Overthinking. That lovely symptom of anxiety and worry.
That thing that makes the smallest detail feel like the world is on top of you.
What if this . . .?
What if that . . .?
Please, mind, shut the fuck up!
When was the last time you caught yourself overthinking stuff? Probably recently. It doesn’t take much to send our brains into overdrive. A bit of extra stress will do the job. That can lead to all sorts of further problems – thinking too much about trivial made up BS is just one of those problems.
Overthinking can be quite innocent. Like when we’re doing something boring and our minds drift off into thoughts about what we’re going to have for dinner and the shoes we saw yesterday that we can’t afford to buy. But most of the time, overthinking is destructive. It causes us extra unnecessary pain and suffering in the form of copious amounts of anxiety and stress.
Why is thinking too much, or overthinking, dangerous?
Because if we think about something long enough, we’ll always find something to worry about – even if it’s made up. We’ll always find or create a reason not to do something.
Enough. Let’s shut it down. Let’s get back control.
Here are three ways to deal with overthinking to stop yourself from the danger of thinking too much.
#1: Overthinking is a choice
Here’s the deal about overthinking: It’s a choice.
There is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is something that we can’t avoid. Suffering is a choice.
When we get bad news, it causes us pain. If we let that bad news linger and allow it to stay with us, that is suffering.
Overthinking is a form of suffering, so we’ve got a choice.
It might not feel like it at the time – when our minds are racing a hundred miles an hour – but when it comes to overthinking, it’s always a choice. We have the option of putting our mind somewhere else.
When we overthink, we don’t do ourselves any favours. We tend to sit still or pace up and down in the same direction. We focus on one issue, and like I mentioned, if we spend enough time on something we’ll always find something to worry about.
By sitting still, pacing and focusing intensely on one problem, we allow our thoughts to spiral out of control, grow multiple legs, arms and heads, and do what they like. We feel powerless to its control, and yet, it’s us doing all the destruction.
Overthinking has no power. You have the power. That means you hold all the cards.
So that’s #1 to dealing with overthinking: Knowing that the power is with you.
#2: Your thoughts aren’t reality
To keep this simple, I want you to picture your thoughts having two stages.
STAGE ONE: The thought
STAGE TWO: The reality
Stage two is the most important part.
With the 60,000+ daily thoughts we have each day, it’s rare that any of them are reality. But when we overthink, we get it into our heads that somehow all our thoughts are real. Whatever we worry about is real.
What absolute BS!
Your thoughts are very rarely reality. Most of the time they are fake news - far from the realms of fact. Like the thought you had about everyone talking about you. Pure bollocks. People have better things to do. You might get five minutes of attention, but people move on – quickly. They are consumed by their own thoughts and problems.
So that’s #2 to dealing with overthinking: Knowing that most of your thoughts are bollocks. (And paranoia isn’t worth it.)
#3: Get up, get busy, and stay active
Like I mentioned in #1, we are our worst enemy when it comes to overthinking. We sit still, pace, focus intensely and let our thoughts run the show.
Sitting still is the worst thing we can do when we’re overthinking. Silence isn’t good. It lets in all the bad stuff.
We’ve got to channel this creative thinking somewhere else by focusing on something worth our time. The alternative is those thoughts and silence being used to create more anxiety and worry.
Quick question: What are you putting off?
What could you be doing rather than sitting and allowing anxious thoughts to take over?
What is a better use of your time and effort?
The worry will always be there, whether or not you choose to sit and let it take you over or get up and do something else. You might as well do something better with your time rather than make it worse.
You might not feel like doing something when you’re feeling anxious and worrying, but that’s the point. The overthinking wants to keep you trapped in thought. But no matter how trapped you might feel, you have a choice to get up and get busy.
By busying ourselves, we channel our focus and thoughts on more productive things. They might be trivial, like a bit of a spring-clean, but I’d rather do that than suffer more of this bloody overthinking about crap that don’t matter – wouldn’t you?
So that’s #3 to dealing with overthinking: In a nutshell, don’t sit still. Get up and get busy.
ANXIETY REBALANCE COURSE
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