Overthinking is often a symptom that many complain about, when they are stressed and dissatisfied with the current situation. Have you also fallen into the trap of overthinking?
Do you feel like you are being attacked by thoughts, and you can’t get rid of them? They make you feel worse and worse, as if you are spinning in a vicious circle and the flow of thoughts is getting stronger and stronger…?
EXCESSIVE THINKING VS. “ORDINARY” THINKING
Although most of the time we are busy thinking about something, overthinking refers to those situations that are accompanied by a worsening feeling. People then often feel exhausted, nervous, in fear, helpless… And in fact, any additional thinking makes the situation even worse. But despite that, there seems to be nothing you can do to stop it.
Today’s way of life has a great influence on excessive thinking. Not only because we live at a fast pace, where we are constantly in a hurry, we do not arrive, we are pressed by various deadlines, but also because our attention is scattered in all directions.
The ability to focus is diminishing, which can have serious consequences in the long run. Even in their free time, people are often unable to switch off. They are still thinking about work, obligations, spinning the same scenarios several times in their heads…
Although thinking in itself is not bad, when we fall into a circle of thoughts that are often related to worries, fears and doubts, what happens then is that we easily lose control, especially if we do not notice early enough what we are doing.
OVERTHINKING ABOUT WHAT IS NOT UNDER OUR CONTROL
There are things that are under our control, and those that are not. When we are too preoccupied with what is not under our control, it is inevitable that we will feel bad – because we are completely helpless there.
We cannot control how other people will treat us. We cannot fully control whether and for how long we will have our current job. Nor how the boss and co-workers will behave. We cannot control the current global situation.
None of this is under our direct influence or control, but it does affect us very much – when we pay a lot of attention and importance to it. At the same time, what is under our control remains without our attention and direction.
HOW TO REDUCE OVERTHINKING?
Many people are aware that overthinking does not help them at all. In fact, it creates even bigger problems than it solves. This is logical, because it is not possible to reach a solution out of a state of worry, nervousness or fear. It’s like you are moving within a circle and it seems there is no way out…
What can we do to reduce or stop overthinking? Here are some ways:
1. Take a break
Whatever you do, occasionally take a break and focus on breathing or some object outside of you. “Freeze” the flow of thought and simply take a break. Not just from activities, but from absolutely everything. Turn off for a moment. When you “turn on” again you will notice that you are refreshed and that the flow of thought is slower.
2. Ask yourself: How does this help me?
Often when we find ourselves in a circle of overthinking, we forget a simple fact, and that is that we will not solve anything by thinking more and more, but only feel worse. Remind yourself of this often. No matter what problem you had, overthinking will not solve it.
3. Change your state, change posture!
From anxious, obsessive thoughts we feel bad and therefore a change of state, even on a physical level alone can be very helpful. Get some fresh air. Take a walk. Extend or stretch briefly.
Focus on what is currently in your environment. Notice what you observe. We tend to overthink more when we are not present where we are.
When you focus on what is currently surrounding you, at the same time your flow of thoughts slows down, and you stop overthinking.
5. Reduce distractions
Keep social networks and cell phones to a minimum and set a time when you will be available and included. Today it is a privilege to get offline, turn off your cell phone and get away from the internet and email.
Some will say they can’t afford it because of work, but if you look at how much time you spend on cell phones, the internet, and social media, you’ll agree that work wouldn’t suffer if you cut it.
Even if the demands of the job are such that your frequent presence is needed, you can ensure the necessary rest by better organizing your time.
6. Mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness and meditation slow down mental activity and are therefore extremely good at reducing stress and improving concentration.
More about how to stop overthinking you can read in this great article from Psychology Today: 6 tips to stop overthinking
NOTHING IS GOOD OR BAD IN ITSELF, BUT THINKING MAKES IT SO
Shakespeare’s famous quote says, “Nothing is good or bad in itself, but our thinking makes it so.” That is why it is important to learn to manage our thinking first, and only then to act – that is, to influence the situation in which we find ourselves.
Only then are we able to use what we have in the best way. Only then do we control our thoughts, instead them controlling us.
Want to get rid of stress and overthinking? Want to learn how to change situations and improve those you are dissatisfied with? Schedule a call with me!