Mental Health

Stop Overthinking Everything

One of the chief advantages of the human brain is the ability to think of a multitude of ideas. We call the process “brainstorming,” and for good reason: when done right, an actual flood of ideas results. We can then grab the likely looking ones and start throwing them at the problem until something sticks.  But human intelligence also has its drawbacks, including a tendency to think too much. That may seem unlikely to those of us who have suffered from the occasional maverick’s preference to operate purely on instinct, but believe me, overthinking can be nearly as deadly as a surprise tax audit. 

Overthinking actually comes in two forms. One is the inability to stem the tide of ideas before virtually drowning in it. In this scenario, every idea seems equally valid, and making a choice becomes impossible. The other kind of overthinking stems from an obsessive focus on one specific idea or issue. You keep reviewing it, questioning your motives, and turning it over in your mind, until it practically drives you crazy.

Here are a few ways in which you can connect with your body through your senses. You’ll naturally let go of your racing thoughts as you mindfully bring all of your attention to one of the following things for 1-2 minutes :

  • Touch – Feel the breath moving in and out through your nose. Rub your hands on your clothes. Feel the bumps of your fingerprints rubbing over the texture.
  • Vision – Look around ad notice how may shades of green can you see. What things that you’re looking at have a smooth texture? Bumpy texture?
  • Hearing – How many sounds can you hear right now? Listen for the quietest thing that you can hear.
  • Taste – Centre your awareness totally on the taste and texture of your food.
  • Small – Inhale deeply and notice how many smells you are aware of.

Try one right now to see if it helps you loosen up a little.

22 replies »

  1. expert over-thinker here! this is great thank you! I say a little mantra “Be here, now” to myself. I know my over-thinking is a survival skill so I am prepared for every worst case possible scenario. Thankfully, I don’t have to live in that world anymore but some of these old habits still like to hang around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can’t totally avoid overwhelming or very stressful days. But you can minimize the number of them in your month and year by getting a good start to your day and by not setting yourself up for unnecessary stress, overthinking and suffering.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. brainstorming is good exercise to tone up ideas filtering out and reassembling these in chronological order. Thus you learn ability of sifting sorting the right ones to implement . A good article to understand mechanism of brain working

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is now your chance to exercise creativity. That doesn’t mean you go off the wall! Keep in mind the previous topics we discussed: stick to one concept, remember the importance of fonts, and don’t get too clever. People brainstorm in different ways, but I encourage you to step away from the computer. Sit down with paper and pencil and start scribbling down the ideas that come to mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re not good at sketching. That’s not the point. These scribbles do not have to look good. You’re simply documenting ideas so you can compare and refine. I sometimes get lazy and skip this step. But when I do come back to it, I’m always surprised by how quickly I end up with a concept I love.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Overthinking can become such a habit that you don’t even recognize when you’re doing it. Start paying attention to the way you think so you can become aware of the problem. When you’re replaying events in your mind over and over, or worrying about things you can’t control, acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive. Thinking is only helpful when it leads to positive action.

      Like

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