I consider myself a part-time overthinker, but I was a professional overthinker once. Having said that, I still overthink from time to time and when I do that, I tend to be obsessed with the same thought over and over again, just like everyone else. It can literally kill my productivity of the day, which means I can come in to the office and overthink without getting some major work done. And I really don’t like how it makes me feel. You know, it feels like you’re in that ‘overthinking’ bubble, there’s no possible way to use your head burst your way out. No matter how hard I’m trying to kill those thought, they just keep coming back at me. That feeling truly kills my good vibes.
Interestingly, I had a great candid conversation with Natalie Soderstrom – a wellness coach, during our interview series. She mentioned to me, thoughts are just like a cute fluffy puppy; always wanting your attention and to play around with them. The more you intend to get that thought out of your mind; the more likely you are stuck in that ‘bubble’ a little longer. Thoughts come and go, and it’s okay to think but not be obsessed with the same thought!
My ‘overthinking’ situation is getting better and better since I have developed three weird medicine formulas to combat the situation.
#1 – ‘Hey, you’re just overthinking!’
The fastest way to get out from ‘the bubble’ is to master self-awareness. What does it mean? You have to be aware of yourself when you’re being inside of ‘that bubble’. You can’t get out from it until you know where you’re actually at. One simple way to acknowledge yourself from overthinking is, when you are thinking of the same thing three times or more within few hours, and this is a pretty accurate sign of overthinking.
When I catch myself being a overthinker again, I’d yell at myself ‘Hey, you’re just overthinking!’. I am not saying you have to yell it out physically, it’s just doing it within your head. I also remind myself that these are just thoughts coming in my head and they do not reflect reality. So, I’d say it’s always good to distinguish between overthinking and reality, because you know what’s real, and what isn’t.
#2. Imagine yourself a mermaid swimming with ‘stinging’ jellyfish
As mentioned earlier, thoughts are just like puppies, they come and go all the time. In other words, if you don’t associate with those thoughts and simply ignore them, they will leave you alone peacefully. I know it’s easier said than done, so I created a visualisation technique to quieten my lousy mind.
How does it work exactly? I take one big deep breath and imagine myself a mermaid swimming in the ocean, and then I will label all my thoughts as ‘stinging’ jellyfish. Okay…why ‘stinging’ jellyfish not sea turtle? I did try visualising them as sea turtles once, but the thing is, we can play around sea turtles without getting any injuries; and in contrast, we can get injured from ‘stinging’ jellyfish so our instinct is to ignore them.
Normally, I do this visualisation exercise until my state of mind feels so much calmer, and this is a best point to bring yourself back to reality. Take another big deep breath and reset your system.
#3. Listen to Podcasts
Listening to music isn’t as effective as listening to podcasts, since I am still able to either work or think while listening to music. But I can’t get any work done while listening to some of favourite podcasts, such as ‘On Purpose with Jay Shetty’, ‘Big Mood’ and ‘The mindbodygreen Podcast’.
So, whenever I am aware of myself being a overthinker and trapped inside of that overthinking bubble, I just find the latest episode, put my earphones on and push the play button. Those overthinking thoughts feel like they are getting flushed in the washroom.
Why does it work magically? Because listening to a podcast needs 100% of your attention to be focused on every word the host says, so it has its own power to stop overthinking immediately. I actually think this is a super quick fix among the others.
My last tip is, please don’t punish yourself for having too many thoughts. Let us know what your way is to stop overthinking. Leave your comments below! x