Overthinking is one of the biggest causes of unhappiness. Overthinking can create problems that weren’t even there or may not even happen in the first place. Most of the issues or situations we conjure up in our mind are fear and worry based and do not aid us – although we think that by overthinking, we are helping or protecting ourselves somehow. What we are doing is robbing ourselves of this gift at this very moment.
Here are 10 Ways to Stop Overthinking:
Once we get started, it’s hard to stop overthinking.
1. Stop and focus on the positive things going on right now.
We have become a society that allows overthinking and negative thinking to prevail. By simply shifting your focus to what makes you happy or what you’re thankful for, you can start to retrain your mind to think more positively. Remember: It only takes one brick at a time to build a home…
Consequently, you will start to feel more peaceful and stop overthinking since you no longer put so much emphasis on the negativity you perceive within yourself and elsewhere.
Remember, energy flows where attention goes – you can stop overthinking by creating awareness behind your thoughts.
2. Repeat peaceful words to yourself throughout your day.
Pay attention to your brain at this very moment…what kinds of thoughts do you observe?
Most likely, you will notice that most of your overthinking centers around what you have to do today, what someone said that made you angry, or even degrading thoughts about yourself. Please don’t feel bad, though; maintaining a consistent positive mindset isn’t always easy with so much negativity around us. However, you can counter the negative, stress-inducing thoughts with simple, peaceful words.
Anytime you feel a bout of anxiety coming on, introduce calming words into your awareness, such as the following. Tranquil. Calm. Peaceful. Serenity. Light. Love. Relaxing. Breeze. Beach. The last two words in the sequence describe scenery, which you can do if it makes you feel peaceful. Words carry a lot of meaning and power, so use them to your advantage whenever you feel stressed out.
3. Live in the here and now.
Forget about the errands you have to run tomorrow after work, the bills you have to pay next week, or the uncertainty of your future that you haven’t even gotten to yet. When you let thoughts like these ruminate, it can cause great dis-ease within the body and even lead to anxiety, depression, chronic stress, and other serious problems. Most anxiety is caused by living in a time other than the one we have right now, so bring yourself back to the present whenever you feel your thoughts taking you elsewhere.
By allowing yourself to flow from one moment to the next, just as you did as a child, you will recapture what it means to feel true peace.
4. Get out in nature to detract from overthinking.
Nature is the perfect way to quiet a busy mind. You could do this on the weekend or during your lunch break in a nearby park. If you’re stressed out, consider going on a vacation somewhere beautiful and away from everything.
Anything you can do to strengthen your bond with nature will greatly benefit your mind and help you remember that we create the most stress we feel in our mind and body. We originated in a place of pure harmony, and most of what we see around us is just a very persistent illusion. Remember that nature doesn’t struggle through life, and you don’t have to, either. Don’t get too caught up with the trivial matters of the material world because you won’t find peace in numbers or possessions.
Truthfully, peace resides within your heart already, but Mother Earth can help you remember this by providing solace from the strains of modern society.
“There’s no Wi-Fi in the forest, but I promise you will find a better connection.”
5. Remember that you’re just an observer.
This phenomenal world appears natural, but it’s merely a persistent illusion. Next time you find yourself overthinking, remember that you’re simply one speck of consciousness in the cosmic spectacle. Everything around you may seem stressful or chaotic, but it’s only a temporary play on the world stage. Observe without getting involved by remembering that you’re a soul, and nothing that happens in this world can ever tarnish that image of perfection.
6. Let go of control.
Many people with anxiety tend to fear losing control, so they overthink situations in an attempt to prepare for the worst. However, living in this mindset takes a toll on you and keeps you in constant fight-or-flight mode. Overthinking may make you feel empowered because you’re going through every possible scenario in your head. But, reality has a way of throwing us curveballs.
We can never predict how every situation will play out, so it’s best to let the universe handle that. We can’t control the world, but thankfully, we’re perfectly capable of controlling our reactions to it.
7. Forgive and move on from the past.
Overthinking may cause you to worry excessively about past mistakes or ruminate on traumatic events. This may also signal depression, as people with the disorder commonly think about how the past affected them. Either way, living in the past will make you feel paralyzed and unable to move forward. It’s healthy to work through any issues you have and try to overcome limitations.
However, it becomes counterproductive when you focus too much on past traumas. A therapist can help you process events from your childhood that cause you suffering in the present. Or, you could try journaling about your feelings, as many people find this practice therapeutic. Shedding these old layers and emotions that no longer serve you will help you stop overthinking and learn to stay rooted in the here and now.
8. Quit thinking about the future.
Just as you shouldn’t overthink the past, you should avoid living in the future. You can’t control what will happen weeks or months from now, but you can take responsibility for the present. Live in the moment to the best of your ability, and let the future take care of itself. The universe will help guide you down the right path if you learn to let go and trust your higher self.
Many people make the mistake of living their lives in preparation for a brighter future. They believe that if they work longer hours, earn more degrees, or attain more excellent social status. They can finally find happiness. Unfortunately, they’re only setting themselves up for disappointment because they’re trying to find fulfillment outside themselves.
You can only discover that by going within and surrendering to the universal flow of life. So, don’t get caught in the trap of working toward a future that may not exist. Just do your best to serve others at the moment, and you’ll find the elusive happiness you’re yearning for.
9. Practice meditation or other mindfulness techniques.
Meditation helps you focus on the present moment and avoid overthinking. In fact, the main goal of meditation is to transcend thoughts altogether and experience higher states of consciousness. Plus, mounting evidence points to the benefits of meditation for the mind, body, and soul. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, analyzed nearly 19,000 meditation studies and found that mindfulness meditation can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain.
Meditation helps you become more aware of your thinking patterns and reconnects you with your core self. As you dive deeper into your practice, you’ll realize that your thoughts aren’t you. They’re simply waves of consciousness passing through your energy field, fleeting in nature.
You can observe your thoughts without letting them overpower you and just accept them. Then, let them go and come back to your authentic self, the observer of the phenomenal world. Doing this consistently will help you realize in your consciousness that you aren’t your thoughts.
However, it may seem difficult to maintain this peaceful mindset once you leave your home. The outside world isn’t very tranquil, but the less reactive you’ll be to stimuli, the longer you meditate.
10. Remember that most of our stresses originate in the mind.
In other words, reality doesn’t have power over you unless you allow it. Stress isn’t necessary; it’s created in our minds as an attempt to control our surroundings. The next time you find yourself overthinking, keep in mind that you can create peace.
Just as the mind creates chaos in our lives, it can also create calm if we allow ourselves to let go. This life doesn’t last forever, so there’s no point in getting emotionally involved with what’s going on.
Knowing that this life is temporary should offer solace and relief, as that means nothing here truly matters. This isn’t our home, so don’t let events happening on Earth affect you so much.
We’re meant to learn lessons here but not become attached to thoughts, people, or places. Let consciousness flow through you without needing to try or fix anything. The more you can surrender to the universe, the greater your sense of freedom and peace will become.