We all do our best to stay positive, but occasionally we can slip into negative thinking patterns that can wreak havoc on our lives. We might worry about our past mistakes or current stresses, and how these could lead to negative outcomes in the future. We might obsess about or over-analyze regular experiences and interactions, reading into them things that aren’t actually there. We might find that as soon as one bad thing happens, we associate it with all the other bad things that have happened in our lives and begin to feel miserable. We might feel anxious in the present, having a hard time getting out of our own heads as we worry and obsess about the things that could go wrong.
These are 6 ways to stop overthinking everything and find inner peace:
1. Recognize you have a problem
Can’t stop overthinking everything? Recognizing you have a problem is the first step in solving a problem, right? Acknowledge that you have this problem and consider some of these tips.
2. Don’t hate yourself for it
The brain is actually hardwired to think out all the possible outcomes at any given moment. If you look at the brain of the frog, its frontal lobe isn’t particularly beefy like ours is. Its survival depends on snap fight or flight decisions. But for us, we’ve evolved to think about our problems. So overthinking is natural.
3. Breathe deeply
When you’re thinking a little too much, take some deep breaths and really break down what you’re thinking about. It’ll help center you. You can even jot down your thoughts in list form and see if that helps you make a choice.
4. Talk less
When we’re racked with too many thoughts, we tend to want to talk it out. This might not work out as well as you’d like. Some research shows that talking about things you’re overthinking releases cortisol, the stress hormone, that can get you even more worked up.
5. Practice meditation
Meditation is often misunderstood as a strict practice of clearing your mind completely. You can try it that way, there’s nothing wrong with that, but the best type of meditation for overthinking is meditation that allows your thoughts to roll pleasantly through your mind.
6. Get outside
Nothing makes you shut up and clear your thoughts like a hike through the forest or a bike ride through the city. Get out, get the heart pumping a little bit. Treat it like meditation. You’re not trying to clear your mind, but let your thoughts roll through your head at their own pace. Don’t force anything.