Overthinking

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:

  • Meditate
  • Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Journal
  • 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.

My Mindful Week

I wanted to create this post to discuss the mindfulness practices I implemented this week. I will start with my self-care routine I have been doing before work. I usually tend to scroll online before work, but this week I decided to change this up. I really want to read more books this year, so I decided to use my time before work to do some reading. It really helps me spark up my imagination and creativity. It also inspires me for my daily life, and my work. I learn a lot from reading. Reading allows you to think as well. I get enjoyment from reading. It gives me the opportunity to be present with my full attention.

I also like writing in my journal, during this time as well. Getting my thoughts out on paper is very therapeutic. It also helps me problem-solve, and brings clarity to the situations in my life. This time has also allowed me to mediate more. I sometimes just sit on my bed, doing nothing, but listening to my thoughts flow. One day it was sunny out, and it was nice staring at my plants with the reflection of the sun. It was nice being in the moment staring at the beauty before me. It was really relaxing just sitting there.

Going back to my thoughts. I realize thoughts do affect your emotions. It is interesting when you are aware of your thoughts, and what they do to you physically and emotionally. I was feeling down, because my thoughts were on a situation that happened at work the day prior. I was overwhelmed with work, and I was tired of being overworked, so I let out my frustration at my bosses. The confrontation left me stress, exhausted, and frustrated. All these thoughts brought me down.

I did end up feeling better at the end of the day, because I realized I had power. I realized I was overworking myself. I was doing more than I can handle. I wasn’t forced to do all that. Being angry at my job for all the work won’t help me, but recognizing I have the power to reduce the amount of work I do is quite powerful. I decided to dial it down at work the next, and felt much relief from doing so. The job didn’t overwhelm me. My high expectations of myself did. I did too much. This distinction is so important for your piece of mind.

I feel a bit embarrassed that I let out my frustrations the way I did, but it had to be done. I could not continue to hold it in. I don’t regret it. Due to my talk with them. They were able to come to a solution that can help me out, which I liked, so sometimes you gotta let people know how you feel, so something gets done. You gotta do what is best for you. I am not saying to complain all day, everyday, but there are times when you got to express your discontent with a situation.

One last thing, I got this mindfulness book for Christmas. I absolutely love it. It has reminded me that I need to live moment by moment. We do one task, thinking about what to do next, then we go to that task, thinking what we should do next. We rush from one task to another. We forget to actually live in the moments. I became aware I do this a lot, especially when I do mundane everyday tasks, like brushing my teeth, or washing dishes. I am trying to live in moments. It can be hard, during those times, and when I am at work. I do realize that even though these tasks aren’t fun. They are still part of living, and I should put my attention to it when I am in the moment. It isn’t easy, but it can be done.

I was even doing this, while I was on a walk today. Focusing on what I will do after this walk. I realized what I was doing, and put my focus on the beauty around me. I told myself, ‘I am walking, I am looking at the trees and sky. I am listening to music.’ I did this, so my mind can be in the moment, rather than having thoughts of the future, or the past. It allowed me to enjoy my walk, even more. Life is about living moment to moment. The good, the bad, the boring, they are all part of living. You got to live in the moments to fully live.