So many people struggle to find what I call “mental balance”. It’s the balance between enough thoughtfulness to feel prepared but not too much that you feel paralyzed.
We struggle with this mostly when we need to make decisions. Important ones. When our dignity and self-preservation are on the line. But honestly, how often is that?
Unless you’re a spider tamer, (PS: spiders are gross, get a new job) you’re probably not putting yourself in harm’s way on a daily basis. So why do we overthink things to the point of despair?
But, not to fret.
1. Notice your thoughts.
Maybe you’re up for a promotion so you obsess over doing everything PERFECT.
Maybe you really want a callback, but you keep replaying all the awkward first-date moments.
Maybe you lie awake at night ruminating on the day’s misses.
Whatever the reason for your overthinking, it’s important to remember that they’re just thoughts. And just like your mean-girl nemesis, you don’t have to listen.
Thoughts that seem aggressive or nefarious are called Intrusive Thoughts. And they’re just that, intrusive and unwelcome!
Next time you feel like you can’t stop overthinking, the best way to get a grip on intrusive thoughts is to write them out in actual sentence form.
When you see, “I’m an idiot asshole who doesn’t know what to do now!” written out on your daily planner, it's MUCH easier to eyeroll these out of existence.
2. Tap into your body.
Everything we do in life is to feel (or avoid feeling) a certain way. When you’re paralyzed by information, it means you’re overly attached to a certain outcome.
Next time you’re overthinking, drop into your body by taking a deep belly breath.
On the exhale, find out where your tension is. Is it in your chest? Stomach? Shoulders?
The discomfort you feel when overthinking is actually a resistance to feeling ways you don’t want to.
When you focus your attention on the sensations you’re feeling, instead of thinking about avoiding them, the sensations become just like picking up a hot cup of coffee or being in a crowded space. Not completely comfy but also not unmanageable.
From there, you can see the big picture and choose to detach from the tension.
3. Update your “Operating System”.
If you don’t want to be rejected by someone, your brain decides “Hey! Here’s a great opportunity to prepare ourselves for the worst-case by rehearsing what you’re going to say!”. Sounds reasonable right?
Until you start IG stalking him and texting all your friends for ideas on what to say and when to say it, so you can be mentally prepared for the worse-case. Which as we know, only creates hella suffering and a bunch of pissed off friends.
If you’re an overthinker, you’ve trained your body to overly respond to your thoughts, by releasing adrenaline and cortisol into your system causing you to feel “danger” in your body.
It’s important to know your brain is just a biochemical machine operating on pre-Y2K framework that no one remembered to update.
(Aka: It’s DECADES old!)
Your brain's operating system was last updated when you were rejected by your first crush and VIVIDLY remembers when Stevie said, “Ew, no way!!”, after you asked him to dance to Sarah Mclachlan’s “Angel”, in 6th grade.
(…just as a for instance...)
To refresh, you first have to understand what’s happening cognitively (notice your thoughts) so you can get physically aware (feel your body), and then you can manually update your OS.
Yes, I said manually. There’s no iTunes equivalent here…
If you want a detailed guide on how to do that, download my free PDF, "How To Stop Anxiety Before It Gets Bad"--->HERE
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