#2 Stop Overthinking

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#2

Stop Overthinking

Do you think a thought and then ‘run with it’? Do you thoughts ever take on a life of their own? Do you find yourself getting anxious or worried?  Do you have a hard time focusing or sleeping? Do thoughts get stuck in your mind and go round and round? These are all symptoms of overthinking.

Consequences

Overthinking is generally not good for your overall health. It can cause anxiety, depression, and persistent worry. It promotes obsessive and/or compulsive behaviors. It can strain relationships, work performance, and self-worth. To cope with overthinking, many people try to escape the distress by abusing food, alcohol, or drugs.

Notice

The first step to stopping the pattern of overthinking is to notice when you do it. Take another look at the list in the first paragraph and honestly assess your own processes. When does it happen? About what topic(s)? What is your response? How do you (if you do) get them under control? How do they prevent you from living your best life?

Facts

Are your thoughts based on facts? Or Fears? Are they happening now? Or at some point in the future? Stay focused on the facts that exist in the here and now. When you are facing facts, it’s easier to problem solve. There aren’t any real solutions to fantastical problems.

Distraction

Get busy! There’s only so much space in your brain for active thinking. When your thoughts go into busy mode, overrule them with direct action on something else; pulling energy away from the overrunning thinking. The more involved you are in the distraction, the better.

Meditation

When we are overthinking, it’s not really the thoughts that are problematic, but our feelings and associations we have with the thoughts that are the problem. If we can learn to become observers of the thoughts, their impact is reduced. Meditation is one of the best ways to achieve this. Using this technique may allow you to detach from the thoughts so that they become nothing more than something that moves through your brain.

We all do it from time to time but if your life is negatively impacted by too many thoughts too much of the time, follow these steps in an effort to …

Stop overthinking.

TTAHListen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#86 Stop Worrying

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#86

Stop Worrying

Ok, I know… this is much easier said than done and yet, it may be one of the most elementary things you can do in order to live a happier, healthier, and more productive life. Worried thoughts create stress; stress produces Cortisol; too much stress hormone wreaks havoc on your body and spirit.

A few years back, a survey from Cornell University illustrated that 40% of the things we worry about actually never even happen! Thirty percent of the things we worry about are from the past and can’t be changed; 12% relate to other people and are therefore – none of our business; 10% relate to illness which, may or may not be real and that leaves 8%. Eight percent of the things we worry about are actually worth the energy spent; EIGHT PERCENT!

Historical precedent

Worry has been vital to the survival of the human species. It is part of our flight or fight response and for that 8% of the time it acts like a warning system for our physical or emotional safety. For that reason, we can’t ignore worry altogether.

Odds

One of the first questions I ask a client when we talk about what they’re worried about are the actual ‘odds’ of it happening. We discuss the possibility versus the probability. If it’s not actually probable… then strive to redirect or let it go. Anything is possible but many times, the things we worry about are literally, not probable.

Control

Based on the survey, 12% of the things we worry about are things that we have absolutely no control over because they are in the hands of another person (a family member getting home safely) and so it is often necessary to ask ourselves who controls the outcome of the thing we’re worried about. If the answer is anyone but ourselves… turn around and walk away from the worry. The key here is to trust that the people actually in control of the situation, have it in hand (like the pilot of an airplane).

Plan

For those things that are actually within our realm of our control, our worry is often mitigated with a plan. IF the thing we are worried about happens, it’s good to know how we’ll handle it. Generally I recommend a plan B as well… planning for contingencies is a good practice.

Mindfulness

Worry is most often about the past or the future and so learning how to stay deeply in the present moment will also mitigate much of the agony we experience when we feel concern. Mindfulness brings our attention to the ‘here and now’ – breaking the cycle of considering things too far from this point in time – in either direction.

In the best interest of your own physical and emotional health, take some of these suggestions and learn to…

Stop worrying.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.