Overthinking is a problem we all face in life, so more than others. Overthinking keeps us a way from mindful living, and keeps us stuck in the past, or future. Overthinking can be a hindrance to our happiness, peace of mind and well-being. It cultivate feelings of anxiety, frustration, sadness and more. Why do we do it?
It is our brains way of trying to understand the world around us. Our minds wants to protect us, it wants control of a situation, so it goes into overdrive trying to find a solution. The problem is, it does the opposite. Our thoughts are our mind’s way of trying to understand what happened in the past, and what will happen in the future. Overthinking can hinder our ability to problem-solve and take action. This is why the saying ‘don’t think, just do,’ is so important. The more you think, the less you do.
You would think thinking more would allow you to resolve things, but it just makes you feel worse. You just go in circles. Your thoughts are stories. They are not reality. You are creating a movie in your head, but it won’t bring you clarity or peace. Overthinking stops you from problem-solving, it stops you from taking action, and it stops you from making decisions. This is why it is important to get out of your head, and be aware that these thoughts are stories of the mind.
Ways to combat overthinking:
- Challenge your thoughts-Question your thoughts, are these thoughts facts, is there evidence to back them up
- Reframe your thoughts-Put your thoughts in a more realistic, positive light.
- Double standard technique-This is talking to yourself in the same compassionate way you would a friend. If your friend was in your situation, what would you say? If it is true for them, why not you?
Clarity and peace of mind have come from using these practices and techniques. It helps calm your thoughts and brings relief. Thinking too much has never caused me peace of mind. It has only allowed me to lose sleep, creativity, productivity among other things.
Questions to ask yourself when overthinking:
Thoughts of the past: How would this help me now? What can I learn from this? Are these thoughts helping me at the moment?
Thoughts of the future: Am I really in danger? Would I die from this? Are these thoughts helping me at this moment?
The most important question to ask is how is this helping me right now? It is important to be aware of if these thoughts are helping, or hurting you. When you are aware, you have a better chance of combating your thoughts with helpful techniques to gain peace of mind and clarity.