Does your overthinking often lead you to the point of paralysis and fear? Is the deluge of toxic thoughts draining you completely? Is your mind flooded with so many thoughts that you don’t know how to handle them? This feels like home turf for you, doesn’t it? Stay along, and you will be glad to know that it’s possible to find your mental peace again.
In this article, you will be able to know 5 simple ways in which you can learn to calm your mind, achieve greater focus, and find the direction that is right for you!
But before this, let me share some of the most common toxic, negative thoughts that make you feel resentful and can stop you from finding true happiness. These are the ones that you really need to be aware of if you sense them anywhere near you.
I’m always lonely or I’ll always be lonely
This is one of the most commonly felt human emotions. Recent research has shown that loneliness is now the world’s number one fear, surpassing the fear of public speaking and death. It can make you feel that you are rejected by everyone around you. And, that makes you insecure and anxious. Ironically, this is a problem we don’t talk about enough.
I hate my body shape
Thoughts about having a poor body image can be one of the most toxic thoughts in your mind. It’s very common across people of all ages. Quite shockingly, a 2016 survey conducted by Girl guiding suggests that this pressure is felt from a very young age, and girls as young as a seven-year-old struggle with poor body confidence. If you have grown up to body shaming, like me, it can almost be devastating. It can lead to everyday struggles and we end up being harsh on ourselves. More importantly, we subconsciously internalize this negative thought and start blaming everything on our physical appearance.
I’m not happy in my job (or work or career)
Your job can make you feel unhappy at times. We often end up overthinking about how much we hate our work, and that can end up affecting us adversely and increasing our stress levels.
I’m not worthy
This is another familiar territory we often find ourselves in. ‘I am not worthy of getting good marks, or ‘I am not worthy of being accepted by this university’ or ‘I am not worthy of love or success or money. This thought goes right alongside the feeling of not being enough. When I decided to take a leap of faith and quit my high-flying corporate job to pursue my calling in coaching, I found myself drowning in this exact pool of thought. I felt that I was not worthy enough of coaching and helping people or that I was not good enough or smart enough. I started feeling like an imposer with all the self-doubt creeping in. Often, this toxic thought came from what I thought others were thinking about me. I falsely assumed that others don’t see any value in me, so my self-esteem kept dipping.
I don’t have enough
This is another negative thought that manifests itself in many ways and we can spend too much time ruminating about it. Thoughts around not having enough money, skills, talents, materialistic things or even friends and connections can end up completely swallowing you.
These toxic thoughts come easily to us all the time. They can overwhelm you unless you begin to recognize them. Which of these thoughts do you find yourself usually caught up in?
Now that you are aware of the most frequently occurring negative thoughts, let me share 5 simple ways to help you ward off at least some of the negative and stressful thoughts.
1) Put things into a wider perspective
It's very easy to fall into the trap of overthinking minor things in life. So when you are thinking about something ask yourself: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks? Because widening the perspective by using this simple question can quickly snap you out of overthinking and help you to let go of that situation.
It allows you to finally stop thinking about something and to focus your time and energy on something else that actually does matter to you
2) Stop setting your day up for stress and overthinking
You can't totally avoid overwhelming or very stressful days. But you can minimize the number of them in your month and year by getting a good start to your day and by not setting yourself up for unnecessary stress, overthinking, and suffering.
Here are three things that can help you:
Get a good start: How you start your day tends to often set the tone for your day.
A stressed morning leads to a stressed day. Consuming negative information as you ride the bus to your job tends to lead to more pessimistic thoughts during the rest of your day.
While for example reading something uplifting over breakfast, getting some exercise, and then get started with your most important task right now sets a good for the day will help you to stay positive.
Single-task and take regular breaks.
This will help you to keep a sharp focus during your day and to get what's most important done while also allowing you to rest and recharge so you don't start to run on fumes.
And this somewhat relaxed mindset but with a narrow focus will help you to think clearly and decisively and avoid winding up in a stressed and overthinking headspace.
Minimize your daily inputToo much information, too many times of just taking a few minutes to check your inbox, Facebook, or Twitter account, or how your blog or website is doing leads to more input and clutter in your mind as your day progress.
And so it becomes harder to think in a simple and clear way and easier to lapse back into that familiar overthinking habit.
3) Realize that you cannot control everything
Trying to think things through 50 times can be a way to try to control everything. To cover every eventuality so you don't risk making a mistake, fail or looking like a fool.
But those things are a part of living a life where you truly stretch your comfort zone. Everyone who you may admire and have lived a life that inspires you has failed. They have made mistakes. But in most cases, they've also seen these things as valuable feedback to learn from. Those things that may look negative have a lot and have been taught them invaluable to help them to grow. So stop trying to control everything. Trying to do so simply doesn't work because one can see all possible scenarios in advance
This is of course easier said than done. So do it in small steps if you like
We are always worrying about the future or worrying and regretting something that has already happened. This causes stress and anxiety to take over. We start imagining different outcomes, none of which are really happening at the moment. In most cases, overthinking is caused by one emotion — fear. We are either dreading something that happened in the past or are fearful of taking action. Either way, we end up being paralyzed. If you stay in the present moment, then fear can’t take over, and overthinking isn’t an issue. You are then able to focus on what you have to do each day to progress and thrive. I would also recommend a book by Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now. It brings out the point of present moment awareness in the most transformative way. This is one book that shifted my perspective on several dimensions.
5)Be okay with the world
Stop judging everything that happens around you. Stop labeling or isolating a particular event as good or bad. Learn to be okay with what happens. Judgment often comes when we try to control the outcome. Learn to accept what is happening in your life instead of reacting or resisting it. Being okay also means learning to love where you’re at and what you’re doing right now. It also means appreciating the things that you already have and the people around you. It’s important to find gratitude in the little things. It’s important to spend time on the things that give you joy. Quoting Jay Shetty, a motivational speaker from the United Kingdom, one of my favorites, ‘The stuff we stress about on a daily basis is taking away our energies to love the people who deserve that love!
Your mind can be a busy place, so it’s important to learn ways to deal effectively with some of the thoughts, especially the ones that get you nervous or anxious. Whenever you get into the loop of overthinking, use these tips and strategies to ward them off, and avoid focusing on them.
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