Raise your hand if you have a brain that loves to overthink, worry, and overstress time and time again! If you are one of these people, then you definitely know how exhausting it can be. I totally get it, because I have been there numerous times as well. In today’s post, I am talking about how to finally stop worrying and overthinking and 5 simple strategies that really help calm your anxious and overworked mind.
In order to curb the overthinking, increase productivity, and to stop the annoying worry-cycle that plagues many of us. This post is for those who need to feel calm and grounded when their brains are constantly worrying and overthinking!
1. Get present using the power of mindfulness
When are feeling very worried or when we are overthinking a situation, oftentimes it’s about something in the future. It tends to be something that we are worried about happening, something we’re anticipating, or something that we are fearing. It’s not that we are necessarily in danger or that something bad is happening right now at this moment. It is only when we have those thoughts about something that could or might happen that we get ourselves worked up. This is why practicing mindfulness is so important! Mindfulness will help you become more aware of the here and now, rather than the past or future.
However, just like any other skill, mindfulness takes practice. But over time, it can help decrease overthinking and stress. A mindful practice that works very well for me when I notice myself getting worked up is by taking a second, and reminding myself that in this moment, I am okay. It has almost become a new daily mantra as well, lol!
Unless you are going through something traumatic or you are in immediate danger or in pain, I believe that many of us can say, “in this moment, I am okay.” This is for those moments when we’re overthinking or worrying about events that could happen in the future or regrets that we have from the past.
This mantra may take some practice, but it is very powerful. Especially for those moments when you need to get present and be in a state of mindfulness. Along with that, there are numerous videos, courses, books, and apps available to help you learn mindfulness skills!
2. Be intentional about what you’re thinking/worrying about
Practice being intentional or practice learning how to become curious about what you are worrying or stressing about. You want to allow yourself to notice the thoughts that are running through your mind that are causing you to get very stressed out, worried, and overwhelmed. However, here’s the important part! When doing this, you want to be free of judgment. Try not to judge yourself or criticize yourself for having those emotions in the first place. Although sometimes, I know it can be difficult not to do that.
So instead of criticizing, blaming or judging yourself, try asking yourself: is this thought helpful to me or protective? Is this thought that you’re having going to get you further and help you grow, or is it getting in your way? When you are asking yourself these types of questions and you answer with “no,” then think about what types of thoughts in your specific situation would be effective. I’m not saying that thinking about something more positive is going to solve all of your problems and allow you to be less stressed. But, what you are doing is entertaining a new or different idea/thought. This is especially helpful when you are first thinking about these negative, stressful, and worrisome thoughts!
Sometimes we can get very set on certain ways of thinking and focused on seeing things a specific way. Therefore, we tend to forget or overrule the thought that there may be a healthier and more productive way of thinking or viewing your situation. You want to start getting your brain used to that by considering a new, positive and effective idea. It may be simple, but it’s very powerful once you start altering your mindset when you are stressing and overthinking.
3. Remind yourself that you’re not problem-solving by worrying and overthinking
According to Dr. Margaret Weherenberg, a psychologist and author of the book, the 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques, explains that “rumination is repetitive thinking – going over and over the same thought or problem without any resolution. A problem does not get solved: it intensifies by ruminating on it. It is simply repeating (typically negative) thoughts without mentally moving to a new perspective.”
While many problems and concerns are often resolved by giving them careful thought and consideration, Wehrenberg simply explained that overthinking (rumination) and over-stressing does not lead to new insights or understandings. All rumination does is spin us around as if we are trapped in our own emotionally destressing hamster wheel.
With that, try looking for new solutions that are helpful and act as a “problem-solving” thought/idea. If you are currently overthinking and worrying about something that you have control over, consider how you can prevent the problem or challenge yourself to identify several potential solutions.
However, if it is something that you do not have control over (like a natural disaster or death) think about the helpful strategies you can use to cope with it. Try to focus solely on the things you CAN control! Primarily, your overall attitude, mindset, and effort.
4. Give yourself a “reality-check”
When we are in the middle of that moment of overstressing and overthinking, we tend to exclusively focus on that. We believe that this thing that is causing us to feel this way is so terrible and it’s never going to get better or things are never going to feel good again. Are you aware of that feeling as well? This is why we sometimes need to give ourselves a little reality check or a perspective shift!
It is always so much easier to make things seem bigger and more negative than they need to be. So with that, the next time you catch yourself overthinking or overemphasizing the tiniest issue, ask yourself how much it will really matter in a few years. Or even next month or weel for that matter! I don’t know about you, but I definitely tend to exaggerate the smallest mishaps or situations sometimes. Therefore, sitting back, zooming out, and revaluating the issue/situation really does help to shut down my constant overthinking and anxious mind.
5. Stop focusing on perfection
This one is very big and very important! Focusing on perfection is probably the number one way to self-sabotage and cause you to overthink and worry. So, let me tell you, if you are one who constantly waits for perfection to move forward and grow, you can allow yourself to finally stop. Don’t get me wrong, having ambition and aspirations is wonderful. However, aiming for “perfection” is impractical, weakening, and ultimately unrealistic. All ‘waiting until perfection’ does is cause procrastination!
Therefore, the moment you notice yourself thinking, “this needs to be perfect,” remind yourself that waiting for perfection is never as productive as moving forward and making progress. You can always go back and fix it up! Give yourself the time and patience that you truly need to grow!
Which one of these 5 strategies did you like the best?
Let me know in the comments!