mindset Self-care

this year will be the year of overthinking

We continue to face a pandemic making this year the year of overthinking. It has been overly stressful for all of us. Some of us have resorted to overthinking, which is no surprise because studies have shown that stressful events can lead to rumination.

“To think too much is a disease.” 

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Notes from Underground & The Double
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 8 Ways To Overcome Overthinking

1. Be aware of when you are doing it.

The first step in changing any behavior including overthinking about everything, is to realize you are doing it. Acknowledge that you are a worrier. Becoming aware helps you gain control over it.

It’s not exactly going to be easy. After all, it’s natural for human beings to admit we have a problem, no matter how big or small. However, being aware that you overthink is the first step in understanding how your mind works.

The next time you catch yourself overthinking something, stop what you’re doing, acknowledge the fact that you are worrying about the subject and then move on. Simply by pausing and being aware can help you go back to the reality of the situation and focus on the moment.

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2. See the world from the inside out.

See the world by exploring your own hobbies. Pick up painting with watercolors or writing. Explore your feelings through drawing. Listen to music. Play an instrument. Join an online meetup group.

If you do decide to venture outside, travel to a national park and admire nature. It gives you a new perspective on life. You’re able to put aside your worry and focus on the moment.

Having a staycation helps you relax and put your mind on something else. 

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3. Distract yourself.

Distract yourself. Do something else that engages your brain when you find yourself overthinking something. One option is to journal about your overthinking. Put it all down, kind of like a brain dump on paper, then set it aside. This helps clear your mind and allows you to focus on the problem/situation/person of what is happening at that moment.

Another option is to do some type of movement such as twenty pushups or dancing around the room. Or distract yourself by reading a fun article or calling your best friend. Just do whatever you can to get yourself out of the worrying moment. It will surprise you how quickly your overthinking thoughts will become less overwhelming when you don’t let them take over.

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4. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you.

A thought is simply a thought. It isn’t a reality. It’s hard for people who tend to overthink everything not to believe every thought they have. But in truth, you have to power to control your own thoughts. When negative self-talk takes over, don’t believe it. Acknowledge it then move on. 

Just because your mind is telling you to worry about something or to be fearful about something isn’t a reason you have to listen to it. You can put this into practice every time worry tries to take over and ruin your day.

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5. Shock your senses.

Overthinking is a mental activity that involves your mind but not your body. Instead when you find yourself overthinking, do something physical. This can shock your senses by taking the power away from one area of the body and sending it to another area.

When you do this, you take away the power of the thoughts and putting focus on something else. This allows you to turn worry into a positive action. For example, when you start to overthink and feel fearful about something, smell the scents from calming lavender essential oils. The brain starts to react to the sudden change in action moving it away from the focus of the worrisome thought.

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6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

This expression has around for a while, but as an overthinker it needs to be a daily mantra. Your life will consist of things you can control and things you can’t. It’s up to you to recognize the ones you can’t control and accept them for as they are. 

You’re going to have practice letting things go. It will take time but by being aware of what you aren’t able to control, it gets easier to stop worrying so much. The things that don’t really matter shouldn’t paralyze you with worry because you’re going to have bigger more important things ahead. 

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7. You don’t have to be perfect.

Go easy on yourself. Let perfectionism go. It’s often linked to overthinking and stress or by someone striving for perfectionism as a way to deal with stress. This tends to make you more anxious because you are trying to do the impossible: being perfect.

Admit and accept your imperfections. Realize no one is perfect so let go of your overthinking and give yourself the freedom to mess up.

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8. Enjoy the scenery.

Taking pictures, especially ones of nature and landscapes is a relaxing way to calm your mind and reduce stress. When you take photographs, you are focusing on the present moment. You’re aware of the world around you and what you see though your lens/screen. This keeps you from having the time to worry since you mind can’t wander to the past or the future for that moment in time.

Another caveat to photography is how it allows you to open up and be creative. Creativity is a great stress-reducer and a good way to find balance between work and relaxation each day. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect or professional- just photograph what inspires you.

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