Overthinking is a common issue among us nowadays, just like cold or cough. The fact is that before we can even realize it, we have fallen into this trap and it's eating us from inside, making a path for other critical physical and mental issues. Even if we do, we don't actually know how to deal with it. And of course, going to a therapist comes with an altogether different set of challenges.
How do you know you are an overthinker?
-Can you never seem to relax and chill? Are you worrying 24/7?
-Is your mind constantly on the go and you can never switch it off?
-Do you have sleepless nights thinking about what happened in the past, the mistakes you committed, about what the future has in store for you? Do you worry about the present too? Like what is happening in your life? Where is it going? Had the situation been different if you reacted or behaved differently? And even after staying up the entire night, you have no solution with you?
-Do you feel comfortable thinking about the negatives and having happy thoughts scare you from head to toe?
-Are you unable to concentrate on the task at hand?
If your answer to the above questions is yes, then you are an overthinker. But we can help you with some simple tips to tackle this condition.
Awareness and acknowledgment
The first step is to have awareness about the issue and acknowledgment of the fact that you are dealing with it.
Keep yourself engaged
Indulge in activities that keep you happy. This is the time to take up that hobby you always wanted to but couldn't because of your hectic schedule.
Focusing on happy thoughts
Try distracting your mind from the negatives and focusing it on happy and positive thoughts. You can maintain a journal enlisting all the happy and negative thoughts and emotions that crop up in your mind during the day. For each negative thought, put a 5 rupee coin in a jar. Do a weekly or monthly analysis, and you will realize in which direction your thought process works.
Write happy thoughts on sticky notes or you can even purchase motivational posters. Place them on your work desk, in your room, all the places where your eyes wander so that you can catch the happy thoughts frequently.
4. Deep breathing and morning routine
The most basic hack is to practice deep breathing. Deep breath whenever possible, especially when negative thoughts or feelings encircle you. Try to develop a habit of deep breathing and exercising in the morning after waking up. Just take deep breaths and focus on your breathing. You can also do basic stretching and yoga in bed. Yes, you read it right! Just scroll through YouTube and start with the exercises in bed for beginners. Maintain this regime as it will help calm your mind and plan your day in a better way.
5. Make each step count. (Literally and figuratively).
Take up dance or Zumba classes, hit the gym or go for a walk in the morning or evening. Spending time with nature and having your sky time(a new concept of spending a couple of minutes each day in the open), will help you unclog your mind and relax.
6. Acceptance is the key
You need to accept the fact that, past can't be changed and the future is unknown. By overthinking, you are spoiling the present too. Ask the question, the issues which you are worrying about now, will they be important 5 or 10 years down the lane? If the answer is no, then, you know what to do.
As Buddha aptly said, "Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.
7. Read, read and read
Reading motivational books can help a lot. They also have activities for you to perform and self analyze yourself, which will help to initiate the change in your thought process. Exercises such as complimenting yourself each time you pass a mirror, enlisting all the negatives you have heard from others or feel about yourself, ways to take them out from your system, self love, acceptance and appreciation; will motivate you to have a holistic approach of healing and deal with the issue of overthinking.
Start meditating as it will focus your mind towards productive things and help soothe and calm your mind. Many videos and apps are available which now offer specific meditation music and audio sessions. Just play them and try drifting off to sleep. It will be beneficial for your insomnia and other issues too. (My personal favorite app is Urban Yogi).
9. Never have regrets
Life was never meant to be easy. If there are lows, the highs will not be far. Regret will only add up to your guilt which will eat you up from inside. Start noticing with each hurdle, what experience you are gaining, or what lesson did the tough phase teach you? It will help change your perspective towards life and things. Move towards happy thoughts and eventually, the situations will improve.
10. Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
Include happy foods such as seeds and nuts, egg, dark green leafy vegetables(like spinach), berries and dark chocolate, salmon, tofu, yogurt, etc. in your diet. They will help you keep stress at bay and guess what, they are healthy too. Also, drink lots of water and keep yourself hydrated.
Sometimes, it's good to leave things on time. We can't always have a plan. As Martin Luther King Jr rightly said, " You don't need to know the whole staircase, just take the first step."
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