I recently shared a video offering one
of my favourite tools to stop overthinking. It's a simple little hack that has worked for me often and one which some of you really loved.
It ironically, got me thinking of how many of us are overthinkers! In my therapy room, so many issues are made worse by people feeling totally unable to stop ruminating on the issue.
I often describe this kind of overthinking as constantly picking at a scab, we won't let it be and as a result, it never really heals! Overthinking feels compulsive for many of us, leaving us frustrated at ourselves and exhausted.
The Overthinking Quicksand
Picture this: You're lying in bed, replaying a conversation from earlier in the day, dissecting every word, every nuance, until it's morphed into a tangled web of possibilities. Or maybe you're caught in a loop of what-ifs, conjuring scenarios that grow wilder with each passing thought. Congratulations, you've stumbled into the realm of overthinking!
Overthinking, is like quicksand for the mind. The more you struggle against it, the deeper you sink. It's a trap that muddles our perception, saps our energy, and prevents us from embracing the present moment.
Climbing Out of The Quicksand
The video I shared is a great quick tool to interrupt our busy brain by asking it "If you're so clever, what's my next thought going to be". Weirdly, when we do this, our brain goes silent! Now it might not be a permanent fix but it gives us a moment of peace and the potential of realising that the overthinking mind is not our natural state.
Here are a couple of other tools which you can try to use to get you out of the quicksand:
Tool 1: Mindful Awareness
Begin by cultivating awareness of your thoughts. Imagine your mind as a flowing river – let the thoughts drift by without latching onto them. Observe each thought as if it were a passing cloud, neither good nor bad, simply there.
When you find yourself spiralling into overthinking, gently guide your focus back to the present moment. Engage your senses – notice the feel of the ground beneath your feet, the rhythm of your breath, the play of light filtering through the window. By anchoring yourself in the now, you weaken the grip of overthinking.
Tool 2: Reframe and Redirect
Overthinking often thrives on negative narratives and worst-case scenarios. Counter this tendency by consciously reframing your thoughts. When you catch yourself fixating on what could go wrong, gently interrupt the cycle. Challenge those thoughts by asking, "Is this based on evidence, or am I assuming the worst?"
Once you've reframed your perspective, redirect your focus towards actionable steps. If you're ruminating over a mistake, consider what you've learned from it and how you can grow. Transform your thoughts into a productive force that propels you forward rather than holds you back.
Tool 3: The Power of Journaling
We have already told you how much we love journaling at Beam, so much so we have our own range of journals but it is for very good reason! Journaling can set your overthinking brain free! Set aside a few minutes each day to journal your thoughts. Pour out your worries, your fears, your grand schemes – no judgment, no filter. The act of writing helps externalise your thoughts, making them less overwhelming.
As you journal, seek patterns in your thinking. Are there recurring themes? Are certain triggers igniting the overthinking spiral? By identifying these patterns, you gain insight into your thought processes, empowering you to break free from their grasp.
Take Tiny Steps
Breaking the habit of being an overthinking is no easy task so be gentle and patient with yourself, celebrate small victories, and keep these tools close at hand. Change may not happen overnight but taking tiny steps towards creating a change in your thinking behaviour will eventually yield long term results.
If you would like one to one support, you can always reach out to us at Beam and we will be happy to help you.