It is a vicious downward spiral when you overthink, your mental health deteriorates, when your mental health goes for a toss, you overthink. In this blog, I am sharing a few brain exercises to stop overthinking everything.
Procrastination is the time thief and once you make even with it, you get comfortable with it. You are done overthinking about something or someone to an extent that you lack the energy to actually do anything about it.
You don’t like being there but in your head, you are already there, how to overcome this loop? How to train our brain to not to overthink?
8 Brain Exercises To Stop Overthinking About Everything
Overthinking may result in procrastination, which is symptomatic of a psychological disorder. Its persistence existence has been linked to depression, irrationality, lower self-esteem, anxiety, and other neurological disorders such as ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Worrying or stressing over something a lot is itself an illness and when you let this fear occupy a house inside your little mind space, it starts to take over your life and eventually leads you to anxiety and other psychological conditions.
The moment you find yourself in that sticky zone, ask yourself, AM I OVERTHINKING THIS? Is it worth it? Is this in my control? Can I change this by thinking? Send a message to your brain to NOT to think about something which is not in your control and keep doing it every day, it will start impacting your consciousness and eventually, it will help you to tap out from your procrastinating area to overthinking zone, to a little less panicky worries.
One of the interesting facts about our mind is that it has a difficult time distinguishing between reality and imagination. Our body stimulates the same neural networks, causing blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate to respond to the reality of getting a thing done or imagining it.
Here are 8 brain exercises to stop overthinking;
A powerful way to achieve positive behavioral change. You have to purposefully program your mind to visualize only the positive things you want to happen. Research has shown that visualization is one of the best ways to reduce stress and get your mind back on track when you want to regain your balance. Creating a mandala art, a painting, gardening, or listening to slow music and visualizing your day helps to organize your thoughts, and put you at ease.
When you visualize beautiful things, things you want, things you dream of, you automatically feel good, you feel happy, you even smile, a sign of improving health, a sign of prosperity and harmony. When you imagine living your dream, your brain processes it as if it is happening now and this is how you can harness your brain for your own good.
Once you get good with visualization, You actually start training your mind to rewire itself to new possibilities at a subconscious level. Once your inner reality changes, you can truly influence your outer environment.
Mindfulness helps us to see things as they are. When we train our brains to see things as they appear without questioning or reasoning them, we save ourselves from further disturbances in our little mental palace. As Sherlock Holmes would say when someone would disturb his train of thoughts 🙂
When you get stressed and find yourself overthinking, use breathing exercises to restore calm. Breathing helps to improve your concentration and decision-making skills, even when you feel under pressure. Mindfulness is kind of a meditative thing that propagates a simple theory of being in the moment. Leaving the past which is already gone and not worrying about the future which is unseen and beyond our control.
I find this brain exercise a little similar to the mindfulness technique. But it is a very interesting one, it implies the theory of seeing your life as a third-party. Sounds strange to many but I have experienced this with myself. When we become an audience to our own problems, it loses the pain part and we become a mere spectator.
Now I am not saying that if someone snatched your wallet, you should stand there and watch him go, no. But this brain exercise to stop overthinking will not only save your energy but will work the unwanted mental chatter and the amount of unbearable disturbance it creates in your brain.
4.) Physical Activity
Any form of physical activity can prevent or reduce the extent of mental illnesses such as depression and it is also believed to have a positive effect on self-esteem in adults. It can also enhance mood and reduce stress levels, thus allowing us to tackle daily challenges in a more positive, optimistic, and constructive way.
Researchers say that an exercise duration of 20 to 30 minutes at least 3 times per week could result in desirable psychological benefits or even 20 to 30 minutes of exercise may be sufficient for stress reduction (Berger, 1986; Berger & Owen, 1983) and 60 minutes may result in even more psychological benefit (Carmack & Martens, 1979; Mandell, 1979). You can try cycling, swimming, running, yoga, pilates, Zumba, or walking.
5.) No Negative-self talk
Our human brain is programmed for survival. It is conditioned to avert situations of danger.
That’s why it believes in negative thoughts quickly but not positive ones. Our thoughts could be positive or negative. Positive thinking often starts with self-talk and self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head.
Negative self-talk is usually an outcome of misconceptions, judgments, prejudices, limiting beliefs, assumptions, and lack of information. Just imagine the number of negative assumptions you feed your brain with, just when you replace it with the positive ones, it starts feeling lighter. Try doing it.
6.) A distraction
Have you noticed when you are busy throughout the day? Time flies. That’s why it becomes important to keep your mind occupied with productive things. I know, it sounds like simple advice but we all tend to forget it and go down a rabbit hole of overthinking. In fact, having distractions is good too. This is the same reason why we love watching movies too.
Do one thing; The next time you sit back and watch your favorite sci-fi or comedy movie, notice how you escape to a different world for a few hours. We all need some activity to distract ourselves. trust me. When I sit with a pen and paper, I am transported to a place of creativity and happiness. It declutters my mind and helps me to switch on later.
Be mindful, overthinking is like an endless loop and when it becomes a habit you don’t even realize that you are overthinking, talking to yourself, negotiating to self, having those endless mental arguments to safeguard yourself.
A distraction in the form of your friends, a daily ritual, your me-time, reading habits, or any other things can be very helpful to divert your mind and boost your brain to stop overthinking. It takes time initially but you need to keep doing it, it is like training your mind to accustom it to change.
7.) A creative outlet
One of the easiest brain exercises to stop overthinking is to have a creative outlet. It is said as exercise is to the body, book reading is to the mind. No, I am not asking you to read a book right away but your brain has the ability to adapt and change. But only when it stays challenged. Overthinking kills your creativity and paralyzes your productivity.
A hobby in the form of art or expression helps you to feel good, for some music works, for some artworks as a therapy. For me personally doodling and painting mandala work like a miracle. I feel so content when I do it, I am at peace. So, keep it stimulated by taking up a hobby or learning a new skill.
8.) A good sleep
Never compromise your sleep. Period. With the advent of social media, web-series, and so many online avenues we sacrifice our precious sleep and play with our natural needs of the body. REST. How will you pour from an empty cup and also note that an empty mind is perhaps a devil’s workshop?
Overstimulation before going to bed brings down your melatonin- the sleep-inducing hormone. It disturbs your sleep cycle ultimately.
A sound sleep pattern can help you to stay active and refreshed. It is advisable that you avoid screen-time before bedtime and wake-up feeling grateful 🙂
Love and light!
Priyanka Nair is the author of 26 Days 26 Ways for a Happier you and Ardhaviram. An NLP practitioner and Founder of Sanity Daily, helping you prioritize your mental health. Let’s build a happy community.