It’s not always easy to stop worrying about things, big or small, but just how much is it affecting your health and happiness?
Some people are are more inclined to worry than others, taking on every problem or anxiety in their own life and others’ too.
This can have detrimental effects on your health though, with many not realising just how much it is impacting on their life.
Psychologist Dr Marny Lishman says overthinking and worrying isn’t always a bad thing, but we have to be aware of it.
“I think women have evolved to overthink for everybody else in our families who doesn’t, including our parents, kids and partners,” Dr Lishman told the Huffington Post.
People often take worrying so far that they dream up worse-case-scenarios in their heads, leading to all kinds of stress and anxiety.
“The trouble is, the unconscious parts of our brains don’t know the difference between reality and what we’re thinking,” Dr Lishman said.
“Given that happiness is predominantly experienced in the here and now,” said Dr Timothy Sharp of The Happiness Institute.
“Spending large chunks of time thinking about something terrible that might happen at some later date is not a very effective strategy.”
Both doctors agree that nothing good comes from over-worrying and say there are a few techniques you can use to help ease your mind and enjoy a happier life.
HOW TO DEAL WITH OVERTHINKING
Be aware of your anxiety
Take a minute to stop and think about why you’re worrying. “You can even say to yourself, ‘Here I go, overthinking again,'” advises Dr Lishman. You don’t have to feel guilty about feeling this way. Just acknowledge it and move your thoughts elsewhere.
Shake it, move it, and get out and about. Exercise is one the best ways to free your body and your mind from pent up stress and anxiety. “Live outside your body instead of inside your mind,” Dr Lishman advises.
Keep a worry diary
If your mind is full of a thousand thoughts that just won’t stop, jot them down into a diary before you go to bed. This is a cathartic way to empty your mind and go to sleep with a clear head and calm thoughts.
Catch up with friends
Socialising isn’t just great for venting to your friends and loved ones, it distracts us from whatever we have been overthinking. Laughing and talking with friends is a great way to inject a bit of happiness into your day and ease tension.
Take a breath
Sit in a quiet space and focus on your breathing for a minute or two. Dr Lishman recommends inhaling through your nose for five seconds, holding for five seconds, and exhaling through your mouth for five seconds. “It’s hard to overthink other things when you do this,” she notes.
Let it go
Practice makes perfect and one of the best ways to quit overthinking is to learn to let the bad stuff go. “When you notice one of your repetitive thoughts popping into your head, practise not responding to them,” Dr Lishman said. “Tell yourself they’re just thoughts and you can choose what you do with them. You can make the decision to let them go.”