It’s that time of year when there is so much to think about…or, overthink about.
There is never a shortage of things to think about and then add in all the various technicalities of living and well, we have the perfect storm for overthinking. Other than the fact that it can waste a lot of time in overthinking, what are the other dangers of overthinking?
Here are some things to consider before you start overthinking.
- Overthinking can lead our mind to dark negative places
- Overthinking can cause us to second guess our decisions
- Overthinking creates brain fog
- Overthinking gives us the false sense of control
- Overthinking aggravates anxiety and depression
- Overthinking keeps us dwelling on the past and things we can never change
So, you get the idea and maybe some of this hits home.
What can you do to stop the looping reel of thoughts that lead to dead ends?
- Increase your awareness of your thoughts. There is a split second, between the time your brain experiences something and your reaction to it. Become aware of that space and think of the very next thought…take a deep breath and step away from that thought one moment to consider the circumstances. It’s the knee jerk reactions that set us off on thinking tangents.
- Take the good and the bad thoughts. Sometimes, all we do is think of the worst case scenario. Challenge yourself to think of the best case scenario!
- Write your thoughts down. Sometimes, writing down our thoughts helps us stop our usual patterns of overthinking and see things more clearly. In our writing we can more easily determine if we even have control of the circumstance for which we are overthinking. If you don’t have control, let it go. When you can see your thoughts on paper, you can see a way through them, not stuck in them.
- Let go of trying to be perfect. Think back to the last time you tried to make everything perfect…how many things actually went wrong on your way to so called perfection? How many people did you hurt or offend with your rigid thinking? Was it worth it? Nothing will ever be perfect so stop trying to make it all that way. Embrace anything but perfection…it’s easier said than done. This doesn’t mean you stop trying or do a lazy job, just realize all you can do is the best you can do.
- Pay attention to your emotions and feelings. We can get stuck in a thought pattern because we are scared or angry. Try to pinpoint the underlying feelings behind the thoughts. Our thoughts stem from those deep emotions that we often don’t even realize we are feeling.
The holidays are a perfect time to practice the art of letting of the overthinking. Practice some of the techniques above and see how much more relaxed you can feel when you manage your thoughts instead of your thoughts managing you.