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Using Mindfulness to Stop the Damaging Cycle of Overthinking

"The key to happiness is not thinking too much." -Anonymous


A lot of people tend to overthink things. They overthink the past, present, and future. They overthink the what-ifs, the maybes, and the could-have-beens. And in the process, they forget to live in the moment and enjoy life.


Overthinking can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. It can make you feel like you're not good enough, that you're not doing things right. It can make you doubt yourself and your decisions.


The key to happiness is not thinking too much. It's about living in the moment and enjoying life. It's about letting go of the past and not worrying about the future. It's about being present and savoring the moment.



Overthinking can be brutal. It often keeps us up at night, distracts us from necessary tasks, and takes a toll on our mood. Oftentimes, overthinking stops us from enjoying what is going on in the present, while creating stress and anxiety. Many people struggle to control the intrusive thoughts that come along with having a mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression. Mindfulness is a great practice to use when you are struggling with intrusive thoughts.


So, if you find yourself overthinking things, take a step back and remind yourself to live in the moment. Enjoy the present and don't worry about the future.


Mindfulness & Overthinking


There are many mindfulness strategies that can be used to battle overthinking and help take back our control of our own thoughts. One of the first strategies you can try is mindful journaling. Journaling is a great way to get our thoughts out into the open. A journal allows us to write down what we are thinking and feeling without the added fear of judgment that may hinder us from venting to a friend or family member. While you may not think it is as effective as venting to someone, it allows us to let those difficult thoughts escape our brains.


Start by taking daily notes on how you are feeling and what your thoughts are at that time of day. You could even try doing it at different times of day to learn when you are feeling your best and worst. By understanding when and where we are having the most anxious moment and times of overthinking it can help you learn when you need more emotional support or when you may need to practice some self-care.


You can also write down questions such as, “What may have caused these feelings?” or “Are the thoughts I am having true or just a worry?” Then try answering these questions honestly to try to figure out what may be going on. Reassuring yourself through writing that what you are feeling is only an anxious thought and not based on any facts can help you rationalize the situation.


While mindful journaling is a great strategy, there are also more physical strategies, such as meditation, breathing, and visualization techniques. These techniques are great when you need to calm your mind and body. Focusing on what is happening around you and what your body is feeling is a great way to ground yourself and remind yourself of the facts. A large portion of intrusive thoughts come from future or past worries. Being stuck in your head can be extremely damaging, and at times you may feel desperate to focus on reality. Mindfulness teaches us how to remain in the present and focus on what is going on around you. These techniques are great for when you are feeling extremely anxious or overwhelmed, as it provides somewhat immediate relief to your body and mind.


One simple mindfulness exercise is to focus on your breath. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and out and focus on the sensation of your breath. You may notice your thoughts wandering, but simply bring your focus back to your breath. This simple exercise can help you to focus and be more present in the moment.


Here are a few simple breathing exercises that you can do anywhere, anytime:


1. Belly breathing: Place one hand on your belly, just below your navel. Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your belly to expand. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Repeat for a few minutes.


2. Equal breathing: Breathe in for a count of four, then breathe out for a count of four. Repeat for a few minutes.


3. Four-square breathing: Breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, breathe out for a count of four, then hold your breath for a count of four. Repeat for a few minutes.


Try doing some of these breathing exercises every day and see how they make you feel.


Unfortunately, many people struggle with overthinking, but there are many great options to help you combat it. If mindfulness is something that interests you try it out. There are many great benefits to practicing it, and it may provide you the relief from racing thoughts you need.

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