Do you find yourself overthinking your relationships…
Overthinking at work…
Or even replaying and overthinking what you said to the Starbucks Barista three days ago?
Life happens triggering those thoughts that just won’t quit.
Overthinking is draining.
Mentally and physically.
It takes up precious time and energy.
The good news is, overthinking isn’t permanent.
It’s a habit and as with all other habits, it can be changed.
If you’re reading to stop overthinking and get your life back, here are five ways to stop overthinking today.
How to Stop Overthinking
Catch Yourself in the Act
Overthinking occurs when a thought circles around and around in your head.
Sometimes your brain does this on purpose so that you will release the emotion associated with the thought.
The thing is, overthinking is often done without even realizing it’s happening.
And by the time you do realize it, you’ve gone down the rabbit hole making it more challenging to get out of.
Every time you begin to overthink, catch yourself.
Become aware of the unconscious habit.
Awareness is the first step in replacing the habit with something else and giving yourself a healthy outlet for the emotions associated with the thoughts.
Change your Focus
At any given time you have the power to move your thoughts from thing to another.
Try this out for a second.
Think about a giraffe.
Now think about an octopus.
Putting this into the context of overthinking, when a thought comes in that you don’t want, move your focus to something else.
The key here is not to move your focus to “I don’t want to think about x, y, z” because that’s still focusing on what you don’t want to be thinking about.
Instead, literally shift your focus.
Use your five senses and check in with them.
What do you smell?
What do you feel?
What do you hear?
What do you taste?
What do you see?
Doing this will remove yourself from inside your head to the external world, breaking the pattern and disrupting the habit.
Rewrite the Stories – Literally
The stories we create in our head can feel like mountains we need to scale.
Or even brick walls standing in our way that seem impossible to overcome.
Once these stories are removed from our thoughts and placed onto paper in front of us, they don’t seem as big, scary, and looming as they once did.
Oftentimes, they’re almost laughable.
Journaling your thoughts onto paper allows you to poke holes in the stories running around inside your head.
This also allows you to shift your focus to whatever it is you do want.
If you’re worried about a particular outcome, rewrite the scenario on paper exactly how you want it to turn out instead.
Physically cross out the old story if you need to.
The idea here is to see the stories for what they really are.
That can be changed at any time based on your focus.
Not only that but writing thoughts onto paper is another healthy way to release pent up or stuck thoughts and emotions.
Let Go of the Past
Everything that is not happening right now has either happened in the past or has not yet happened.
And most of our thoughts are either about the future or about something from the past.
The thing is, holding onto the past is like dragging around an anchor strapped to your back.
You’re not going to get very far.
And you’re expending a lot of precious energy on something that cannot be changed.
The past is filled with lessons.
Rafiki said it best, “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”
Letting go can be easier said than done but there are many ways to release the thoughts of the past that pop-up.
You can do this with TIME Techniques which uses your subconscious mind to release old emotions that do not serve you while preserving the lessons.
Another way is to practice forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not for the other person but for you.
To release you.
Hoʻoponopono is one of the best ways to do this and in my experience, you will feel a release almost immediately.
Once you learn whatever needs to be learned from the past, you’ll find it much easier to let it go.
Release Negative Emotions in a Healthy Way
Thoughts are most often tied to an emotion.
Fear about the future.
Sadness about the past.
Overwhelm in the present.
These emotions can feel stuck and stagnant in your body and until they are released that is where they will stay.
As human beings, we go through a range of emotions throughout any given day.
Over time these emotions build.
They compound onto one another unless released.
Going off on a stranger for cutting you off is one way to release anger but it’s not the healthiest.
Some healthy ways to release emotions include:
Find a healthy way that works for you and stick to it.
Emotions will always come up.
That’s the fun part about being a human, getting to experience a range of emotions.
Don’t judge yourself for what you’re feeling, recognize it, learn the lesson from it and release it.
Thoughts are just that – Thoughts
So often we latch onto our thoughts as the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
But they’re just thoughts.
They come and go.
And we get to decide if we’re going to make a story out of them or not.
Releasing and letting go of overthinking requires checking in with yourself when it’s happening combined with finding the right tools that will help you release your hold on the thoughts.
It is possible to stop overthinking.
It is possible to get your life back.
Make the decision to change and you’re halfway there.
* This post does not replace the help of a licensed professional. If you are dealing with depression or anxiety – please seek the proper help from a licensed professional.*