I struggled with overthinking for years (and sometimes still do). Along the way, I’ve discovered some techniques that’ll help quiet your mind so you’ll be able to live the life you want.
Overthinking can lead to serious health issues if not resolved.
These issues include but not limited to:
- Changes in appetite- rumination can lead to binge eating episodes
- Depression and anxiety
- Stunts in creativity- this is commonly known as “analysis paralysis”
- Suicide ideation
- Lack of healthy sleep patterns
If you struggle with overthinking, know that you're not alone. Studies show that 73% of adults aged 25–35 overthink.
Practice observing your thoughts
I used to think that if I worried enough about a problem it would be solved by my constant attention.
This couldn't be further from the truth. The more I worried about the problem the worse I felt. My life was filled with binge eating and depression.
Rumination can speed up the onset of depression which leads to unhealthy vices. A way out of this unhealthy cycle is to practice observing your thoughts.
This is best done through a meditation practice.
In the beginning, meditation might be stressful because you’re sitting with all your racing thoughts. With time you’ll be able to release attachments.
The key is to know that you don’t have to take on negative thoughts. You have a choice. You’re much more than your thoughts.
Whenever I have a swirl of negative thoughts I know I have a choice to either identify them or let them go.
Again this isn't an easy process but after a while, you’ll notice how ridiculous your old thought patterns are.
You also will be made aware of thoughts you didn't know you had.
Through increased awareness, I found that I called myself a fat dirty pig and the “N” word… a lot.
So don’t be alarmed if some of the thoughts you become aware of shock you. This is perfectly normal and it’s not who you really are.
Shift your attention when you begin overthinking
As you begin to practice observing your thoughts you’ll find yourself noticing when rumination starts to take hold.
This will happen throughout your daily life as awareness increases. I found that it's best to shift my attention as quickly as possible to something worthy.
Sometimes it may take time to get out of the negative thought stream. But as long as you’re aware of what’s happening you're improving.
For instance, if you find that you call yourself a fat dirty pig as I did, reframe the thought pattern. Instead say, “I’m perfect, whole, and complete”.
If that doesn't work seek to change the subject completely. Observe the beautiful flowers or take joy in watching laughing children play.
There’s no reason for you to live a hellish life filled with negative thinking.
Develop a consistent morning routine
Overthinking is best solved by practicing feeling good as soon as you wake. It’s your birthright to feel happy and peaceful.
Your morning routine can consist of things like:
- Breathwork ( this makes you feel amazing!)
- Yoga or stretching
- Intense exercise
You set yourself up for success immediately. You’ll have fewer negative thoughts throughout the day. You’ll also be able to catch the ones that do crop up faster.
The more you do your morning routine the healthier your thoughts will become.
You’ll be able to solve problems with better solutions coming from a calmer grounded place. If you suffer from depression a morning routine helps lift you out of bed.
Take some time to develop the perfect routine. It doesn't have to be the same every day. As long as you’re able to clear your head and get into a peaceful state.
Get into your body and out of your head
In recent months my mental health took a dive. I wasn't consistent with my routine and old patterns of rumination and depression came back.
Then I lost my job ( with millions of others) because of the virus. This event in a way has helped me immensely.
I have the time now to reset.
I’m able to spend over two hours a day getting myself out of my head and into my body.
You can do the same.
Perhaps you want things to go back to normal. But instead of thinking about the “good old days”, start a routine that’ll push your life forward.
You have the power to get rid of overthinking for good. Take your time and love yourself a little more every day.