Have you ever had one of those days where your mind just doesn’t switch off, you’re overthinking everything? It doesn’t matter what you seem to do, it jumps around from thing to thing and you end up feeling exhausted?
As a result, when you get to bed and you’re wiped out physically, your mind can’t seem to calm down?
Overthinking, having racing thoughts, and feeling consumed by them can be a symptom of doing too much. We all have busy lives – families, jobs, commitments, global pandemics, and sometimes we can feel overstretched.
What can I do about overthinking?
Often we start to fight the thoughts or even follow them down the path to find out the worst-case scenario, scaring ourselves half to death. That might be helpful in the cold light of day when we’re feeling reasonable, but in the dead of night, it’s not a great idea.
Instead, take a look at these five top tips to help stop overthinking and take a moment to remind yourself that you are doing the best that you can in this situation, whatever it is.
1 – Control Your Breath
Take a deep breath – the deepest breath you’ve taken all day. If it helps, put your hands behind your head and pull your elbows back. This really opens up the diaphragm and gets oxygen into all the nooks and crannies (it’s a medical term!).
Consciously breathing interrupts our nervous system’s involuntary actions, the things that it does without us thinking about it (breathing, yawning, sneezing, etc).
As you’re breathing and focusing on the breath, make the exhale longer than the inhale. This oxygenates the body and might make you feel a little tingly.
2 – Be An Observer
Imagine yourself watching your thoughts, as if you’re observing. You don’t have to do anything with them, just notice them running around in your brain. Getting some distance, even imaginary, can be helpful and create a little bit of calm.
3 – Meditation
Find a meditation app or video that you like. There are loads available for free. You might like Insight Timer, HeadSpace, or Calm. There are also lots of links on YouTube. I’ve shared one down below that is just 7 minutes long. The thing is, you can’t be stressed and relaxed at the same time, so working on relaxation helps reduce stress!
4 – Take Note
If there’s stuff you need to get done, write it down. Removing it from your mind makes space for other things, or for nothing if that is your desire. Keep a notepad by the bed, and if thoughts keep interrupting your rest, write them down.
5 – Accept the Busyness
Sometimes we can increase our peace by just accepting the busyness of our thoughts. By noticing and allowing them to be busy, but not engaging or disappearing down each rabbit hole that the thought wants to lead us into.
Acceptance is a powerful tool in our self-help armory, noticing, allowing, staying curious, and being gentle with ourselves as we continue to do our best in the everyday moments.
Don’t believe everything you thinkAnon
Get some help
Letting some of those thoughts out of your head may help to clear your mind and introduce some calm. Carrying around thoughts or feelings that no longer serve us can begin to weigh heavy on our conscience, and unloading them in a safe and confidential space can help us to feel lighter, less stuck, and more motivated.
If you’d like to have a conversation about your overthinking, do get in touch and find out more about me and what I do.