Overthinking: Know the Ultimate Overthinking Cure
“A wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” said Matthew Killingsworth.
To be able to think is a superpower, a vital role that humans are given to do and perform for the betterment of our society, but what about the time when our thinking process decides, “HEY THERE FELLA! I AM GOING TO BE HERE A LITTLE LONGER AND MAKE YOUR LIFE A LITTLE HARD TO DEAL WITH.“
Then what??? Do we have any answers for this? Or is it just something that, in today’s already “life is so hard” phase, makes it a nonexistent problem?
As a young adult, I go through the everyday life struggles that everyone faces and that every individual has once faced or will face, like:
- Am I doing enough for my future?
- Am I very behind in life?
- Where am I going with life?
- How am I supposed to deal with this?
I would say that after and before any life-altering event, we go through 1000, or maybe more than 1000, questions in our heads just so that we can make the correct decision for ourselves.
But in my 22 years of life, I have realised some things. One of the most important lessons that I learned as an individual is “don’t be rigid.”
The more I think about a problem, the more I involve myself in an unhealthy cycle of “what-ifs.” I have ended up crying like a little girl who was afraid of running in relays just because she was afraid to run in the race.
Throughout 2023, I worked hard on finding ways that worked for me to deal with my overthinking so that even though I may sometimes end up making a not-so-good decision, I smiled my way through the next chapter and made it work for myself instead of surrendering myself to my overthinking.
Here are some of the good ways to deal with your overthinking and your mental well-being:
- Don’t react: The first mistake that we make as people is that we give an instant reaction to any problem; we don’t give ourselves the time to think it through. It might be for many reasons, maybe because you were too attached to that particular dream, person, job, habit, etc. But you can look back at those situations and think that if you had reacted a little differently, the outcome would have changed easily.
Your situations don’t define you; how you react to them does.
For example, instead of letting your emotions get the best of you, take a step back, take a pause from a situation, and then react. A calmer mindset allows you to not react extravagantly to anything, and you can process the situation easily.
I use this method when I deal with any argument that arises. If I see myself breaking down negatively, I take a step back, allow the event to run through my mind, and return back with my points in a calmer tone because finding a solution in an argument should be the main goal.
- LEARN TO RESPOND: Now we know that reacting isn’t the first step to start with, so we have to find another way. An efficient way to deal with your overthinking is to learn how to respond instead of react.
Now, the major difference between reacting and responding is that responding lets you create a space between the event and your emotions and allows you to change the directives of the event.
Learning how to respond also allows you to have that patience and discipline as well, because a person who knows how to respond has that calm aura around them that comes with a lot of practice for patience and discipline.
For example, once a minor accident occurred at my home and my cousin sister got injured, at one hand my whole family was panicking and they were shouting and hovering around her, but I saw my father responding to the situation; his primary instinct was to get out of the house and bring the doctor to our home instead of crying and shouting or hovering around my cousin sister. Within minutes, the doctor was there, and the situation was uncontrollable.
This is how a person should respond. In one scenario, I saw people reacting to an event and not being able to do anything, but on the other hand, I saw my father responding quickly to an event and handling it.
That is why learning how to be patient and when to respond is very effective for finding solutions.
- See a A RED DOT: We often give ourselves to negative self-talk or to negative talk about other people because this motion is easier. Negative self-talk lets you create a habit of getting used to the negatives of people and of yourself.
What I do when I notice myself negatively talking is picture a big red dot to remind myself to stop. STOP RIGHT THERE AND DO NOT GO FURTHER.
I give affirmations to myself, talk to myself gently, and remind myself of my good habits.
Earlier, I used to only focus on the things that I couldn’t perform well on, but then I applied this method and switched myself off from that situation. I create a healthy space for myself and only involve people of positive aura in that so that I can create a peaceful environment for me.
To achieve something good in life, you have to stop with the negatives. And start with the positives so that you can manifest the goodness of life, hard work, and destiny.
For example, when I notice myself criticising alone or negatively talking, I look in the mirror and then reassure myself by reminding myself of the positive habits in me. I list my good habits, read them out loud to myself, and find my forte.
Keep in mind that it is okay to introspect and find faults in your behaviour, but at the same time, it is unhealthy to constantly think about the negatives in life and be in an unhealthy cycle with no end. When you introspect, find solutions, not complaints.
- 1-2-3 METHOD: I found this method very effective and useful. What I do when I encounter any unwanted situation is count to 3, and at the exact 3 seconds, I shift myself to another event.
That is, I no longer allow myself to sit in the same position and shift to the next one. We can do this by quite literally changing our surroundings. You can take a walk, run errands, do some other work, carry out hobbies—anything that could distract you from the negative self-talk. I find this method very productive for myself.
It allows you to remove yourself from the negatives, gives you space to change the narratives of the situation, and allows you to be productive at the same time.
For example, when I encounter an event that brings me stress and I know it will take me into a negative cycle, I count to 3 and then shift to my hobbies like writing, reading, working out, or anything that shifts my perspective and surroundings and allows me to have that space.
It’s easy to get lost in a maze when you overthink things. We are all capable of becoming mired in apparently never-ending cycles of worried thoughts and dead ends, no matter how much we examine, assess, and worry.
There are those of us who are prone to constant dissection. Our surroundings can sometimes be the problem. The truth is that we actually respond to stress that is perceived rather than tension that is genuine. The majority of overthinkers are aware of the seriousness of the emotional and physical effects of excessive analysis, including weariness, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. In the worst situations, it can ruin relationships and lives. Nevertheless, we can develop the necessary skills to control our cognitive processes, regardless of whether they are a result of nature or nurture.
It can be very challenging to identify overthinking for what it is, but doing so is essential to taking back control of our mental health. We must examine the interactions between our relationships, emotions, and thoughts in order to identify our triggers. This entails reflecting on our past experiences and probing further into our emotions and expectations. Then, with practice, we can overcome the overthinking habit and learn to trust ourselves more.
Stress is a universal experience that everyone encounters at some point in their lives. However, fretting and overanalyzing are not necessary. We can take a minute, confront our anxious thoughts with clarity and understanding, and build a space of positivity around them before engaging with them.