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"How To Stop Overthinking"
It will take a conscious effort to become aware and change your habit of overthinking. But the effort is totally worth it
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Overthinking is one of the most prevalent issues in modern society. It's more like a mental disorder in humankind nowadays. Whether you’re repeating in your head how you could have made a better point or replied to your boss or someone else in the meeting you had.
Beating yourself up over a mistake you made last week or fretting over how to succeed in the long run, you're addicted to compulsive thinking. Overthinkers usually find it difficult to get out of their head and that leaves them drained and also in a state of constant feeling of stress, subtle niggling and anguish.
Everyone over-think things once in a while, but if you can’t ever seem to quieten the constant noise of your thoughts; you are overwhelmed with your own thoughts and You Know It.
Why Overthinking is so bad?
Overthinking impacts a person's mental and emotional well-being immensely. When you overthink, your judgments get cloudy, your stress level and anxiety get elevated.
"You spend too much time in the negative zone of thinking, that it becomes like your comfort zone."
When in that zone, you procrastinate chronically and it becomes difficult to act consciously.
If all this feels like a familiar territory to you, here are 7 simple ways to build mental strength to free yourself from overthinking.
1. Build Awareness muscle: The first step to any change in life is awareness.
"Whatever you practice, you become good at."
As you've been practicing overthinking, you are good at it. In order to get rid of this habit, you need to build your mental muscles and practice new habits, exactly the same way as you build your physical muscles.
Start noticing and become aware every time, you have the same thought again and again. Notice that most of the times you are thinking about something that happened in the past, someone said or did something and now you're creating a story about what happened, why did that happen etc.
Tell yourself that I'm thinking repetitively without any purpose.
Let me think about this instead, and give your mind something good and purposeful to think. For example - What one thing can I do today to make my mom (friend or anyone else) happy?
2. Build your Questioning Power: Challenge yourself!
We are usually good at questioning others, but how often do you question your own self, your own mind and thoughts?
Start building the skill of questioning and challenging your thought process and belief system.
If you are fretting over why your child or spouse do not behave the way you expect them to be; question yourself like this -
Why should they be the way I want them to be?
Am I the way they would want me to be?
When I think that they do not listen to me or do not fulfill my expectations, how do I feel towards them?
Do I feel kind and loving or do I feel resentful?
How do I actually want to feel towards my loved ones?
3. Build your focus muscle: Bring your focus from problem mindset to solution mindset.
Tell yourself, all this thinking is not helping me feel better.
I don't need to think about what happened, why this happened. I only need to think about what can I do about it?
If there's nothing you can do about the situation, let it go (read further steps to learn how to let go).
Or if you know what you need to do, take action.
4. Start journal writing: Journal your thoughts.
Writing down and pouring all your thoughts is very therapeutic.
If you have never journaled your thoughts, it might seem like a task in the beginning. But once you start feeling the impact of journaling on your life, you would be hooked for life.
5. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is paying attention.
Paying attention with kindness and compassion, without any judgement.
Sit in stillness for a few minutes every day, preferably in the morning, or any other time when you are not in rush.
Watch your breath lovingly with patience. Feel every breath, filling you with life.
If a thought comes to you, watch that thought with kindness, without judging or getting influenced by it and bring your attention back to breath gently.
If a sensation comes to any body part, watch that calmly, without any need to move or scratch or do anything about the sensation and come back to the breath gently.
With just 10-12 days of daily practice, you'll feel a subtle calmness settling into your being and the train of your thoughts will start slowing down.
6. Set an intention: Every morning set an intention for the day.
Every morning, preferably after sitting a few minutes in stillness, focus on this question - Who do I want to be today?
Let the answer come to you naturally.
It might be anything like -
I want to be productive today.
I want to stay calm today.
I want to be loving today with everyone.
I want to be focused today.
Whatever your intention is, feel it in your heart and smile.
Repeat it in your heart after every hour.
You can write it on a card and keep with you.
You can save it on your phone and set an hourly reminder to remind you of your intention of the day.
7. Strengthen your gratitude Muscle: Start every single day with gratitude.
Last but not the least, breathe in the energy of gratitude every single day.
Think about what you are grateful for, to whom you are grateful for, feel that gratitude, express your gratitude to everyone you interact with.
Smile and thank yourself for doing it.
Start a Gratitude journal and write in it every day what you are grateful for.
Send genuine letters, emails or messages of gratitude to your loved ones, at least one person every day.
A little dose of Gratitude every day goes a long way to support and strengthen your mental faculties.
It will take a conscious effort to become aware and change your habit of overthinking. But the effort is totally worth it.
When you stop overthinking, you come closer to your natural being.
Go ahead and do it.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.