Overthinking

Overthinking – how to escape the void

"în Psihologie & Relații" by

The day has started just normal. The coffee was good, and the colleagues were fine. Suddenly, something has happened, and your world is upside down. It took only a small convenient, and a perfect day has become a nightmare. Now, you are reconsidering all of your life choices. The only things you can feel are fear and pain. Can you relate? This is called Overthinking. It’s like an evil wizard who takes your lucidity and transforms your mind into a chaos, with a simple spell. Have you ever thought that thinking too much can damage your mental health? Well, for the ones who bravely fight with this issue, thoughts are not friendly butterflies, but rather sharp thorns.

Typology

There are two types of people, according to the psychologists. Each one of them has different behavior and reactions.
People with a Type A personality are more likely to be more ambitious, competitive and intense, and those with a Type B personality are alleged to be more relaxed, less frantic and reactive. Those with Type A personalities would be certainly more likely to engage in overthinking.

However, if you have a Type A personality, you’re not totally lost. Even if you believe that overthinking about an awkward situation, or that B you got in class today is a good thing… well, it isn’t. It’s unhealthy and messes up your brain big times. So now we will try to help you, and escape you from this dark void in which you are stuck. We can escape together!

As psychology studies say, practicing mindfulness might help a lot. “Mindfulness generally refers to a cognitive state of awareness of the present and a mindset that allows you to process information and experiences in a non-judgmental manner” says Dr. Jeffrey Huttman, a licensed psychologist.
He also says that meditation practice is the main mechanism to develop mindfulness. We can test out relaxation techniques, which also will be helpful for those with anxiety disorders, as there is a relationship between overthinking and anxiety.

Tips and Tricks:

1. Exercise

Add the practice of relaxation techniques to your schedule. These include yoga, tai-chi, or breathing exercises. If you’re a lazy ass (most of us are, actually) and don’t want to get out of your bed, you can simply practice those breathing exercises. They have been helping me a lot, especially when trying to sleep.

A great breathing exercise: inhale for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, than exhale for 8 seconds. You may think that this is stupid, but it actually balances the heart rhythm.

2. Change your focus

No, we are not those stupid people who will say “just don’t worry”. Whenever you feel that you start overthinking, start doing something else. Read a book, write, call someone, go out for a walk or watch a movie.

We actually have an exercise for this too. Focus on finding 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. For example, you are in a coffee-break, at a stressful meeting. Look around you. You see the vending machine, maybe a video-projector, some boards and others. You can feel the table in front on you, the uncomfortable but elegant clothes you are wearing, the chair and maybe your pen. Complete this exercise in 15-20 seconds, and the overthinking problem won’t overtake.

I’ll quote the song “Migraine”, by Twenty One Pilots, that says:

“Sometimes, to stay alive you’ve got to kill your mind.”

You have to kill the unhealthy thoughts, and you can do this by changing the route. Kill the evil wizard who says that you are not enough, and find the fairy who encourages you to be the best version of yourself !

3. Write down your thoughts

Also, you can write down your thoughts so you will be able to understand what are you constantly worried about. In your head, they might split in thousands of pieces, but when you’ll have the pen in your hand, it won’t be a lot of work. Just write what you really have to confront, and when you are ready, go on and confront it.

4. Schedule a “worrying time” every day

It might sound odd, or you might think it’s stupid and goofy, but for some, scheduling a time to worry everyday and then trying not to allow themselves to worry for the rest of the day works. You’re getting it… out of your system, you could say.

Inc. magazine cites a study by Dr. Sarah Kate McGowan and Dr. Evelyn Behar, where 53 individuals with generalized anxiety disorder were instructed to either schedule their worrying for 30 minutes a day, or to worry freely throughout the day. They found that the group that scheduled a time to worry experienced decreased anxiety and slept better than the group that didn’t. It takes two weeks for most people to find relief using this method, according to Inc. magazine. Worries have no limit, but using this strategy, you’re giving them a limit, in a sense. There’s no harm in giving it a try.

We gave you the Dos, now we’ll give you the don’ts

Try not to build a wall between you and the rest of the world, only to tame your unhealthy thoughts. That will let them take control over your life. Instead, talk with close people, and even with a specialist, if you feel that you are losing control. Some relatives will not understand, or will give you basic advice, like “just cheer up”. It doesn’t mean that nobody understands.

If you have no one around you, the Internet will save your live. Search for forums, or contact your Internet friends. We are available if you need someone to talk to, someone that won’t tell anyone important because… doesn’t know anyone important. We, as Internet friends who have never met IRL, saved each other’s messed-up Christmas. Don’t ever underestimate the power of an Internet friend.
Don’t ignore your problem, thinking that if you don’t consider it, it doesn’t exist. The first step is to call your problem on its name, to recognize that you are not living in a pink castle and the inconvenient doesn’t exist.

Hope we could help you. Remember to recognize your problem, and try to find solutions. Also, if the issue becomes serious, don’t hesitate to contact a specialist.

Autori:

Raluca Călin
Larisa Moisei.

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