Overthinking happens for different reasons but is typically a result of two different things. It can be from ruminating on thoughts from the past, things we wished we had done differently or gone a different way. The other reason is from thoughts about the future, specifically worries and concerns about things that might not go well or other threats. Staying in the present can move one’s focus to today instead of ruminations about the past or worries about the future.
When you are struggling with overthinking, acknowledge the negative thoughts, but then consider what’s behind the overthinking. Are they automatic negative thoughts that can be shifted to something positive? Are you overthinking due to stress from having too much on your plate? Can you delegate? Can the overthinking be shifted to problem solving?
Take a deep breath. If the overthinking is connected with anxiety, taking a deep breath, or two or three, can help calm your sympathetic nervous system so you can relax. Building a meditation practice will help with the anxiety and shifting your focus from the stressful thoughts to something more positive.
Various studies have shown that the use of gratitude can increase one’s sense of happiness. Though gratitude journals and journal prompts may become rote over time, when you practice gratitude, put some thought into it. When you think about gratefulness for an important person in your life, experience that gratitude and pay attention to where you feel it in your body. Visualize the gratitude and consider why you are grateful for that person.
Are you spending a lot of time overthinking because you have a lot of available time that could be focused on something else? Do you need to find a hobby? Another option is helping others or volunteering in the community, both of which can shift your focus to something much bigger.
Need help with anxiety and depression, both of which can lead to ruminating, worrying, and overthinking? Message me today for a few remaining spots open in December. Too busy for regular sessions? Ask about coaching packages that include shorter sessions and/or email support.