The mind consistently fascinates me because of the power it holds to create the whole experience of our lives.
I’ve spent much of my life cursing my mind because I was certain it was constantly working against me.
I hated listening to it. The thoughts I had were so destructive, diminishing, and distressing.
I’d lose sleep, work myself into a panic, and often ruin my entire day just because of the thoughts I was thinking.
I’ve spent a long time being a massive overthinker, and I still have quite an active mind, but now it works for me and not against me. I became fascinated with understanding the mind because discovering how to use it positively was the most life-changing action I’ve ever taken.
The fact that this organ between my ears creates feelings of depression, anxiety, and self-hatred, as well as freedom, expansion, and self-love is mind-blowing. I’ve taken my power back from overthinking, and you can also cultivate a calmer mind for more contentment, confidence, and freedom.
Here are five ways to stop overthinking:
1. Detach to destress.
Start detaching from your thoughts, and recognizing that you are not them.
Thoughts are just thoughts. They don’t define you, they aren’t you, and they don’t say anything about you.
One key way to take your power back is to embody this fact: As you notice your thoughts kicking off, realize that you are simply the observer of them. As if they were just leaves drifting by on a river, you could jump in after every single one, exhausting yourself, or you could sit on the river bank and calmly watch them go by.
Creating this space brings incredible peace.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly — you usually don’t use it at all. It uses you. This is the disease. You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
2. Say what you want to hear.
You don’t have to listen to self-judgment and criticism within your mind all day long. You can choose to say something different to yourself. Choose to speak the words you want and need to hear in your mind.
If you notice you’re considering all the worst-case scenarios, ask, is this really what I want to listen to right now?
Change the channel. Choose a reassuring or lighter option instead. Choose a “what-if” scenario that is helpful, instead of investing your mental energy for a situation you wouldn’t even want to occur.
“We are all telling ourselves stories. The question is, does your story empower you or hold you back?” ~ Tony Robbins
3. Feed the focus of your free self.
Think of how you want to be. For example, to be more confident. Would your most confident self be focused on what you’re focusing on?
Are you focusing on things that are entirely out of your control? Does that make sense to your most confident self?
Feed the focus that empowers you.
We often overthink sh*t we have zero power over, further fuelling a narrative of incompetence that “we’re not good enough.”
If we want to be happy, we need to focus on feel-good thoughts—ones that align with how we really want to be.
What you focus on will grow.
“You only have control over three things in your life, the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take.” ~ Jack Canfield
4. Get out of your head and into your body.
Pop on some music and dance. Breathe deeply. Sing to your heart’s content. Become present in your own body.
Shift your attention to your breathing, to the sensations in your body from head to toe, and a wholehearted connection with the present moment.
Anchor yourself in the powerful stillness and calm of the present by moving from mind to body. Remind yourself that this moment is all we ever have.
Consciously choose to put your thoughts on the shelf for at least a few minutes a day and reconnect with your mind.
Yes, thoughts may still come—let them. And keep returning the focus to your body.
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ~ Amit Ray
5. Do something.
We often overthink decisions, worries, fears, doubts, what we said or wish we had said, and things that have either happened or might happen.
To free ourselves from this relentless rumination, we can simply take action.
Journaling our thoughts and getting them on paper can free up some mind space. Reach out for support on learning how to work with your mind. Practice something (you don’t have to worry about being good at) that you can control.
Maybe it’s talking to a friend or trusted person about what’s on your mind so you can hear how it sounds. When hearing your thoughts out loud or seeing them written down, their power can diminish, and you can see them more clearly.
“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.” ~ Clement Stone
Even if you take one of these suggestions the next time you notice your mind racing, it will break the pattern and start creating one that serves you and the life that exists outside of your head.
This conscious practice is one of the most empowering changes we can create in our lives. When we harness our own power within, we allow our minds to be a friendly and supportive place to be.