Kya karein ya na karein yeh kaisi mushkil haye? There you go, procrastinating again! Each of our brains function differently and so does the way we think… and overthink. As a result, we overthink in varying degrees too. Apart from being such a waste of time, it brings out a flurry of negative emotions and drowns you under them, keeping you away from maintaining a positive frame of mind. But how do you overcome ruminating when it feels so consuming that it appears like there’s no way out?
#BeALittleMore conscious of how you can stop overthinking with these 11 wise hacks.
1. Track Your Thought Patterns
Know what you feel when you are overthinking, aiding in knowing yourself better. This in turn will enable you to observe a pattern in your behaviour when you are ruminating and also understand your emotions better. Do you feel anxiety or fear when you’re overthinking? Or is it anger or a combination of innumerable emotions all at the same time? Knowing your emotions takes you one step closer towards identifying the cause(s) that’s pushing you towards overthinking, enabling you to treat the problem from its roots.
2. Sieve Out Your Thoughts
Our brains are always at work, unless we are asleep. And, hence, so are thoughts. They keep coming throughout the time we are awake. But, it is up to you to decide whether you really want to entertain them. You needn’t accept every thought that comes your way. Instead, you can choose to sieve them out according to their priority, keeping the ones that are important, stashing the not-so-important ones in the waitlist, and disposing of those that aren’t essential at all or are expected to do you more harm than good. Let the power stay with you in such cases, rather than you allowing your thoughts to overpower you.
3. Train Your Brain
Your brain does switch off when you are asleep. But here’s the fact – it doesn’t stop working completely. The parts of it that specialise in problem-solving remain alive and active even when you’re asleep or in a state of rest. So, when the brain is left on its own, it’s wired to go helter-skelter, overboard, and all over the place. This means that you need to know how to keep it under check at all times. And this you can do only by training it not to go on an overdrive, especially when you’re in a state of rest – the ideal time for it to overwork. An empty brain is a devil’s workshop, remember? Keep yourself diverted with activities that you love, so you don’t give your brain a chance to think beyond what is truly required.
4. Focus On Body Over Your Mind
Very similar to keeping yourself busy with activities that interest you, but with a slight twist. Here, the focus is more on your physical self and its various sensations. Practice mindfulness by putting your thoughts on the backburner first. Then, do things like placing your hand tightly on your chest to feel your heartbeats, or close your eyes and feel each point of touch of your feet on the floor. You can also try dancing and while doing so, focus on every body movement, listen to the music, and feel the vibrations.
5. Practice Meditation
Easier said than done, but try it and there’ll be no looking back. Initially, opt for a few guided meditation sessions to get you in the groove and help you understand how you can navigate your way through it. There are innumerable such classes that you can find online, some of which are even free of cost for the free few sessions.
6. Hyper-Focus On Your Daily Chores
If meditation is not your thing, you can pick up any mundane activity like folding laundry or putting your clothes out to dry, and complete the chore without letting your mind wander. Make sure you stay hyper-focussed and be in touch with the sensations that you feel throughout the activity.
7. Take The Help Of Nature
Nature is always rewarding. There is no problem that Nature cannot solve. Go for a walk or a jog amidst Nature or simply take some time out to stare at the greenery around you. If you are a city person with no or insufficient greenery in close proximity, grow some greens at your home and reap its endless dividends for your overall health – mind, body, and soul. And when there’s Nature’s bounty to floor you, there’s no scope for futile overthinking at all.
8. Journal & Get It All Out
Get it all out of your system in a journal – worry, discomfort, anxiety, fear – anything and everything that’s troubling you, making you overthink, and pushing you over the edge. Get a diary and write down everything that comes to your mind or write it down on your phone, if that sounds more convenient for you. Sooner than later you will discover how cathartic it is and how you put your mind to rest immediately. No less than therapy indeed. Either get into the habit of journaling everyday or do so whenever you feel your thoughts are becoming unbearable for you.
9. Put Yourself In The Other’s Shoes
Yet another thing that is easier to say, but make a conscious effort to analyse a situation – one that is making you overthink – from the other person’s perspective. It is likely to give you a better idea about the other’s viewpoint, making you understand the situation to some extent and perhaps help you in calming you down and dowse your overthinking spree.
10. Act Rather Than Overthink
Overthinking gets you nowhere. Instead, it has a greater adverse effect on you by taking a toll on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. The only way to get out of the rut is to take a positive step further by acting on what’s bugging you rather than just sitting back and ruminating endlessly. Be proactive and take concrete action to get the tormenting thoughts out of your mind.
11. Don’t Be Harsh On Yourself
Cut yourself some slack and show some love, care, and compassion. Because beating yourself up for everything is bound to harm you in more ways than one. Instead, focus on yourself first. Act and solve problems where there is a scope and, where there is none, let it go and spare yourself from the unnecessary worry, anger, fear, anxiety and all the other negative emotions that are burdening you down.
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