Are you overthinking things you don’t have control over? Worrying too much? This post from Prima.co.uk shares a psychologist’s advice on how to be positive and find perspective!
If you’re one of those people who obsess over making decisions, worry about the future or look back at past events and question yourself then you can stop right there. It’s natural to worry, but if those feelings escalate, they can become magnified. When that happens, there are plenty of things you can do to help, says psychologist Honey Langcaster-James.
‘When you dwell on things too much, you can engage in what’s known as rumination,’ she says. ‘This is when you go over and over concerns in your mind. What can happen is that you start examining all possible scenarios that could happen rather than focusing on what is genuinely likely to happen.’
Overthinking things you don’t have control over is particularly unhelpful as it could lead to increased anxiety. If this sounds like you, read on: feeling calmer and happier starts here.
Swap negative for positive
If you’re overthinking things, find a constructive way of processing any worries or negative thoughts, says Honey. ‘Write your thoughts down in a journal every night before bed or first thing in the morning – they don’t have to be in any order. Do a “brain dump” of everything on your mind onto the page. Sometimes that can afford a sense of relief.’
Next, balance your worries with happier thoughts, says Honey. ‘On the next page, write down what might happen that could be more positive.’
Give yourself a break
If you can’t stop your brain buzzing, give yourself something else to think about. ‘Sometimes we need to distract ourselves from our own minds,’ says Honey. ‘Not all the time, because we have to address problems, but healthy distraction is important. Watch your favourite movie or comedy, or listen to a playlist that is uplifting to you. It’s good to have simple pleasures like these to turn to.’
Live in the present moment
Introduce mindfulness and meditation into your day to teach yourself to stay in the present moment. This means you’re not thinking about the past or the future. ‘We often worry about things when we are doing something else,’ says Honey. ‘So, train yourself to be more present: actively focus your attention on your environment, or pay careful attention to what you’re doing at any given moment.’ Try not to let your thoughts wander. If they do, bring them back to the here and now.
Find some perspective
It’s important to realise that we often have little control over the future, and sometimes we worry about things we simply can’t do anything about. Honey’s tip is take a ‘space station’ perspective: ‘Think of yourself as being high up in space, looking down on yourself,’ she says. ‘This can help you see the bigger picture and give you a new, more positive take on things.’
Be your own friend
Sometimes we are much better at helping others that we are at helping ourselves. ‘Think to yourself – what would I say to a friend or loved one to make them feel better right now?’ says Honey. ‘Imagine what you would say or do if someone else is overthinking things, to help find a sense of balance. It might be as simple as making a cup of tea and relaxing on the sofa.’ Milk and sugar, anyone?