We all have been told numerous times by elders, teachers and peers, “stop overthinking!”, wish it was so easy. We are the slaves of our mind, roaming in a never-ending labyrinth, designed, produced and directed by us. Thinking too much leads to paralysis from analysis.
Overthinking is a process enjoyed in solace. It is not an activity you normally do around people or while working. It is a luxury enjoyed by idle people.
Procrastinators defend overthinking with problem-solving, but it is not the truth. Because overthinking creates unnecessary loops in our head, which disconnect us from the reality. We become addicted to unnecessary voices leading us no where. This habit could make the most confident people suspicious or unsure.
The trigger to overthink can be a negative past experience or your vulnerability about the future. It is a state of mind, which is caused by self-doubt, self-esteem issues, traumatic experiences or anxiety. This leads to many mental illnesses and is a symptom of depression. A pure destructive force of nature and mentally draining. If you have analysed this behaviour, you should take immediate actions and professional help.
Here are 9 ways you can stop overthinking:
Do a chore –
A simple activity that could help you organise your space and your brain. Overthinking is a luxury enjoyed by idle people, hence if you are occupied, your monkey brain is at rest. So, pick up a duster, arrange your wardrobe, wash dishes, or rearrange furniture. It’ll get you out of that phase and help you relax.
Yoga has a famous saying, “Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha”, which means Yoga to stop mind chatter. Meditation is a part of yogic philosophy, it has tremendous positive effects on your brain and body. It rewires your brain positively, helping you control wild thoughts, while giving you a better perspective of life. Regular meditative practices can help you reduce stress and anxiety, while making you smarter and calmer.
Get out –
There is a strong connection between time spent in nature leading to reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. In a 2015 study, researchers compared the brain activity of healthy people after they ran in either a natural setting or an urban one. They found that those who did a nature run had lower negative emotions. You should connect with nature at least 4 times in a week, for healthy brain activity, stronger immune system and stronger body.
One of the best ways to calm your brain is to write. It provides an outlet to you for showing emotions, analysing your situation and just to let out your creativity, which could be your trapped frustration. When you put pen to paper you are giving shape to ideas. You are creating a world which exists in your brain, giving you perspective and clarity. Though overthinking creates many barriers in your head, it can also lead to breakthrough ideas, plans or strategies.
As it is written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile, gaining out of disorder, hence writing your thoughts can be your defining moment.
When you are caught up in an imaginary world of your own, get out of it by reading a structured imagination of someone else. Reading will benefit you multifold – it’ll make you smarter, sharper, improve your verbal skills and give your brain a positive stimulation. Reading is the elixir you need. It’ll stop you from overthinking, while in return give you the gift of intelligence and peace.
Spend time with your pet –
Pets are therapeutic, while they give you unadulterated love, they also whisk away your worries. They create an atmosphere which is positively charged and give you purpose in life. They are a perfect companion in your gloomy days and have also been used by doctors in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you don’t own one, volunteer in an animal shelter. Benefits remain the same when you spend time with animals and take care of them.
Humans are social animals, you gain strength from community and social bondage. Hence when your brain is on hyper active mode, cut away from solitude and meet a friend or two. They will give you love and companionship, while also providing a second perspective to your thoughts. Always discuss issues with people close to you, even if you may not find the right answers, you’ll always find a helpful second opinion.
Stop expecting perfection –
Over-thinkers are sometimes perfectionists, trying to find perfection in everything, while creating high expectations from the world. Shri Krishna says, “You should not have any expectations from anyone. The only person you can control is yourself”. Therefore you should not be affected by things or people around you. Be in control of yourself and create perfection in your own thought process. World is a combination of mistakes and errors, no system, processes or people can be perfect. Give your best but don’t expect the same in return.
This is one of the easiest things you can do to uplift your mood and thoughts. Exercising doesn’t mean lifting weights or running marathons, it can be any form of physical movement you enjoy. From a walk in the park, game of basketball or a swim in the lake. Just get out and be active.
Overthinking takes a serious toll on your well-being, increasing the risk of mental health problems. It creates an endless loop of possibilities without any actual implementation. You might think it will bring you solution, but actually it leads you nowhere. It is an internal battle of thoughts, which has no winner, but only a loser. Be positive and more action driven, it’ll bring you inner peace and calm.