Do you overthink a problem to the point that you make yourself anxious and miserable? Do you obsess over inane things that you can’t change? Do you become dead set on finding a solution to a mistake or problem even though you know you can’t fix it?
Your mind needs things to think about. It needs activities and difficulties to chew on. It is always searching for problems to solve. The trouble comes when we get stuck in the process of thinking and keep going over the same scenarios endlessly.
We can’t stop our minds from churning our thoughts both positive and negative, but we can change our relationship to those thoughts.
According to Nancy Collier, LCSW, we can free ourselves from rumination but it requires a radical shift in perspective. We have to recognize that thinking is something we do rather than something we are. By acting as a listener, we can learn to engage only with the thoughts that are helpful.
Our thoughts often are rambling and random but they are not necessarily true or accurate. A thought is just as likely to be factual as it is to reiterate or remind you of an embarrassing situation. For example, Ted expected to be named president of his company but instead he was fired. Worse yet, he hasn’t been able to find another position. He can’t stop ruminating over what he did wrong and faulting himself. His thoughts continuously remind him of how he is failing in life.
Research indicates that 95% of our thoughts are negative and 90% are repetitive. Think about that! The content of your thoughts doesn’t really matter. What does matter is not reacting to those thoughts in a way that harms you emotionally.
Our thoughts are colored by all the things we have experienced or are experiencing in our lives. Overthinking and ruminating about the content of those thoughts causes one not to be fully present with others because we are entangled with our thoughts.
How do you free yourself from overthinking? Are your thoughts hurting or helping you?
In my next blog post I will give you three strategies for freeing yourself from overthinking.
Hypnosis can be a good choice for dealing with unwanted or repetitive thoughts. If you are interested give me a call at 361.442.9590 or email at [email protected]