By Devanshi Thakkar
Overthinking is exhausting.
When you overthink, thoughts run circles around your head and you find yourself stuck in reverse unable to move forward. More so, you start coming up with bizarre ideas that totally contradict each other.
The next time you find yourself continuously running things over in your mind, take note of how it affects your mood. Do you feel irritated, nervous, or guilty? What’s the primary emotion behind your thoughts?
Having self-awareness is key to changing your mindset.
Realize you can’t predict the future
No one can predict the future; all we have is now. If you spend the present moment worrying about the future, you are robbing yourself of your time now. Spending time on the future is simply not productive. Spend that time instead on things that give you joy.
Take a deep breath
You’ve heard it a million times, but that’s because it works. The next time you find yourself tossing and turning over your thoughts, close your eyes and breathe deeply.
- Find a comfortable place to sit and relax your neck and shoulders.
- Place one hand over your heart and the other across your belly.
- Inhale and exhale through your nose, paying attention to how your chest and stomach move as you breathe.
Try doing this exercise three times a day for 5 minutes, or whenever you have racing thoughts.
If it’s a past mistake that is eating you up, know that you are only a human being trying to do your best in life, and that mistakes are a part of the deal. Learn to let go, and be easy on yourself. It is of no use if you keep playing and replaying scenarios that you wish would have unfolded differently.
Don’t think of what can go wrong, but what can go right.
In many cases, overthinking is caused by a single emotion: fear. When you focus on all the negative things that might happen, it’s easy to become paralyzed. Next time you sense that you starting to spiral in that direction, stop. Visualize all the things that can go right and keep those thoughts present and up front.
Developing a regular meditation practice is an evidence-backed way to help clear your mind of nervous chatter by turning your attention inward.
All you need is 5 minutes and a quiet spot.
Change your view of fear
Whether you’re afraid because you’ve failed in the past, or you’re fearful of trying or overgeneralizing some other failure, remember that just because things did not work out before does not mean that has to be the outcome every time. Remember, every opportunity is a new beginning, a place to start again.
Understand that overthinking is a counter-productive habit that will lead you nowhere. If anything, it will make your mind run around in circles. To escape the trap, you can distract yourself when your mind becomes too loud by engaging in an activity that you really enjoy. Go outdoors, cycle or sprint. Do some dancing. Learn a new culinary skill. Basically anything that flexes your mind muscles.