December 8, 2017

10+ Experts Reveal Incredibly Helpful Tips and Techniques To Overcome Overthinking

How To Overcome Overthinking

“Don't get too deep, it leads to over thinking, and over thinking leads to problems that doesn't even exist in the first place.”

- Jayson Engay

In this column, you will learn simple but powerful tips on how to overcome overthinking from a wide range of experts. 

Clicking on the expert names below will take you to their individual blurb on how to overcome overthinking.

# Follow the 5 tips below

Beth Clayton

One of the most powerful realizations I have ever experienced is that I am not my thoughts. I am not my feelings, but that I am the observer of my thoughts and my feelings.

For the longest time, I was living in complete reactivity to my thoughts. The thought was there so of course it must be true! I believed my truest self was speaking through my thoughts and my feelings until I realized, that if that was true, my truest self must be a raving lunatic. On some days, she felt great, and the world was a beautiful abundant place. On other days, everything and everyone was out to get her. Listening and attaching to my thoughts was an emotional roller coaster.

I was slowly waking up to the fact that I couldn’t rely on my thoughts to separate fact from fiction, truth from fairytale. Living in my thoughts and following them to their winding and often dark emotional destinations was leaving me stressed, distracted, burnt out and feeling the urge to numb or quiet the thoughts with food, technology, and booze.

So, how do we stop over-thinking?

The truth is we can’t stop overthinking any more than we can stop our bodies from digesting food. Our brain is an organ just like our stomach is and its whole job is to think, to ask “why” something is happening, to engage in constant commentary of the present moment, to forecast what is going to happen next, to spew judgments about ourselves and others, to compare us to others. That is its very nature.

And our emotional bodies react to those thoughts. As we attach to each new thought being true, we will notice our body emotionally expanding or contracting.

The mind’s job, at the very root of it all is to keep us emotionally and physically safe and because of that, it is negativity bias. It is always looking for what is not working or what could go wrong and it uses our past experiences as a road map for avoiding potential physical or emotional land mines. It is constantly trying to figure out how to avoid painful or uncomfortable situations by projecting them onto the future.

It’s not possible to shut our minds off, or telling our thoughts to shut up and sit down. They are just doing their job. The more you think about how your thoughts are wrong or try to resist them, the more entrapped you are in the realm of thoughts. It is rather about understanding their role and inquiring into their actual truth.

Thoughts can be incredible tools to build a house or to tear down a house. We just have to choose them consciously.

In the moments we notice our thoughts spinning, we need to practice feeding the observer more and more; the meta-computer that recognizes the software. This breaks the chain of thoughts.

There are many words people use for the observer from a spiritual perspective; soul, source energy, spirit, awakened presence, but even if those words or ideas don’t resonate, we can still recognize this presence within us. We can most easily recognize it when time stops are we are pure experience. Some people feel it on the top of a mountain or in a yoga class. Others feel it onstage. Others experience it when they are playing sports. Others yet experience while performing surgery or in church. The common denominator? We are relying on deep personal knowing rather than thoughts.

So, how can we connect and feed this part of ourselves, so that our thoughts don’t have as much power.

1. Breathe.  

When you are experiencing stressful thought, one of the most powerful hacks you can use in the moment to shift awareness from your mind to your body is to breathe consciously. Take 10 sleep and slow breaths, focusing only on the inflow and outflow of your breath. Count them in and out to amplify focus. Put your hand on your chest and allow yourself to feel whatever is going on fully until it starts to diminish.

2. Notice your common offender stressful thought patterns/ and behaviors.

After allowing yourself to breath and feel, you can analyze what is going on. Feeling stressed or burnt out is a really good sign that you are trapped in a cycle of over-thinking. Your body is reacting to each thing that could go wrong, each self-judgment as if it is truth, and having a crazy internal experience when everything in the present moment is actually the same. Start tracking the common offender thoughts and you will start to see some patterns. Your stress typically leads you down the path to your deeper fears.

What behaviors tend to spark these stressful thoughts?

It could be something like checking social media or weighing ourselves every day.  If it is fuel for your obsessive thinking and stressful, it may be best to create boundaries around them.

3. Reality check your stressful thoughts.

Ask yourself if the thought is unequivocally true. Do you have enough data to freak out?  Is it absolutely true that “x, y, z” is going to happen? How do you interact with the world when I think that is going to happen? Are there examples where the opposite is true?  Is the thought helping you or hurting you? It can help to journal this out and get the obsessive thoughts out of your mind and on paper.

4. Notice the activities in your life where you consistently experience pure presence.

Undoubtedly, we all have activities in our lives where we are free from cluttering and obsessive thinking. For some, this is yoga, others meditation. For some it is listening to music or taking soul strolls in the mountains, swimming or dancing. Start to pay attention and track the activities that feed you in this way.

5. Create daily self-care rituals around these activities.

Choose 1-2 activities that you can start to create ritual and habitual practices around in your daily life. It could look like 20 minutes of meditation a day and a couple of hikes a week. Plus, there tend to be added bonuses to these practices for your body and mind (fitness, lower stress levels, more efficient problem solving). Start small and then add practices on.

In order to stop over-thinking, we must first have the awareness that we are not our thoughts, they aren’t necessarily true, they are often springing from trying to avoid past pain and that they are just doing their job. Our job is then to feed “the beast” of the observer, of present moment consciousness more and more.

Beth Clayton, Lifestyle Coach - www.soulbodylife.com

# Build awareness to get to the bottom of the ‘whys’
Debbie Glover

Overthinking is another symptom of anxiety and presents in various ways: We have regrets; we second guess ourselves; we ruminate; we ‘beat ourselves up.’

Overthinking is our psyche’s way of ‘helping’ solve the problem. That’s the good news: we are trying to find a solution to a legitimate concern or ‘problem.’ The unfortunate piece is that overthinking, although designed to help us, sometimes gets in our way and is not helpful at all. We can stop ourselves from self-sabotaging patterns such as overthinking through building awareness and finding legitimate real-life solutions to the problems that are vexing us.

Patterns such as overthinking require our attention.

When we become aware that we are stuck, or ruminating, we want to get to the bottom of what our psyche is trying to tell us. -be warned, however. Sometimes we are avoiding looking at issues that are causing us pain; which is why we stay stuck at time L Tools such as journaling can help us explore, understand, and come up with positive solutions.

Acknowledging what we are feeling is the first step toward resolution.

Write down what you feel. Write down the circumstances. Try to explore fully the details of the event/events you are continuing to ponder. Many times, what we find underlying our struggle is an inability to let go of some aspect of some situation or response to a situation.

When this is the case, we may be avoiding grieving.

Grief is an important part of finding resolution but it can also be very painful; which is why we avoid working through it. Grief requires accepting things the way they are and committing to starting from the point of grief. This does not make it easy but avoiding the grieving process only prolongs it.

If this is what you discover about your situation, you may need help working through it. If so, there are many resources available to help you through your process. Find a support group of folks who are struggling through similar or the same situation, or find a private therapist in your area. 

In many places, civic organizations and community organizations such as the YMCA offer counseling help as well. And if you have a supportive group of friends or family members, these folks can be a great help while you work through the difficulty.

Building awareness to get to the bottom of the ‘whys’ in your processes can be a very empowering first step toward personal recovery and a more balanced life journey.

When we acknowledge our needs, and spend time answering our own questions, when we face the situations we have been avoiding or trying to avoid, we are on our way to self-acceptance, balance and homeostasis.

Happy journeying!

Debbie Glover, LPC - www.debbiepglover.wixsite.com/counseling

# Go with your first instinct
Madeleine Gottlieb Boskovitz

For many of us, there is a clear voice of intuition that helps us make a decision when faced with different choices.

We have learned to recognize and honor our voice.

However, for many others, that voice is very little, seems to disappear as quickly as it came, gets immediately repressed, and we make the choice that others expect of us. Sometimes, we are ok with it, many times, it is at a cost to ourselves.

For still many others, we listen to the voice, and make the initial choice, but it is quickly tainted with what we call overthinking. What will that look like if I do this? What will others think of me? Will my parents approve? Will my family be shocked or feel hurt? We start to doubt our instinct and to want to conform to what we think are others’ expectations. But is that what we really want for ourselves? We are often torn and feel indecisive.

My advice is: go with your first instinct – it is usually right for you.

Then, leave the decision alone. Dealing with others’ reactions is a separate item. You may want to consider speaking up for yourself, standing by your decision as the one that you needed to make. Demand respect for your decision – it is your decision and your life. Others respect a strong and secure stance.

For teens and young adults, the voice is usually there, but is often covered up due to perceived peer pressure. Will they think me a coward? Will they still like me if I say no? will they make fun of me? Will they speak behind my back? It is important not to let others’ opinions influence your decisions due to this kind of fear. Even teens will admire you and respect you for your strong stance and decision. Maybe, you’ll even inspire others to take better care of themselves.

So, all in all, your gut speaks for your well-being, for what fits you in your life.

It is important to have the confidence and the courage to listen to yourself and to stick with your decisions. Self-respect is the most important quality. Others’ respect will follow naturally.  People are attracted to strong personalities.

Madeleine Boskovitz, Ph.D - www.iwanttobeme.org

# Follow the 6 tips below
Renae Cerquitella

I received call a few weeks ago from a delightful client of mine named Angela.

Almost immediately I could tell she was worried. I could almost hear her mind racing as she stacked her words on top of each other, delivering a stream of thoughts, fears and panic.

Angela explained that a few days before, a colleague made a remark about her in front of their team. The comment, Angela explained, was so upsetting that since then she has spent almost every waking moment going over and over what was said, what others thought and what she should do.

“Go ahead and take the lead Angela, you’ll end up telling us what to do anyway,” was the sentence that had prompted a hurricane of thoughts that left Angela perplexed and more importantly, overthinking. I knew Angela was overthinking the comment as soon as she shared with me how long ago the comment was made.  

My heart broke for her.

I understood where her head was in that moment. I’ve been in that head space many times. Her words were pouring out in between tears, “Why did she say that? I bet everyone thinks I’m such an idiot; they’re probably talking about me. Do I really boss people around like that? I mean, someone has to take the lead, but now I have a reputation of being bossy.”

Like Angela, we sometimes experience off-handed remarks made by other people. When we are emotionally centered and feel self-confident, unsavory remarks cause little discomfort. However, when we aren’t centered or self-confident, remarks or scenarios can rock us to the core, causing us to examine remarks repeatedly and sometimes obsessively.

If you find yourself high-center on the remarks or behaviors of another person, you are probably overthinking.

Overthinking is a thief of happiness and joy and keeps us in a place where we aren’t living the life we want.

When we repeat a thought over and over, we are no longer in the present moment. We are stuck in the past tending to something we have no control over or ability to change.

Like Angela, we all experience situations where we think about what happened and what we should have done. That’s okay until you start overthinking.

Below are some tips that I shared with Angela that you can try when you find yourself overthinking.

1. Get yourself centered.

Step away from the situation if needed. Take a walk and take several deep breaths. You can clear your thoughts by speaking out loud everything you see. For example, “trees, grass, house, birds.” When you speak out loud what you see, you slow down your brain, curb overthinking and obsessive thoughts.

2. Once you have centered, remove all the emotion out of what just happened.

If we strip out all the emotions and only the facts (or what was said) remain, we go from “She said I always take the lead and now everyone is talking about me,” to “She said I always take the lead.”

3. Now that you have the facts of what was said, what value are you adding?

“She said I always take the lead,” is a fact because that is what was said, Angela added the value, “now everyone is talking about me.” Stop adding value. It’s not your job or responsibility to assume what others are thinking or doing.

4. Is it true?

“She said I always take the lead.” Yes or no? No “yeah, buts” or any caveats before your answer.

5. Now, examine your behavior.

Does your behavior needs some adjusting? Because you want to be your best, when you aren’t emotionally charged, ask people you trust if they notice that behavior and how you can improve.

6. So what? Is a wonderful way to break overthinking.

“She said I always take the lead. So, what?” Have you caused pain, hurt, or discomfort? If you have, then fix it and do better next time. If someone is talking about you, so what? You don’t have to worry about it if you are doing your best.

By slowing things down, removing the emotion and conducting some self-inquiry, Angela could take a more objective look at what her colleague said. What she concluded was she does take the lead a lot. She is a go-getter and motivator and she doesn’t apologize for that (awesome!).

Our call ended with Angela deciding she would talk to her colleague about the statement and report back the outcome.

I received an email yesterday from Angela that detailed the incredible outcome. With her permission, below is an excerpt from her email.

“I’m so glad I talked to my co-worker Beth about what she said. I was completely wrong about almost everything! Beth said that because I do take the lead and the responsibility seems to always land on my lap and it wasn’t fair. Beth said that she and the rest of the team should take ownership and learn how to lead, but she wasn’t sure how start. I told her how I thought I had done something wrong and she assured me I hadn’t.

We came up with a plan for every team member to take turns being the lead on projects. We took the idea to our boss. She loved it! Starting next month team members will take turns leading projects. I almost made this worse by worrying about it so much.”

Angela was right. Overthinking usually doesn’t fix a problem and often can make things worse.

Remember, you control you and words or circumstances only have power when you place value on them. If you think something is good, bad, happy or sad, or matters, it does.

Renae Cerquitella, MHR, BHCM, CLC, CRC – www.StartHereCoachingServices.com

# Follow the 6 tips below
Estra Roell

Have you ever found yourself going around and around in your head when trying to make a decision or figure something out?

In the end, you feel more confused, stressed out and unsure than ever. That’s a sign you’re overthinking.

Overthinking paralyzes you.

Getting stuck in your head keeps you from making forward progress and the main emotion connected with it is fear.

I used to be an over-thinker. I know what it feels like to be trapped in place for fear of making the wrong choice. You keep weighing all the possibilities of outcomes endlessly. The mind can be a tricky place. It will easily imagine the worst. And, we are hard-wired to look for danger. In our modern life, though, what the mind perceives as a threat isn’t necessarily as dire as being immediately eaten by a predator.

Fortunately, there are ways to release yourself from over-thinking.

1. Instead of thinking of what can go wrong, think of what can go right.

I call thinking of what can go wrong, “What if Down.” Notice what your thoughts are about. Usually, they are about all the things that could go wrong. For example: “What if I bungle my presentation?” “What if everyone thinks I’m an idiot?” “What if I run out of money?”

When you catch yourself doing this, turn the thoughts around to “What if something great happens?” I call that, “What if Up.” So, what if everything worked out better than you could have imagined? What if it was easy? What if it was a wonderful experience? “What if my presentation went really well?”

Try that and notice the difference it makes in how you feel. Now you will be less in your head and more into a positive feeling state. When you are in a positive feeling state you actually have better access to solutions.

2. Focus in the present moment and breathe.

To interrupt the mind chatter, sit down and say the affirmation: “ I am joyfully in the present moment.” Then focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in to the count of three, hold for one breath, then release to the count of six, hold out for one breath and repeat. Do this for five or ten minutes. This will activate

the relaxation response. Notice how your body feels, the sounds in the room, the feel of your feet on the floor, where your body is supported by your chair and any smells. Open your eyes slowly and notice the colors and shapes. How do you feel?

3. Look at what you are considering from a broader perspective.

Will this thing you’re stressing over really matter in five years? Ten? Step back from it and see if it’s really as big an issue as you are making it in your head. Chances are, it’s not.

4. Realize you can’t predict the future.

No one can do that and that’s what makes life interesting. Even the mistakes we make have something for us. You might make a wrong decision, but you can course correct if the outcome isn’t what you wanted.

5. Get into action.

Any action will do! Exercise, dance, listen to music, focus on a different task. When you are in action, it gets energy flowing and interrupts the mind chatter. Then you may be surprised at the answers that suddenly show up.

6. Realize your thoughts create your reality.

What you focus on expands. The more you worry, the more you attract to you the things you worry about.

Abraham-Hicks suggests, “Make a decision and then make it the right one by getting into alignment with it.”

Getting into alignment simply means to feel good about your decision. Picture it turning out the way you want. Do a happy dance in advance of the outcome. If you can truly get into alignment with your decision, it will be the right one, with an outcome you like. If it doesn’t turn out the way you expect, what did you learn from it? Everything is ultimately FOR us.

And remember. You’ve made a lot of decisions so far in life and you’re still here. Something is working out right for you!

Estra Roell, Life Purpose Coach– www.americaslifepurposecoach.com

# Stop trying to control the whole situation

Are you someone who overthinks everything you say or do?

Do you worry about how your words or actions will be interpreted? Are you wary of “rocking the boat” or upsetting another person? If that’s the case, I’d guess that you were raised with a lot of criticism or you’re currently living with someone who doesn’t really accept you for who you are. I would also guess that you have internalized these negative feelings and comments and play them over and over in your mind.

Too often when we worry about how we will be perceived, we become stiff, lose our spontaneity, and start trying to be perfect.

This shuts down our awareness of our own feelings and wants, and even stops our creative thoughts. Instead, we spend all our time trying to figure out ahead of time how everything will turn out, which twists our focus from internal control to external control. That is, we start trying to figure out how to control other people and situations, rather than taking control of our own thoughts, feelings and actions.

Negative thoughts about ourselves, inner demands to be perfect, and lack of awareness about what we feel and want inevitably lead to poor relationships, poor communication, and lower and lower self-esteem. It’s a downward spiral.

But how do you get out of this disastrous vortex?

The trick is to stop trying to control the whole situation.

Instead, start with, “What am I feeling?”

This can be harder than you think. Because thoughts, events, and comments from others pour into our minds and interfere with actual feeling. Move away from thinking about the situation, to just experiencing your feeling, e.g. “I feel hurt, I feel angry, I feel disappointed.” The simpler the better.

When you say, “I feel angry that you think I’m selfish,” or “I’m mad at you for not calling,” you confuse yourself with reasons, and you sound like you’re blaming the other person for how you’re feeling. This leads to useless arguments, over-analyzing about who said and did what, and doesn’t make life any better.

You can’t really live if you are always second guessing what other people want.

Focusing inside on what YOU feel leads you to figuring out what you want, and then you’re on the path to making decisions that please you. It is much easier to figure out yourself than to try to figure out everyone else in your life.  When you’re focused on making other people like or love you more, or be more kind, or not get angry, then you’re overthinking about someone else’s life and motivation rather than living your own life.

This is YOUR life, and it’s up to you to use it wisely.

Quit spending your precious time and energy on trying to get other people to approve of you, and instead take charge of fulfilling your own destiny and direction in life. That’s where your happiness lies.

Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com

# Take time for quiet & self-reflection

April Snow

How many times have you laid down in bed after a long day, totally exhausted, yet unable to fall asleep because your mind was racing?

Perhaps you started to replay and agonize over the day’s events or wish you could decide what to do about this or that. You’re not alone. In this fast-paced world we live in, there is little time to reflect throughout the day or to slow down and think before acting. As a result, our bodies are exhausted and our minds are trying to play catch up.

When you put your head on the pillow at night, this is probably the first opportunity your mind has to review the day’s events and think more deeply about the decisions you need to make. That’s a lot of work for our poor minds to do in a short period of time.

Throughout our day, most of us experience a significant amount of stimulation and sensory input whether that be social interaction, screen time or the constant barrage of sounds and images we encounter.

Our nervous systems become overstimulated and our brains exhausted from processing all the information it constantly takes in. As a result, we end up feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Being in this state depletes our cognitive functioning and ability to think clearly. When we’re chronically occupied and distracted, there’s not much opportunity to deeply process our experiences or reflect upon decisions, so we end up overthinking.

How do we reduce our tendency to overthink?

One solution is simple and effective, yet difficult. Slowing down and creating space for quiet reflection! Integrating quiet time into your routine gives your body and mind something they desperately need. Not only could you feel more relaxed and less anxious, you’ll have more brain power and time to reflect before making decisions. 

Below are a few ideas to incorporate more downtime into your day:

  • Go to bed 30 minutes before you need to fall asleep.
  • In between work tasks, close your eyes and just breathe for a few moments.
  • Carve out time to make big decisions.
  • Say “no” to a social obligation you don’t have enough energy to attend.
  • Delegate household chores or work tasks, if possible.
  • Journal at least once per week.

Our brains want to reflect, process and make decisions, but often struggle to think clearly because of the flood of input throughout the day.

By reducing the workload our brains carry, we can free up energy to think clearly and feel confident in our decisions. Giving ourselves permission to slow down has the potential for tremendous benefits such as quieting our active minds and calming our anxious bodies.

April Snow, MA - www.expansiveheart.com

# Follow the 7 tips below

Dr.-Shannon-Tran

Have you ever been told that you are “so in your head.?”

Do you find yourself lost in thought or so preoccupied with your own thinking that it’s difficult to be present to the people or situation around you? This is from overthinking.

This used to happen to me.

I used to dwell on the past or re-play situations that I couldn’t change. I would get lost in thought and engage in a lot of “what if” thinking like “what if I just said this” or “what if I didn’t do that” When we overthink, we create anxiety about the past or future. We mistakenly believe that re-playing the negative scenario will somehow make it better. It doesn’t. Instead, it creates overthinking which keeps us trapped in the past or future, and never available to the present moment.

Overthinking can cause anxiety, depression, and a lack of connection in our relationships. We unknowingly isolate from people when we are not present. We miss important information, and we can misperceive situations.

One of the best ways to eliminate overthinking is to practice daily meditation.

You can do this in really simple ways. For example, when you wash the dishes be fully present in the experience. Feel the temperature of the water, smell the sound of the soap as you clean the dishes, watch the water fall on the dishes. Engage all of your five senses.

The practice of meditation gets you out of your head and fully into your experience.

It eliminates overthinking because you are now present and connected to the experience. When we are fully present, we are creating our experience from the present moment without making assumptions. Our minds begin to open and we feel free of negative emotions or thoughts. Our minds begin to relax and we have less pressure in our head.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to reduce brain fog, lower stress, eliminate overthinking, and reduce negative thoughts and emotions because we are more aware of our behavior.

Meditation allows us to connect with our body and feel more grounded, a balanced and connected to ourselves and others. We can tap into our body wisdom and intuition when we meditate which increases our ability to make better decisions and find solutions to enhance our life.

If you are new to meditation then I recommend that you start small.

Find a simple practice that you can do on a daily basis. Earlier I gave the example of washing the dishes. Another one could be sitting quietly in a chair for 5-10 minutes.

Take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Imagine that all of your awareness and attention is going from your head to your heart. Breathe into your heart. If it feels tight, then continue to breath until your heart opens and the pressures releases. Do a body scan and open up every area of your body. With your eyes closed activate your five senses. What do you hear? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel? What do you taste? Really engage your five senses.

This quick and powerful meditation develops your awareness muscle.

You will begin to notice the difference between when you are in your head, and when you are present and connected to your experience. Stress and anxiety starts to melt away, and you begin to feel more light. Positive feelings and thoughts begin to enter your mind, and you will notice that you are less preoccupied with the past or the future. The overthinking has stopped. You respond instead of react. You begin to create a life by design instead of default.

It is at this point that you can then implement the seven secrets to eliminating overthinking and live your best life.

1.  Clear out negative thinking patterns-let go of negative expectations.

Clear out old thoughts and beliefs that no longer benefit you or keep you trapped in negative thoughts and emotions.

2.  Build an optimistic mindset.

Learn to look for the good in every situation. Find ways to re-frame challenging situations, and learn to bounce back from setbacks. There are many ways to do this. I have an entire chapter on his in my book “Making Happiness Last.’

3.  Align your conscious desires with your subconscious beliefs.

Make sure that your beliefs match what you consciously say you want. For example, if you want to be happy but believe that you don’t deserve to be happy or that it’s not safe to be happy, then your conscious desires do not match your subconscious beliefs.

4.  Know yourself.

Decide on the person you are going to be. Who do YOU want to be? Write it out. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What motivates you? What is your WHY?

5.  Develop strong boundaries.

Have a clear “yes” and a clear “no.” Don’t tell people yes when you really mean no. Set boundaries on your time, and what you will commit to. Identify the type of boundary you need to set. Is it physical? Emotional? Financial?

6.  Identify and live your values.

What qualities are most important to you? Is it freedom? Integrity? Honesty? Adventure? Kindness? Write out your top 5 values, and make sure that your daily activities reflects those values.

7.  Invest in yourself.

Spend time with yourself. If you need help, be willing to financially and emotionally invest in yourself. Work on your own personal development every day. This increases your feelings of self-worth.

Dr. Shannon Tran – www.shannontranphd.com

# Follow the 5 tips below

Tee Sebastién

If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.” – Ernest Hemingway

Remember when someone you cared about commented on your insecurities and you couldn’t stop criticizing yourself, dwelling on several insignificant words that weren’t even true?

Or when you were paralyzed by perfectionism, not able to move forward, thinking that nothing you do will ever be good enough?

If you tend to worry too often and second guess everything, you're overthinking.

The truth is that overthinking can destroy you. It can ruin a situation and make everything worse than it actually is. And it will make you create problems that weren't even there.

Worrying can be tiresome because it drains your energy and stresses you out. So, it is crucial to make a distinction between a real problem and an imagined scenario that never happened.

Just think how wonderful it would be to use all that energy wasted on overthinking on creating a meaningful and fulfilling life.

Here are 5 simple but powerful steps to help you stop overthinking.

1. Limit the time you spend overthinking.

Plan when to think about it. It is important to start noticing when you begin to worry and give yourself permission to become aware of such thoughts. On the other hand, when negative thoughts come to mind and it is not the dedicated time, just stop and redirect. Say to yourself firmly that you are not going to talk about it at this moment. Every time you do this, you are turning this powerful action into a habit.

2. Write it down.

One of the most powerful habits that has helped me greatly in my healing journey is writing. Keeping a journal and writing about what you are experiencing will help you confront the feelings connected to the thoughts that won’t leave your mind. Seeing your thoughts written down in front of you helps you become aware of them, empowering you to take control of the situation.

3. Stay focused and limit your choices.

Fewer choices undoubtedly make decision making easier. I you have a hard time making a decision, restrict your daily choices. Taking too much time to make a decision can keep you busy doing nothing, making it incredibly hard for you to take any action.

4. Stay active.

Working out can help you let go of your worries and anxiety. No matter what form of exercise you choose, be it running, body building or even dancing, make sure you do it regularly. Push yourself further each day and see how far you can go. Focus on becoming a healthier, stronger and better version of yourself with every step you take.

5. Face your fears.

Fears are nothing more than a product of your thoughts. When you don’t face them they become your limits. So, whenever you feel that you’re lacking courage to move forward or deal with your darkest thoughts, stop and ask yourself, “How realistic are your fears and how possible is it for them to become reality?”

Be patient with yourself. Healing wounds from your past takes time, it takes time and courage to learn how to worry less. But it is possible and taking small daily steps will help you get there.

Remember to keep it simple. Remind yourself daily that you are in charge of your own happiness, not allowing anything or anyone to control you. Quit doing whatever is not contributing to your wellbeing and contentment. When you stop giving your attention to anything that makes you worry, you take over your life.

Tee Sebastién, Life Coach - www.growbrilliant.org

# Be in the present

Kimberly Speer

 “I’ve got 99 problems and 86 of them are completely made up scenarios in my head that I’m stressing about for absolutely no logical reason” – Unknown

The wondering mind, it happens to the best of us

We have a fight with our friend, spouse, co-worker, or kid and suddenly everything is on replay in our minds for the rest of the day.  We go over what was said, what body language was used, what we wished we would have said.  Or maybe we have a trip coming up, it’s exciting and we can’t wait to be on vacation.  We are thinking about what we want to do, what we have to pack, how we are getting there, the list is endless. Even though these are examples of very different thoughts, the result is the same. We are missing out on the moment that is right here in front of us!

It’s so easy to get trapped in this cycle of overthinking

Somehow we have convinced ourselves that if we worry enough, if we think about it enough, that everything will work out ok.  But I promise you, if you never again think of the past, it will still have happened.  If you never again worry about the future, it will still come to pass, even if it passes in a different way than you would have imagined.

The fact of the matter is the past is in the past and no amount of replaying it in your mind can change that

The future has yet to happen and no amount of worrying is going to change that.  Now I am not saying never learn from your past and aim for a better future.  You just have to draw the line at how much of today you are willing to give up by living somewhere else in your head.

One of the best things about our brain is that we train it how to function

If you have spent years training it to worry it will seem a little difficult at first to train it to stop.  One of my favorite approaches when I am overthinking is to picture a stop sign.  I count the eight sides, I look at the color in my mind, and I see the big bold letters.  This is just to remind me that I am in control of what I think about.

Once I have stopped the cycle of thoughts I make a conscious decision to focus on something happening right now in this very moment

I may be my breathing, the sound of the key board as I type, or the song of the birds.  Whatever it is I focus solely on that one thing.  This is very grounding and brings me back to the only moment that matters, the present.  Somedays I do this once, and somedays it feels like I have done it 50 times, but no matter what, peace always seems to come back to me when I am able to be in the present moment.

Finally, setting aside a set “worry” time is helpful too

Pick a time each day that you can sit and worry for no more than 30 minutes (15 is ideal). If you are just starting out or dealing with something overly stressful you can do this two to three times a day while retraining your brain.  The idea is not to stop worrying or overthinking all together, but more to have the worrying and overthinking be at a set time and place so that you are free to enjoy the rest of the day and really live life.  This way when thoughts come up you can just thank your brain for bringing it to your attention, and let your brain know that you will think about this later today at your set worry time.

We are only guaranteed this one life and this one moment, so live in the here and now. Enjoy what you have in front of you at this very moment, for if you don’t, it will be just one more thing for you to overthink down the road!

Kimberly Speer, CLC, ELIMP - www.destinybydesignlifecoaching.com

# Follow the 7 tips below

Margaret-Bell

 You have goals and dreams.  You have ideas and things you want to do. And then, overthinking comes in and stop you before you ever get started. Overthinking has the power to keep you stuck.

Here are some tips to help you stop overthinking and get back to being the amazing you!

1. Breath.

Place one hand on your chest, one hand on your stomach. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on the breath filling your lungs and exiting your body. As you breath in count to 4, hold, on the exhale count 4 and hold. Do a few repetitions of this breathing. This helps to realign your body and mind, as well as, has a relaxing effect.

2. Be in the now.

Pull yourself into the moment. Right now. This very moment. The now. To do this, what are 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste? Playing with pets and children can be a wonderful way to pull you into the now, as well as being in nature.

3. Laugh.

Laughter is a great stress reliever. It also pulls you into the moment and relaxes the body and mind. It can also be a distraction if you are searching the web for something funny.

4. Think positive.

Years ago I read in a Sonia Choquette book, the phrase, “Positive expectancy and trust.” These are great works to say to yourself when you start to feel anxious or overthinking a situation. It pulls you back into the moment. It aligns you with your highest good. It aids you in attracting what you want to attract.

5. Make a list.

Sometimes, we get caught up in overthinking and everything we have to get done for the day and before we know it snowballs. Make a list of the million things you want to do. Just keep going, let it all out. Then go back and prioritize. Things you can do today (pick 3-anything more overwhelms the mind). Things you can do this week, this month and so on.

6. Argue with yourself.

Overthinking can take over and before you know it, you’ve created a hundred different scenarios in which you are trying to problem solve the outcome for each. Next thing you know it you are anxious and overwhelmed. Challenge your thinking. Ask yourself, is that really going to happen? How do you know it’s going to happen?

7. Distract yourself.

Do something different that takes your mind away from overthinking. Go for a walk. Read a book. Listen to music. Dance. Call and talk to someone.

I hope these help you next time you are stuck overthinking something. Give yourself permission be in the moment. Overthinking doesn’t have to keep you stuck, you have the power to move through it!

Margaret Bell, MA, NCC – www.forwardkindheart.com

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