As much as I don’t like to admit it, sometimes I need a gentle reminder to not be so hard on myself. If you know me or follow my blog you will know the struggles I have and still get with overthinking and anxiety.
I have heard anxiety be described as the feeling you get on a rollercoaster, it’s the feeling of unease and butterflies in your tummy and this is something i can definitely relate too. When I am struggling with anxiety this is the feeling I experience all day, everyday and most people will not realise this is how I am feeling. I put a smile on my face and get on with my day as much as possible- anxiety is not always seen.
So, when we are hard on ourselves by using negative labels, finding fault with our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours, and replaying in our heads scenes in which we believe we did something wrong, it doesn’t help us thrive and achieve mental wellness. Self-criticism keeps us anchored in the past and prevents us from moving forward.
Often when I experience overthinking I am negative about myself, worry I have made mistakes and put myself down. It can be a dark, lonely and exhausting place.
I have learnt a lot about myself, overthinking and anxiety after my most difficult time last year and although anxiety is not something that just goes away for me, I feel i have become more aware of the signs of when I am struggling and I feel those that are close to me pick up on this too- probably before I even realise!
I am by no means an expert, I have good and bad days and need reminders to not be so hard on myself from those close to me. Over time i have developed a tool box of helpful tips that often work for me to help reduce overthinking, irrational thoughts and I hope you find some useful too, even if it is just a reminder…
Separate yourself from the problem. Anxiety is sticky and clingy. Once in our head, it doesn’t want to let go. It makes us believe that all of our anxious thoughts are true. Stepping back and looking at the big picture can help you separate from the problem. The problem is an event in your life. It isn’t who you are. Problems don’t make you bad.
Keep it to the issue at hand. Once we start criticizing ourselves for one thing, the harsh treatment easily grows and spreads. When you notice yourself leaving the current issue and overgeneralizing your mistakes to “everything,” stop; remind yourself of the issue at hand. Shift your thinking from what you did wrong to what you did–and do–right. Sure, people make mistakes, but we do more things right.
Awareness is the beginning of change. Before you can begin to address or cope with the habit of overthinking, you need to learn to be aware of it when it is happening. Any time you find yourself doubting or feeling stressed or anxious, step back and look at the situation and how you are responding. In that moment of awareness is the seed of the change you want to make.
Distract yourself into happiness. Sometimes it is helpful to have a way to distract yourself with happy, positive, healthy alternatives. Things like dancing, exercise, drawing and painting and spending time with friends and family can distance you from the issues enough to shut down the overanalysis.
Put things into perspective. It is always easy to make things bigger and more negative than they need to be. The next time you catch yourself having irrational or negative thoughts ask yourself how much it will matter in a year’s time. Just this simple question, can help shut down overthinking.
Stop waiting for perfection. This is a big one. For all of us who are waiting for perfection, we can stop waiting right now. Being ambitious is great but aiming for perfection is unrealistic, impractical, and debilitating.
Realize you can’t predict the future.
No one can predict the future; all we have is now. If you spend the present moment worrying about the future, you are robbing yourself of your time now. Spending time on the future is simply not productive. Spend that time instead on things that give you joy.
Accept your best. The fear that grounds overthinking is often based in feeling that you aren’t good enough. Once you given your best effort, accept it as such.
Talk to people you trust. When you’re upset or anxious it can help to talk about what you are going through. Talking to someone helps you to look at things in a different way and to find solutions. Talking helps lessen the worry and makes you feel less alone and can often reduce and rationalise the irrational thoughts you may be having.
If you have any helpful tips, feel free to leave them in the comment section. And please remember to look after yourself and don’t be too hard on yourself!
Love ThinkLess*LiveMore X