“I have to leave at 7 so I need to wake up at 5, get my workout done by 6:15 and have my breakfast by 6:50.”
“Did I take my meds or not?”
“He hasn’t replied yet. Was I rude yesterday?”
Just all of these thoughts, all at once, every day and that sums up the life of an overthinker. Or rather, someone who likes to analyze the situations, think about a particular instance, and be prepared beforehand.
Being an overthinker is not necessarily a bad thing, it just gets out of hand when you are not able to control your thoughts and they are all over the place. I know how overwhelming it can be when your mind thinks about 273 problems all at once and you cannot feel yourself in the present.
The best part is, I also know that you are tired of hearing about practicing meditation and simple affirmations when you know that your mind already finds it boring.
But over here, I list down 5 of my favorite activities which are more fun, effective, and surely something you will look forward to, I promise! Let’s get started, coming up first:
Your Awareness Story
I am sure you have heard that what you think about yourself, is what others think about you.
So to portray yourself in front of others, first, you need to know yourself. Every time your mind wanders in different directions, identify what you are feeling - anger, frustration, grief, or any other emotion. Just know what is making you overthink and forget about what you are overthinking.
Label that emotion and treat it as if it is a different person altogether. Now every time your mind says “You are an overthinker,” you label the emotion and learn that this is what the emotion has to say and it is not valid, here’s what I think - “I just over analyze situations a lot and that’s okay.”
The Distraction Meditation
I know I promised no meditation, but this is different. I want you to close your eyes and let your mind wander. Catch one negative feeling, take a deep breath in, hold. Now give a positive opinion to it and take a deep breath out.
The basic idea is to let the negative emotions sink in when you take a deep breath and distract it slowly with a positive statement and a deep breath out. Ensures no sleeping during meditation!
Often when we overthink, the best way is to find what really matters and shower peace to your mind. Take a situation that is making you overthink at the moment. Now think how much it is affecting you at the moment. Chances are, it does...a lot.
Now think about whether this situation or its results will affect you after 5 years? Most of the time it wouldn’t. Keeping that in mind, you will know that this situation is temporary and you need to just show some patience.
If you have helped someone before, no matter how small or big the deed would have been, I am sure it made you feel 10 times better about your own life. This could include anything from donating to a charity or helping a close friend deal with their problems.
When you help someone else with their problems, there’s a huge chance you have a different perspective on your own situation. So after you help someone, put a timer of 10 minutes and think deeply about how you felt when you helped that person, and most importantly, if you can help someone else, how difficult is it to help yourself?
Go get those main character feels!
The Mood Journal
More than external factors, it is our own moods that affect how we think about situations. The best thing we can do here is to keep track of when you overthink, what mood makes you overthink?
It’s very simple to keep track of this! Just take a regular notebook and journal every day for 5 minutes about what moods were you feeling today and rate your overthinking patterns for that day from 1-10.
At the end of every week, you can analyze and draw conclusions as to what mood exactly makes you overthink and what you can do to improve this.
A word of advice for every person out there dealing with overthinking - please practice self-compassion. Know that this is all okay, and you will get through this. Sometimes you just need to take a break from the daily chaos and concentrate on yourself, feel your feelings and talk about your emotions.
Just know that the more you concentrate on yourself, the more you will be able to concentrate on the things and people that matter to you. Put yourself first, fulfill your needs, and don’t ever shy away from seeking help, may it be from a trusted friend or a professional therapist.
Lastly, I want you to know that you are awesome and you can do this!
Rutvi Dhruva (@from_frown_to_fine) is a self-care and mental health blogger, who helps spread awareness about important mental health topics with thorough research and insights from her personal experiences. She believes that mental health doesn’t have to be all about meditation and affirmations, but rather filled with activities that actually derive joy and make your self-care journeys more practical. Check out her own blog where she discovers new activities to deal with different mental health problems.