down your problem on a piece of paper. This will stop your brain from trying to remember the problem. You can write all the possible solutions to your problem. If nothing can be done about it then accept it. It’s out of your control.
If it still makes you mad, try to focus on the positive things in life. And remember: do not let problems tear you down. What’s life without things to solve? The trick is, some people call them problems; other’s call them opportunities.
- Focus on other things
Idle mind attracts a lot of idle thinking. Try to make yourself busy when you feel that negative thoughts are taking control of your mind. Finish some household chores, strike up a conversation with someone, and engage yourself in creative endeavors. Don’t sit and mope about things, do something constructive which will eventually make you feel good.
- Logic and emotions
Unlike logic, emotions are not always based on facts. Usually the emotions of an over thinker are black and white. They should acknowledge the gray areas by admitting to the various gaps and uncertainties which are prevalent in this world. Things happen regardless of how you want them to happen. So if your friend doesn’t reply to your text it doesn’t mean that s/he is mad at you. You should figure out the real reason rather than over think yourself into negativity and bad humor.
- Reflect on your thoughts
Take time to reflect on your thoughts. If you catch yourself slipping into the realm of overthinking, stop right there!
Do something productive if you can’t seem to stop thinking (check #4). Another way to tackle negative thoughts is by letting them enter your head, acknowledging their presence and the harmful effects they could have, and then letting them out. This is a much healthier way to combat over thinking. Stopping our thoughts is not always good for us; at times we have to acknowledge the dark side to gain precedence over it.