I wrote an article about whether I am overthinking about my autistic son and the response to this article was tremendous. I decided to do more research on this topic and will like to share 5 strategies that can help us to stop overthinking.
We are now living in an era of information overload with some many stimulus competing for our attention. What a lot of people did not realized is that thinking can be additive. Once we start thinking in a certain way, we tend to get suck into more and more similar thoughts. Gradually over time, a pattern of thinking is formed, with thoughts of similar themes playing in our mind like a broken CD. The end result is that we tend to overthink and over analysed and become anxious.
However there are some simple strategies which can help us to stop overthinking.
1. Be An Observer Of Our Thoughts
We need to be able to observe and entertain thoughts that come to our mind instead of cutting off these thoughts immediately. The best way to do this, is to observe our thinking. Imagine that we are watching a movie of ourselves having these thoughts. How are these thoughts serving us? Are the thoughts helping or hindering us? Let go of thoughts that are hindering us. With practice, it will become easier and easier to let go of thoughts that create unnecessary worries. In this way, we can break gradually break the pattern of overthinking.
2. Shifting Our Perspective
When we start having the same thoughts over and over again, ask ourselves this question. Will these thoughts matter in 3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months or 3 years time? This will enable us to look at things with better perspective and keep ourselves grounded. Thus we are able to focus on major issues and don't sweat over small stuff.
3. Live In The Present
A lot of our overthinking lies with our regrets of the past and our fears of the future. There is no way for us to change our past and we can only change our future by changing how we act now. Instead of being trapped by both our past and future, we need to be fully present now and seize the moment. If we can stop regretting the past and stop being fearful of the future, our mind is able to focus on the present. In this way, we are able to stop overthinking.
4. Change Our Physiology
I was very fortunate to have attended Anthony Robbins' Unleash The Power Within program. One my takeaway from this program is that just changing my physiology, I am able to change my state of mind. If I stand upright, put my head in the air and take powerful strides, I can change from a state of fear to a state of confidence. By changing my physiology, I can change my state of mind to one where I don't overthink and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
5. Putting Our Trust In A Higher Being
When we put our trust in a higher being, we release the need to control our lives. Instead we believe that God has a plan for us and we are able to surrender ourselves to Him. So when bad things happen, we do not ask, God why me? Instead we believe that these things happen for a purpose. Then we are able to let go of our fears and worries and stop overthinking.
The above 5 strategies are not magical pills which can help you to stop overthinking instantly. The strategies are not meant to be understood at a purely theoretical level. Instead we need to embrace and apply these strategies in our lives. Only then, slowly but surely can we start to reduce our overthing gradually. The good news is that it gets easier with practice.
Give these strategies a try and share your experiences with us.