Updated: Jun 25
We have around 50,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day.
Around 80% of those are the same as yesterday's ones.
We spend almost half our waking time lost in thought.
Thinking about the past can cause depression, and worrying about the future can cause anxiety.
However, it's only when we become attached to a thought and constantly repeat it,
consciously or unconsciously, that it can become harmful. And the good news is:
You are not your thoughts!
By practising mindfulness, we can bring AWARENESS to:
The natural phenomenon of overthinking - we all do it.
Patterns and themes - you can consider jotting down your negative thoughts over a week and see if there’s a pattern.
The obsessive nature of the mind as it wants to occupy itself with thoughts.
Triggers - either physical or emotional.
The presence of an inner critic – the negative narrative we tell ourselves.
Being trapped in the past or the future - are you going to allow the thinking mind to steal your present moment?
The stories we tell ourselves and the catastrophising - this is what causes the suffering.
The relationship between thoughts and emotions and where you feel them in your body.
YOU HAVE A CHOICE - how do you want to engage your thinking mind?
It’s about changing your habits, as you become more aware of how you react to
your thoughts, so they no longer control you. The more we practise being mindful
of our thoughts, the less they will control us, and the less distracted and
influenced by them we will be.
7 Tips for Managing Overthinking
Label the thought, e.g. worrying, daydreaming, ruminating, regretting, resisting. This brings your awareness and curiosity to it and helps you see it from a different perspective.
Park the thought to deal with later so it’s not distracting you from the present and what you are doing right now.
Notice the physical sensations when you have a particularly persistent thought. This helps identify your triggers and provide you with choice on how to react and what to think, e.g. sweaty palms, racing heart, butterflies, tightness, nausea) and how you are feeling, e.g. angry, hurt.
Resist the urge to tell others the story that came with the thought. This causes ruminating (repeating the thought over and over).
Replace the thought with a mantra or affirmation, e.g."I am letting go of that thought” or “I choose peace instead” or "I am okay".
Tell the thought or your inner critic to F off.
Write the thoughts down. This is a way to get them out of your head, especially if you are trying to sleep at night. You could free write what you are thinking about, create a to do list or write a letter to someone.
In this video I go through 5 tools to help you come back to the present moment when you have become distracted by overthinking.