Have you ever looped a conversation in your head over and over again? Sometimes we think there is a right or wrong answer to a problem, and that reflection will help us make a better decision. At other times, we try to prevent possible problems, such as when we try to over-analyze our partner’s every gesture to avoid being hurt.
When fixed ruminations take precedence over our mind, we risk spending all of our time thinking about anything that could go wrong, and it becomes impossible to feel safe. Spending all of your time obsessively worrying is exhaustingmentally. Thinking too much is never a good thing. People who overthink often have struggling to prioritize their problems, to sort. If you’re prone to freaking out very often, here are some suggestions to help you get over that over-thinking quickly.
Identify the problem
Worrying is not always a conscious process. You can think too much without even realizing it, in a subliminal way. It often happens when we are doing routine gestures, like taking a shower or driving. But not paying attention to the worried little voice in our head keeps us from coming to grips with it. The first step in curbing excess thinking is therefore to spot it. The majority of unnecessary worries all start with the words “What if …?” », Recalls the site Live Strong. Becoming aware of this is already a help in stopping ruminations in their tracks.
Accept these thoughts
The second step in this strategy is not to try to stop, avoid, or resist the worry. When you try to fight your thoughts, you may find yourself feeling frustrated and even more worried about not being able to control your mind. Instead, change your method. As humans, our thoughts tend to wander, and at times, to become anxiety-provoking. The technique of meditation which consists of observing your thoughts and letting them go like clouds allows you to take a healthy distance from what worries us.
Replace bad scenarios
Whenever disturbing ideas arise in our head, we visualize the situation. Reverse the trend by trying to think about all the right things that can happen. Replace the worst possible scenarios with the best, and focus your energy on all the good things that might happen in the future.
Redirect your energy
If your brain is overworked, redirect your energy to an activity. Intentionally distracting yourself will shift the energy elsewhere. Feel free to engage in creative activities like writing, painting, music, or dancing to reduce anxiety and stress. And if creativity isn’t your cup of tea, try exercising.
Laugh to keep your dark thoughts at bay
If none of the strategies mentioned work, you can try a less conventional approach like… laughter. Do you have the same phrase on repeat in your head? Turn it into a song, and improvise dance steps on it. To derisively turn his dark thoughts helps to see the absurdity.
Advice from a psychologist: the 5 steps to free yourself from parasitic thoughts
Several of the steps presented above can be found in the strategy developed by an American psychologist and professor, Deborah Serani, which she detailed in June 2021 at the microphone of CNN.
- First step: awareness : it consists in becoming aware of those moments when we start to think too much, overthinking even to ruminate. There are signs that can help spot those moments: Prof. Serani confessed that her palms got sweaty and her heart pounded when she overthought too much.
- Second step: taking a step back : it consists in becoming aware of what we think too much about: “Am I thinking of something that is out of my control, or is it something that I can control?”, one wonders according to Deborah Serani. Thus, if one cannot control road traffic, one can nevertheless have control over his route, and thus bypass traffic jams, or even the reaction that one will have in the face of this unpleasant situation.
If we ruminate on something we don’t control, we can say to ourselves “I really have to prioritize what I have a grip on”, And therefore move on in the face of this situation for which there is nothing we can do.
- Third step: embody and isolate : according to the American psychologist, if the situation is under our control, the third step is to be in the present moment, and to isolate the problem that one encounters from the rest.
- Fourth step: time : it consists, once the problem has been identified and isolated, set a time limit to devote to it. There is no question of being overwhelmed, it is a question of keeping control. Let’s come back to our example of the traffic jam: the best is simply to take another route, if you can, and to warn the person you are reaching that you will be late. Ruminating that we will be late and that it is not possible is counterproductive and undermines morale. We come back to acceptance.
- Fifth step: congratulate yourself : The last step is to recognize our efforts, and congratulate each other on these small steps which have helped to solve the problem, even if it has not been entirely solved. “You will celebrate the fact that you took charge of a situation, recognized that you were overthinking and that you tried to solve the problem ”, commented the psychologist.
Deborah Serani gave other tips and advice for those who would still find it difficult to let go of parasitic thoughts: to write his worries and thoughts on a piece of paper to free his brain from them, and to see if these thoughts persist for weeks or months, and / or are accompanied by generalized anxiety.