Overthinking is one of the most underrated topics when it comes to self-improvement. More often than not, people focus on conquering courage zones, attracting positive thoughts and energies, and of course, creating clear and actionable goals. While these other aspects of self-improvement are indeed valuable, all of them rely on having a clear and composed mind.
Hence, when your mind is clouded with thoughts, especially the unnecessary ones, you’re likely to collapse even before you know it. That’s why I can’t stress how important mental serenity is. Before you can even take a proper first step and execute all the succeeding steps, you’ll need to prioritize a proper state of mind.
As such, in this short piece, we’ll be sharing some valuable points on how to be present and peaceful when you can’t stop thinking. Together with clear and actionable steps, you’ll get some crucial tips and tricks to reach that optimal state of mind and give your confidence a boost!
4 Ways to Prevent Yourself from Overthinking (and actionable steps, too!)
#1: Learn how to sort positive and negative thoughts
Before we begin with any tip, learning how to sort positive and negative thoughts is, perhaps, the ultimate key to preventing overthinking. Think of your mind as an empty cup. Like this traditional eastern imagery, an empty cup is also an opportunity to fill it in. When your cup doesn’t contain anything at all, you have something that others don’t – the space to add new stuff.
With this space, learning how to sort what you put inside your cup will also reflect the kind of actions that you’ll take. To begin with, an empty cup is devoid of worries other than filling it in. But what kind of thoughts should you add? Of course, these should be positive ideas. In contrast, you must take out the negative ideas in your mind. Focusing on negatives can poison your mind.
Call to Action: To properly sort out ideas, try doing a 5-minute daily meditation routine. Usually, this works best before you start your day. By mentally placing your positive thoughts on the left and negative thoughts on the right, you can properly sort things out even before you begin your day. Better yet, write them on a piece of paper. By doing this, you can consciously select to focus on positive ideas throughout the day. And, of course, doing this daily means that you’ll achieve long-term effects.
#2: Create a Plan in Mind
Even with just positive thoughts, overthinking may still arise. Although, this is rather on the better side. Well, this doesn’t take away the fact that you’re still spending too much thinking, to a point that you become stressed. As such, you can try resolving this by creating a plan in mind.
When you are already actively sorting out your thoughts, having a plan can help you organize these and prioritize them one at a time. With a clear and concrete plan for achieving what you want to do, you can prevent yourself from being distracted by other unnecessary stuff at the moment. Take note, we’re not saying that your other positive thoughts are totally unnecessary. Instead, we are taking into consideration the impact of appropriate timing.
Because when you learn how to choose your battles, you can focus on one at a time. Add to that, constantly taking down one task will positively reinforce your brain that you can actually do it. As such, proper execution is the ultimate key, and at the heart of it is your plan in mind.
Call to Action: Planning can be easy and complex. Learn how to sort things out based on short-term and long-term goals. Starting with these two qualifiers, you can begin identifying what needs to be done now. Doing this will prevent you from getting overwhelmed. And even when you’re bombarded with tasks and unwelcome challenges, you’ll still have space in your mind to process other things.
You may also read more about Finding Love After Divorce is Worth the Effort.
#3: Just Say ‘No’
In the Monopoly deal, Just Say No is a card that allows you to reject another player’s card. But in real life, this card is, perhaps, the most underrated one because you don’t actually have to draw it from the card pile. Saying no is always part of your options, especially when you’ve conditioned people around you that it is part of who you are.
Concerning achieving a peaceful mind, saying no basically has two applications: rejecting thoughts and ideas that lead you to overthink and rejecting other people’s ideas and even actions toward you. For one, rejecting your own ideas can lead to a more serene mental landscape. On the other, rejecting others’ ideas and actions, especially when these are negative, can prevent their thoughts from taking over your mental free space.
In both instances, it is crucial to develop a habit of rejecting what’s negative or what’s unnecessary. Be careful, though, since saying no can be interpreted negatively. Sometimes, when you overuse it, you reject courage zones, wider perspectives, and better ideas.
Call to Action: At this point, you’ve already got the message. To prevent overthinking, you practically need to pause, sort your thoughts, and plan what to do. Saying no comes into the picture through action. Remember that this can only be done by actually doing it, not just by thinking about it.
#4: Pause, breathe, and enjoy the moment
Finally, you may already be at a point in your life where you’ve mastered all the other points mentioned above. Even then, you still experience that lack of mental serenity. If such is the case, then stop… just stop doing anything, and stop thinking. Doing that pause, even about positive thoughts, can help your mind breathe.
Instead of focusing on what’s not there or not yet there, try directing your attention to what’s in the moment. This will allow you to enjoy the process, to make the journey, not just about the destination.