Positive and clear thinking is about being optimistic. It is about looking to successfully address the challenges placed before you. It is about believing that things will turn out well. Think then act. And, sometimes you try doing it over and over until you get it right.
Clear thinking is smart decision-making. Clear thinking is engaging in the creative process. And, clear thinking is addressing confidently everyday issues.
However, when the act of thinking turns into overthinking, it becomes problematic. Ruminating impairs judgement, increases stress levels and makes it difficult to make clear-headed decisions. This leads to anxiety and a desire to escape the present moment by lingering in the past or worrying about the future.
If this is something you are familiar with, seeking help from a qualified life coach or Vancouver clinical counsellor can change your patterns of thinking and free you from the web of thoughts your mind can sometimes trap you in.
Let’s look at 7 ways we can steer our minds away from overthinking.
Awareness is Key
Awareness is the beginning of change. When you become aware of the fact that you are overthinking, you can take the appropriate steps to break bad habits and steer your mind in a healthy direction. When you find yourself stuck in a headspace of doubt or anxiety, become mindful of how you are responding, and acknowledge one positive step that you can implement immediately to move out of doubt.
What Can Go Right?
Instead of worrying about what can go wrong, change your perspective into what can go right. Constantly living in the fear of how many things can go wrong only paralyzes you and fogs your reality. So, envision positive outcomes and notice how often life turns out favourably.
Find a Happy Distraction
Do something you love. If you find yourself not enjoying your passions like you used to, try to pick up something new. Exercise, hike and spend time in nature, paint, or learn a new instrument. When you catch yourself overthinking, stop, take a deep breath, and re-focus on a happy distraction i.e. arrange a night out with friends, plan to go to the pool for a swim, do a crossword puzzle…trick your mind into a happy distraction. Replace toxic habits with healthy ones.
Life is unpredictable – learn to love it! Spending too much time ruminating on the past or future robs you of the magic of the current moment. “I’ll be happy when…” is a phrase that makes true happiness an unattainable goal. Learn to love where you are now – not one hour from now, not one year from now – Now.
Your brain is a muscle that, like any other muscle, needs exercising. Train your ‘self’ and your mind to notice the good things that are around you. Once a day, morning or night, make a list of 5 things that you are grateful for. Do this for one month to notice the positive changes in your thought processes. Also, The 5 Minute Journal is a great way to make your gratefulness practice a consistent part of your daily life and improve your wellbeing. Take five minutes a day and journal about your gratefulness.
Perfection Doesn’t Exist
Perfection is unattainable. It highlights unrealistic standards and sets you up for failure and / or thinking that you are not ‘good enough’. What if you knew you were good enough? What would be different about you? The key is to know what we would like to achieve and to do our best to work towards our goals, learning from our mistakes and knowing that we can make some changes along the way.
Set Aside Time for Thinking
This is a great trick to set boundaries on your overthinking patterns and not allow them to spill over into all aspects of your life. Set a 5 or 10-minute timer to overthink and analyze, make a list if need be, and once the timer is finished, delete the list / throw the piece of paper away. Now you can move on to one of your happy distractions. Setting boundaries is key.
Overthinking can happen to anyone, having a good plan of action for dealing with it makes all the difference. Always look for ways of creating an upward spiral which is motivating, rather than a downward spiral that can lead to negativity. If you feel you are having difficulty dealing with rumination and overthinking, reach out to a Vancouver clinical counsellor such as myself. Get in touch with me and set up an appointment to learn about how I work. We will work together to enhance your wellbeing and light up the path that is right for you.