My Chronic Overthinking Has Been Killing Me — Here’s How I’m Making A Change

Lately, my mind has been running wild. It’s seldom given me a break from constant overthinking. I’m driving myself crazy. Rather than continue to sit in this, though, I’m taking some action steps to break free of the worry. After all, that stuff doesn’t own me and I deserve to have peace of mind. Here’s how I’ve been dealing with the overthinking.

Making plans with friends

Friends are a great distraction from the noise inside my head. I have fun with them and enjoy their company so I have an easier time being present than when I’m all by myself. I can focus on whatever it is that we’re doing rather than that person I’m obsessing about. I find that when I make lots of plans with friends while I’m in overthinking-mode I’m less likely to feel crazy.

Meditating

This tactic isn’t for everyone, but for me, meditation is a clutch tool to deal with pretty much anything in life, especially a rambling mind. This practice is all about continuously bringing my focus back to the present moment rather than letting it flail around in the future or past. Overthinking is inherently not present, so meditation helps to ground me in what is.

Breathing

It may sound silly or simple but sometimes I just take a few deep breaths to anchor me wherever I am. It eases the anxiety that sometimes comes with overthinking and it fills me with a sense of calm. Don’t get me wrong, breathing isn’t a natural cure-all. Sometimes it doesn’t help at all, though often it can at least release a tiny bit of tension.

Practicing gratitude

Gratitude is one of the most powerful tools I have in my toolbox. When I’m feeling all self-pitying because I’m caught up in my mind’s mess, this practice can help redirect me to a more positive attitude. I’m not saying positivity is always the solution because it’s good to feel my genuine feelings, but I can always find something to be grateful for.

Praying

This is another one that may or may not be for you, but prayer helps to center me. It’s like a warm hug, reminding me that I’m okay. I don’t pray to any God in particular, rather I pray to the universe, to the energy of love. This works similarly to meditation, pulling me out of the whirlwind in my mind and into the present moment.

Making phone calls

My friends can’t hang out with me all of the time. There are going to be times when I’m alone. I can definitely suck it up and deal with being alone, but I really don’t have to do it by myself the whole time. My friends are available for me to call up on the phone. They can help me realign with reality by pointing out the lies I’m telling myself. They can remind me that I’m good and worthy of love.

Trying to turn the thoughts around in my head

The fact of the matter is that my brain is a garbage manufacturing plant much of the time, especially when I’m overthinking. To combat the negative effects, I like to try to turn things around. For example, if I’m telling myself my boyfriend doesn’t like me, I try to tell myself that last time I checked he actually likes me very much. It doesn’t always work, but it can be helpful.

Practicing acceptance

Most of the time when my mind is racing, I’m worried about possible scenarios that could happen or I’m fretting about what’s already happened. Instead of playing these tapes over and over again I sometimes try to practice acceptance. I tell myself there’s nothing I can do about what’s already happened and I’m powerless over what’s to come. This attitude helps me breathe a little easier.

Constructively write out thoughts

Writing is a huge catharsis for me. I have structured ways of writing out my problems that help me to solve them or at least gain a better understanding of them. I’ll write about my fears, doubts, and insecurities as well as my resentments and sex stuff. This all helps me to process which inevitably gives me a break from all that damn thinking.

Forgiving myself

I’m a human, I make mistakes, lots of mistakes. Many times my overthinking can just be me harping on those mistakes, replaying them in my mind a million times. When I practice forgiveness, however, it softens the blow just a little bit. I may still beat myself up, but it’s to a much lesser degree. To do this I tell myself that I’m only a human and I deserve forgiveness.

Exercise

I’m not talking about the obsessive weight-loss oriented exercise. I’m talking about moving my body in a way that’s joyful and feels good. Usually, for me, this means playing hockey! I get myself moving and I sweat out the overthinking. It’s very hard to be in my head when I have a hockey ball flying at my face. Plus, endorphins are natural relaxers.

Get lots of sleep

Mm, sleep. It’s my favorite. I religiously get enough sleep at night and sometimes I tack on extra hours if I’m feeling emotionally exhausted. Sleep is so restorative and immediately shuts my brain down.

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