6 Ways We Can Combat Overthinking Together
6 Ways We Can Combat Overthinking Together
We’ve all been there. Stuck in our heads, allowing the same thoughts and worries to replay over and over again. We relive conversations and play out alternative endings. It is a huge drain on our mental health and can get to a level where it triggers anxiety, PTSD, depression and even borderline personality disorder.
Trying to combat overthinking takes practice and patience, but can save lives.
How Do I Know If It’s Normal?
The horrible thing is that you can often mistake it for problem-solving. Constantly asking questions, trying to figure out why or what if. The difference between the two is that one is actually trying to find an answer.
On the other hand, overthinking leaves you in a dark hole. Instead of looking for answers or solutions to a problem, we simply dwell on what happened or even what didn’t happen. Thinking about the ‘what ifs’ rarely leads to you feeling any better so what role does it play in our lives?
Well, the truth is – it doesn’t. Looking back you may even realise that there never was a problem. You have created one because of obsessing over one insignificant detail.
If you are trying to figure out whether you are just problem-solving or reminiscing, ask these questions:
- Are you second-guessing a decision?
- Are you replaying a ‘mistake’ you made?
- Are you imagining the worst-case scenario?
- Are you obsessing over something that can’t be changed?
If the answer is yes, it is time to combat overthinking.
Let’s look at some ways to do just that with the help of our amazing followers.
1 . Look At The Bigger Picture
When you’re feeling lost in your thoughts, it’s easy to focus on the negatives and think about all of the things that could go wrong. Instead, try and take a step back.
Look at your current situation and ask yourself: what are the chances of this actually happening? Is this really as big of a deal as I’m making it out to be? If you can manage to look at the situation from a different perspective, you’ll likely realise that it’s probably not nearly as bad as you thought.
An example of this would be if you’re worried about a job interview. Yes, it is nerve-wracking but try and remember that there are plenty of other opportunities out there. The worst-case scenario is not getting the job – but that’s not the end of the world because you can (or already have) applied for more.
Think about how small of a drop in the ocean this one thing is. You have a whole life behind you and a whole other one ahead. It is what you make it and if something steers you in a different direction, so be it. You can still make the most of any outcome.
2 . Get Outside
We are lucky enough to live on a beautiful planet where there is so much nature has to offer. Take some time out of your day to combat overthinking, even if it’s just for 5 minutes and go for a walk outside.
Stick on some headphones and drown out the world if you have to. But you’ll find you can really clear your head when you’re surrounded by fresh air. It helps you remember what is truly important in life, reminding you of that bigger picture again.
If you can, try and find a place where there are trees or a body of water. Spend some time sitting in silence, taking in your surroundings and enjoying the peace that comes with it. Let nature work its magic and take away any negative thoughts or feelings you have been harbouring.
Remember how lucky you are to have this life and how huge the world around you is. With so much space comes so many new opportunities. There isn’t just one path for us – life is a winding road.
3 . Stay Present
When we start thinking about the future or dwelling on the past, it’s easy to get caught up in a never-ending cycle of ‘what ifs’ and ‘should haves’. It removes us from the moment we are in and takes away the ability to enjoy the present.
The thing is, we can’t change what has already happened and we don’t know what will happen in the future. All we have is right now so making the most of it is really the only viable option. The decisions you make now are the ones that matter most. In 5 minutes it might not matter, but right now – it does.
As well as this, trying to stay in the present can be the perfect way to improve or build relationships. It gives you more time to invest in the people you love. Remember that these are the same people who could be supporting you through these tough times.
Voice your anxieties. Talk to them and you may find it even easier to focus on right now. Our friends and families are invaluable resources for mental health.
4 . Meditate & Reflect
A great way to ensure you’re letting go of certain thoughts and problems is through mindfulness. It allows you to focus on your thoughts and feelings in the present moment without judgement. Once you become more aware of them, you can start to control them instead of letting them take over your mind.
You can be mindful of anything – from the food you are eating to the way your body feels when you’re out for a run. The key is to focus on your senses and really experience everything around you.
This process can be done through meditation. Start simple and sit in silence for a couple of minutes focusing on your breath. Empty your mind and try to pinpoint small changes in your body. The speed of your breath, the way each part of your body feels, and the sensation of relaxing each individual muscle.
Alternatively, many people use journaling as a form of reflection and meditation. It is a great way to combat overthinking because it offers you a place to leave those worries behind. Set aside 10 minutes each day to think, worry, plan and write everything down as you do it. Then, when those 10 minutes are up – forget it all.
Instead of using your mind as a place to store these thoughts, you are using the paper. It frees up more room for positivity.
Incorporating this into your daily routine will help you to feel more grounded and present in every moment. You may find your overthinking starts to dissipate because you’re no longer ruminating on the past or worrying about the future.
5 . Limit Screen Time
This is a tough one because we’re so used to having screens around us all the time. But if you find yourself frequently checking social media, reading the news or browsing the internet – it might be time for a break.
It’s not just about removing distractions, but also giving your mind a much-needed break from stimuli. When we’re constantly bombarded with new information, our minds never have a chance to relax and process everything that’s going on. This can lead to anxiety and stress which in turn exacerbates overthinking.
Try setting some limits for yourself. Whether it’s an hour before bedtime or only using your phone on weekends, give yourself some screen-free time every day. You might be surprised at how much more productive and creative you feel without constant access to the internet.
6 . Reach Out For Help
If you find that your overthinking is really starting to take a toll on your mental health, it’s important to reach out for help. Talk to a therapist, counsellor or even just a trusted friend or family member.
Opening up about how you’re feeling can be really tough, but it’s so worth it. Having someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through can make all the difference. You might even realise that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling which can be a huge relief.
Remember that there is no shame in asking for help. We all need support at times and there is nothing wrong with admitting that you need a little extra assistance.
If you still don’t feel there is anyone around you who can help or just listen, join us at a HUMEN Space. They are anonymous and non-clinical safe spaces for men to talk, listen and connect regularly.
It’s free and we are back in person post-pandemic. No judgement, just sharing.
Combat overthinking Together
We all know how easy it is to get caught up in our thoughts. But by implementing some of these tips, we can start to take back control. Our mission is to offer the safe space men need. The right to talk is not a privilege, it is a basic human need. Sometimes we need help and collaboration to get to where we need to be.
It’s important to remember that we’re not alone in this fight. Talk to your friends and family, join us at a HUMEN Space or see a therapist. The most important thing is that we continue working towards a brighter future – one thought at a time.