Friday, April 4, 2014

[sharing] How to Stop Overthinking Everything: 9 Simple Habits

I came across this piece on and thought it deserved to be shared!! These are very points that I keep telling people around me to help them tide over things that bog them down!! Read on to know what am referring to,
What is holding people back from the life that they truly want to live?
I’d say that one very common and destructive thing is that they think too much.
They overthink every little problem until it becomes bigger and scarier and it actually is. Overthink positive things until they don’t look so positive anymore.
Or overanalyze and deconstruct things and so the happiness that comes from just enjoying something in the moment disappears.131119_overthinkb2
Now, thinking things through can be a great thing of course. But being an overthinker can result in becoming someone who stands still in life. In becoming someone who self-sabotages the good things that happen in life.
I know. I used to overthink things a lot and it held me back in ways that weren’t fun at all.
But in the past 8 years or so I have learned how to make this issue so small that it very rarely pops up anymore. And if it does then I know what to do then to overcome it.
In this article I would like to share 9 habits that have helped me in a big, big way to become a simpler and smarter thinker and to live a happier and less fearful life.
1. Put things into a wider perspective.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of overthinking minor things in life.
So when you are thinking and thinking about something ask yourself:
Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?
I have found that widening the perspective by using this simple question can snap me quickly out of overthinking and help me to let that situation go and focus my time and energy on something that actually does matter to me.
2. Set short time-limits for decisions.
If you do not have a time-limit for when you must make a decision and take action then you can just keep turning your thoughts around and around and view them from all angles in your mind for a very long time.
So learn to become better at making decisions and to spring into action by setting deadlines in your daily life. No matter if it is a small or bigger decision.
Here’s what have worked for me.
  • For small decisions like if should go and do the dishes, respond to an email or work out I usually give myself 30 seconds or less to make a decision.
  • For somewhat larger decisions that would have taken me days or weeks to think through in the past I use a deadline for 30 minutes or for the end of the workday.
3. Become a person of action.
When you know how to get started with taking action consistently each day then you’ll procrastinate less by overthinking.
Setting deadlines is one thing that have helped me to become much more of person of action.
Taking small steps forward and only focusing on getting one small step done at a time is another habit that have worked really well.
It works so well because you do not feel overwhelmed and so you do not want flee into procrastination. And even though you may be afraid, taking just a step is such a small thing that you do not get paralyzed in fear.
4. 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 do not 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 have also seen these things as valuable feedback to learn from. Those things that may look negative have taught them a lot and have been invaluable to help them to grow.
So stop trying to control everything. Trying to do so simply doesn’t work because no 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.
5. Say stop in situation where you know you cannot think straight.
Sometimes when I am hungry or when I am lying in bed and are about to go to sleep negative thoughts start buzzing around in my mind.
In the past they could do quite a bit of damage. Nowadays I have become good at catching them quickly and to say to myself:
No, no, we are not going to think about this now.
I know that when I am hungry or sleepy then my mind sometimes tend to be vulnerable to not thinking clearly and to negativity.
So I follow up my “no, no…” phrase and I say to myself that I will think this situation or issue through when I know that my mind will work much better.
For example, after I have eaten something or in the morning after I have gotten my hours of sleep.
It took a bit of practice to get this to work but I have gotten pretty good at postponing thinking in this way. And I know from experience that when I revisit a situation with some level-headed thinking then in 80% of the cases the issue is very small to nonexistent.
And if there is a real issue then my mind is prepared to deal with it in much better and more constructive way.
6. Do not get lost in vague fears.
Another trap that I have fallen into many times that have spurred on overthinking is that I have gotten lost in vague fears about a situation in my life. And so my mind running wild has created disaster scenarios about what could happen if I do something.
So I have learned to ask myself: honestly, what is the worst that could happen?
And when I have figured out what the worst that could happen actually is then I can also spend a little time to think about what I can do if that often pretty unlikely thing happens.
I have found that the worst that could realistically happen is usually something that is not as scary as what my mind running wild with vague fear could produce.
Finding clarity in this way usually only takes a few minutes of time and bit of energy and it can save you a lot of time and suffering.
7. Work out.
This might sound a bit odd.
But in my experience working out – especially with lifting weights – can help me to let go of inner tensions and worries.
It most often makes me feel more decisive and when I was more of an overthinker then it was often my go-to method of changing the headspace I was in to a more constructive one.
8. Spend more of your time in the present moment.
By being in the present moment in your everyday life rather than in the past or a possible future in your mind you can replace more and more of the time you usually spend on overthinking things with just being here right now instead.
Three ways that I often use to reconnect with the present moment are:
  • Slow down. Slow down how you do whatever you are doing right now. Move slower, talk slower or ride your bicycle more slowly for example. By doing so you become more aware of how you use your body and what is happening all around you right now.
  • Tell yourself: Now I am… I often tell myself this: Now I am X. And X could be brushing my teeth. Taking a walk in the woods. Or doing the dishes. This simple reminder helps my mind to stop wandering and brings my focus back to what is happening in this moment.
  • Disrupt and reconnect. If you feel you are getting lost in overthinking then disrupt that thought by – in your mind – shouting this to yourself : STOP! Then reconnect with the present moment by taking just 1-2 minutes to focus fully on what is going on around you. Take it all in with all your senses. Feel it, hear it, smell it, see it and sense it on your skin.
9. Spend more of your time with people who do not overthink things.
Your social environment plays a big part. And not just the people and groups close to you in real life. But also what you read, listen to and watch. The blogs, books, forums, movies, podcasts and music in your life.
So think about if there are any sources in your life – close by or further away – that encourages and tends create more overthinking in your mind. And think about what people or sources that has the opposite effect on you.
Find ways to spend more of your time and attention with the people and sources that have a positive effect on your thinking and less on the influences that tends to strengthen your overthinking habit.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sacrifice or Compromise!!

A friend recently remarried.... after being single independent woman for nearly 20years! She found this man, a decade older than her, and I dont know if it was instant love or they just grew to like each other over a period of time, but things moved fast and he asked her to marry him. All these years, all she yearned for was someone to give her the status of "wife" and take care of her treat her like a Queen.  Give her a secure life, money, protection, and a home!!  She found all this in him and decided to accept his proposal. I was over the moon, happy for her! I have seen her struggle everyday with uncertainties. She is a strong woman, but has her weaknesses, and always felt there was something amiss.. Her 1st marriage did not last too long, and she has gone through quite a bit of difficulty in life. 

Ok, without digressing further, let me come back to the post. I am writing this following a conversation I had with her few days ago. After a quick round up of what is happening, she spoke of how things were now. This man she has married dotes on her, but has laid down a few rules and norms that he expects her to follow. Infact these were discussed before and I wondered, even asked her about it. She had been keen on starting a business and was nearly there, but then this Man takes her into his hold and tells her she will not do any business, but be there to take care of him, and maybe if she is bored she could start coming to his office [ he runs a business, taken over from his father].. She was told to shut down her business, bank account and close all loops when she moved in with him. 

I know how much effort she has put into this and was quite surprised when she said she was shutting it all down and going to forget about it.  I was honestly shocked and stumped!! How far is a person willing to go for love?! And if this was right?! I expressed my concern and asked if she would be ok living like this, under his shadow, and she instantly replied "yes, he is giving me so much, I can give up these small things"

Makes me wonder- is this a compromise or a sacrifice? This business was her dream, and I know how much sweat & effort has gone into getting the foundation done. The number of meetings she has done, the amount off money she has spent on the proposal and plans. She now tells me she is home, making sure the cook churns out his breakfast on time, and the maids clean the place properly and is overseeing all the household tasks. 

She loves going out, she loves malls, she loves shopping and he is the total opposite- detests malls, shopping but looks like he has visited the mall once with her. She spoke excitedly about the holidays he has planned, the meetings he does and the dog that is getting used to having her around at home. She also told me how his family is quite hostile, how they are all showing their hatred towards her [they feel his property/assets are now out of their reach]. He was married for 30 odd years before his wife passed away and they dont have children... She on the other hand has a daughter who is married and has a family of her own! 

Adjusting and giving in once in a while works in any relationship but to completely give up your life and become a part of someone else's- is that right? 

I guess for someone young and still new to life, it is alright to just adopt their spouse/partner's life, but someone who has lived alone, yearned to accomplish, dreamt a lot to just give it all up- I guess am having trouble digesting this..

Am I wrong? I wish her all the happiness in the world [ God knows she deserves it] but this whole change is what has me puzzled.. 


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Am a contradiction of sorts. i love going out and having a good time with friends, and i can also stay home chill out over a book or a movie.. Am very passionate about writing, so give me a topic and watch me float away into wonderland... I Am crazy about music,books,friends and my doggie... :)