How does worry and overthinking impact your life?
Do you suffer from any of these?
- You feel constantly anxious, worried and restless
- When something happens that you find irritating or upsetting, you find it difficult to let it go
- You feel tired and drained of energy because your mind is constantly active
- You wake up in the night because you are worried or thinking about something
- You just want to feel more relaxed and be able to enjoy life more
Why willpower doesn't work
Perhaps you have tried time and time again to stop worrying about things.
Maybe you have been told to change your thought patterns. To just let it go. To make the time to relax. But you have tried and it doesn't work.
Here's one of the main reasons why focusing on your worrisome thoughts can make it worse...
The nature of your mind is that your thoughts are transient, if they are allowed to just pass through. But in our society there is a tendency to put a great amount of emphasis on our thoughts. We view them as if they are true. We give our thoughts a great deal of meaning and importance. But should we really be doing this? Ask yourself, is this making you feel better or worse about your life?
When we make needing to control our thoughts the focus of our life, we are placing even more emphasis onto them. Instead of releasing them, and being able to enjoy each moment, we maintain a strong fixation onto each idea, and hold onto it, making it more and more difficult to let go.
So, instead of just allowing worry to pass through, we make it into something bad. Something that makes us feel inadequate, and that we feel that we must get rid of. The more we focus on the problem, the worse it gets. It's a vicious cycle.
The real problem
When we get caught up in this cycle, what we are actually experiencing is an avoidance of simply being present in the moment.
We find a means of avoiding feeling the emotions and sensations that are present within us. Instead of being still with ourselves, and fully processing our emotions, we focus on the activity of our mind instead. It's a great tactic for keeping us stuck in the ego - and for maintaining feelings of inadequacy.
Here's what to do to reduce worry and overthinking
So, how can you get out of this cycle of worry, anxiety or overthinking?
Change the focus of your attention.
If you are really caught up in a cycle of worrying, it can be difficult to do this outright. So, here are 3 steps to successfully changing your focus:
- Slow down. When you are really caught up in your mental activity, it can difficult to see the woods from the trees, so to speak. So the first step is to begin to slow down your mind to the point where you can begin to appreciate that you can have some control over it. A good way to do this is to meditate, or listen to relaxing music. it just helps to create a pause between you and your thoughts.
- Get back into your body. Change your focus from being solely in your mind, to being back into your body. Become aware of all the sensations, emotions and feelings which you are actually experiencing. The more that you can do this, the more somatic (body) awareness you will develop. This is the first step in being able to fully process your emotions and be more comfortable in the present moment, no matter what is going on outside of you.
- Practice changing the focus of your attention. Once you are able to create space between you and your thoughts, then you can begin to increase awareness of where you are placing your attention. Notice that you can move your attention from one area of your body to another. Or from your thoughts, to your body. Notice that when you are completely focused on one area of your body, you cannot be simultaneously be focused on worry and overthinking. This is the key to successfully reducing an overactive mind.
So, now that you know how to change your focus of attention, the next step is to practice it regularly. The only way to see real results is to put this into action.
I find that little and often works best. It increases your ability to deal with challenges that you may encounter throughout each day, and makes this practice more of a habit. Perhaps make an effort to control your focus of attention for a few minutes every hour. When you do this regularly, you will start to see real results.
All the best