Recently, I've been struggling with incessant overthinking, which has made it challenging for me to find peace of mind. However, I refuse to let it consume me and have been taking proactive steps to break free from this cycle of worry. Here's how I've been dealing with it.
1. Making plans with friends
Spending time with friends serves as a wonderful distraction from the incessant noise inside my head. Their company allows me to be more present, making it easier to enjoy the moment and forget about the person I'm obsessing over. I've found that making frequent plans with friends helps me maintain my sanity during bouts of overthinking.
Meditation is a valuable tool that I use to deal with various life situations, especially when dealing with a wandering mind. While it may not work for everyone, it works wonders for me. By consistently bringing my focus back to the present moment, meditation helps me avoid the pitfalls of overthinking and stay grounded in the present.
Taking a few deep breaths may seem trivial or uncomplicated, but it serves as an effective anchor for me in moments of overthinking. It helps alleviate the anxiety and provides a sense of tranquility. While deep breathing isn't always a guaranteed solution, it often helps to ease the tension at least a little.
4. Practicing gratitude
Gratitude is an incredibly potent tool that I frequently rely on. It helps me shift my focus from self-pity and negative thoughts to a more positive mindset. While I recognize that it's important to allow myself to feel my emotions authentically, gratitude helps me find something to be thankful for even in difficult times.
Prayer is a practice that helps me find my center and provides a sense of comfort. It feels like a warm embrace that reassures me everything will be okay. I don't pray to a specific deity, but rather to the universe or the energy of love. It works similarly to meditation by helping me escape the chaos in my mind and bringing me back to the present moment.
6. Making phone calls
While my friends can't always be around, it's inevitable that I'll have to spend time alone. While I can handle it on my own, I don't have to. My friends are just a phone call away and can help me regain my perspective by calling out my negative self-talk and reminding me of my worthiness and capacity for love.
7. Trying to turn the thoughts around in my head
My mind can be a veritable factory of negativity, particularly during episodes of overthinking. To counteract the damaging effects, I make a conscious effort to reframe my thoughts positively. For instance, if I find myself thinking that my boyfriend doesn't like me, I remind myself that, in fact, he does like me a lot. Though it's not always effective, this technique can be beneficial.
8. Practicing acceptance
When my mind is racing, it's often because I'm preoccupied with hypothetical scenarios or fixating on past events. To break free from this cycle, I try to adopt an attitude of acceptance. I remind myself that dwelling on the past or worrying about the future is futile and that I can't control everything. This mindset allows me to release some of the tension and breathe a little easier.
9. Constructively write out thoughts
Writing is a tremendous release for me. I have specific techniques for putting my thoughts and emotions down on paper that enable me to resolve or gain a deeper awareness of them. I'll jot down my anxieties, uncertainties, and vulnerabilities, as well as my grudges and intimate experiences. This exercise allows me to sort through my feelings and, in turn, take a break from the ceaseless rumination.
10. Forgiving myself
As a human being, I'm fallible and prone to making numerous mistakes. Often, my overthinking stems from fixating on those errors and playing them over and over in my mind. Yet, when I practice forgiveness, it takes some of the edge off. Although I may still feel some regret, it's less intense. I remind myself that I'm only human and that I deserve to be forgiven.
I don't recommend any form of exercise that could be dangerous to your well-being. However, moving your body in a way that brings joy and feels good can be a great way to combat overthinking. For example, for me, playing hockey is an excellent way to get moving and sweat out the negativity. It's difficult to be trapped in my head when I have a hockey ball flying at me, and endorphins are a natural relaxant.
12. Get lots of sleep
Sleep is my favorite thing to do. I make sure to get enough sleep at night and sometimes even add extra hours if I feel emotionally drained. Sleeping is restorative and it instantly calms my mind.