At some point, every individual has overthought some topic in their life. Your mind is spinning in a million different directions, exploding with possibilities. Some people believe that this way of thinking is unhealthy as if it is a one-way ticket to self-destruction. But if used properly, it can open up a world of possibilities for you.
“We have only heard about overthinking and anxiety in negative contexts. But funnily enough, it can also be the best thing that has happened to you,” says Bhakti Joshi, a South Mumbai-based counselling psychologist.
The person who thinks a lot and considers the long and short-term implications of any given decision is happier and more satisfied. The studies show that overthinkers are better prepared for any circumstance, whether it is good or bad. They make better decisions, are more productive, and are good friends.
Overthinking becomes an issue for someone when you try to stop doing it. It’s like trying to push water uphill by telling yourself to stop overthinking. The chattering in your monkey mind just keeps going on and on, like water flowing through your palms.
A 23-year-old Naina Dixit mentions, “I try not to overthink in varied situations. But somehow I end up thinking too much about a particular situation, whether it’s in my professional or personal life. At some point, I get overwhelmed with the details of the circumstances, and sometimes I have to control my mind to stop overthinking.”
But what if I tell you that you can turn your overthinking into a strength? Rather than getting rid of it, you can learn how to control it and use it to your advantage. After all, this is a unique characteristic. Here are some tips on how you can convert your thought process for good:
Sometimes, you get so lost in your deep thinking that you forget about time. As long as you are aware of where your thoughts are leading and have structures in place to progress rather than hinder the process, it is acceptable to overthink. To allow your mind to grow, you must have a stable foundation.
Establish guardrails in advance to serve as a reminder of your internal compass when you start to become lost in deep thoughts. This could take the form of putting time restrictions on a subject, excluding specific external opinions or establishing a set time and location where you can allow your mind to think freely.
Are you thinking from a place of anxiety, or are you thinking from a place of abundance and power? The answer to this question differs from person to person. Some people use their overthinking in good ways, whereas others simply overthink with no outcome.
Overthinking can sometimes be caused by anxiety. When you start feeling nervousness creeping in, your mind begins to race. It is gaining momentum out of fear rather than from a place of power and inspiration. The more you realise this pattern, the easier it will be to redirect and refocus your attention back to a productive state of mind.
You can start noticing yourself when you’re about to fall into a habit that relies on fear rather than power. Try to rely on your guardrails to steer you back to using your mind.
Switch into gratitude
Regardless of setting boundaries and recognising your patterns, there will be times when you need assistance to control your mind. Overthinking frequently leads to thoughts of the past or fears about the future. In these moments, it all comes down to delving into something that brings you back into the present.
Create mental anchors that can replace the overthinking tendency. Rather than becoming irritated with yourself, cultivate gratitude. “I am grateful for what I am feeling because it is allowing me to... “ is a good thought to have. Focus on the underlying cause of what is evoking this emotional response rather than allowing yourself to slide into frustration, rage, or anxiety. This is frequently where the gold is found—when you discover both the problem and the solution.
“I get a lot of ideas when I’m happy, optimistic, and grateful,” you might think. There’s nothing negative about it. “I’m allowed to spend time in this hyperdrive phase because I’m confident that positive changes will come from it.” Breathe, affirm, relax, and then come back to the thought process with power.
There are other advantages, like focusing on details and thinking in creative and solution-focused ways. “It develops introspection, which can also help you learn in adaptive ways; overthinking can also help you learn from past experiences by being mindful towards our actions and decision-making skills,” feels Bhakti.
So next time, whenever you are overthinking, remember that it is a good thing and you are allowed to feel it, and from this, some positive changes might happen!
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