Whenever I feel like I’m thinking too much, I ask myself: is this really as big a problem as I think it is? More often than not, it isn’t worth my peaking stress levels. And sometimes it’s not even a problem to begin with!
Today, for example, my thoughts spiraled around whether this blog is good enough and if I should change it. And all this overthinking took up most of my day until I finally realised that, actually, this blog is perfectly fine. I just need to work harder on promoting it. That’s it.
But, sometimes I manage to overthink myself into oblivion, where it could take me days (or weeks) to realise that I’m thinking far too much and that perhaps I should stop. And the hardest part is realising it in the first place. Thankfully, I’ve found that there’s one thing that happens when we think too much: we don’t get to the point.
Our minds swing and swirl in every negative direction, but there’s never any point to it. Our thoughts don’t get anywhere. There’s no crux. And that’s the most important sign to remember. So, next time you think you might be thinking too much, ask yourself if it’s reaching a point, or if it just feels like quicksand.
If it’s the latter, then thinking clearly isn’t helping.
I’m Thinking Too Much, Now What?
Sadly, the problem with our thoughts is that we don’t have much control over them. In fact, according to Barry Gordon, professor of neurology and cognitive science at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, we are only aware of a tiny fraction of our thoughts.
But, while you can’t control your thoughts, you can control the way you think about them.
The first step is accepting what you are thinking about. You don’t need to agree with it, but simply accept that the thought is there. Once you’ve accepted it, then you can challenge it.
Get to the heart of the matter. Can this problem be solved? If it can’t, there’s no point worrying about it. If it can, then fix it!
Maybe, like my thought escapade today, your overthinking isn’t really a problem at all. So question its validity. You’d be surprised what we consider problems.
And if it really is a problem and you still feel stuck, I recommend asking someone who can help.
Stop Stressing, Start Living
While many problems can be solved, there are many that can’t — and yet we still seem to think about them! Maybe it’s a past mistake or the impending fear over an uncertain future. We can’t do much about them except for mitigating future consequences. But they still pervade, sucking your mind into the deep recesses of negativity.
As a remedy, I recommend digging into your bag of hobbies and doing something you like. Refocus your mind on what really matters to you.
For me, I find the best remedy is music and a good walk. Sometimes a bout of cooking or playing a computer game helps, too. Or even writing! These are as meditating to me as deep-breathing exercises, because meditation is simply an activity that stops you from thinking.
At least consciously.
So the next time you feel like you’re thinking too much, ask yourself: is there a point to all this thinking? If you’ve yet to make any progress — except for sinking deeper and deeper into a cavern of incessant negativity — then the answer is most likely no.
And once you realise this, bring yourself back to the surface by refocusing your attention on something love. Because that’s what really matters!
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