10 Effective Ways To Stop Over Thinking & Start Living

Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Conscious Living, Happiness & Humor, Thrive with 0 Comments

by Kulraj Singh | tinybuddha.com

“Thinking has, many a time, made me sad, darling; but doing never did in all my life….My precept is, do something, my sister, do good if you can; but at any rate, do something.” ~Elizabeth Gaskell

Problems. We all face them.

Some are frivolous; some are life changing. Some force us to draw from within us our greatest mental potential. Many cause nothing more than stress.

Whatever issues life presents us, whether small or big, we think about them.

We think about what to do, what not to do, and what would be “best” for us and for everyone around us.

But how often do we think about our thinking? When do we stop to question why we over-think, whether it’s productive, and how to overcome it?

The first time a true bout of over-thinking grappled me was when I graduated from college.

For many, this time comes as a quarter-life crisis, and the event often repeats itself later in life. It’s the time to decide what we will do with our lives, and what careers we will pursue.

We want to make a true difference, help society, and live well. Although acquiring a comfortable desk job may be easier, it doesn’t have such a gripping appeal.

And so begins a rare human trait that we would surely benefit from evolving out of: rumination.

Sleepless nights came more regularly than I ever could have predicted. Confusion was my norm. Indecisiveness became expected. Uncertainty was my only certainty.

Fortunately, however, I didn’t drive myself nuts (or so I believe). Underlying the distress was an organic curiosity, and this led me to question my approach. What I came to learn truly changed my life.

I managed to collate a number of strategies for effectively reducing over-thinking. Below are some of my favorite simple and easy-to-implement insights and strategies:

1. Remember that over-thinking does not lead to insight.

You want an understanding of which decision will be best. For this, you need a level of insight into what each decision will lead to. Thinking this through, however, is futile.

Why? Because you never, ever know what something will be like until you experience it.

School, college, moving home, getting married, ending a relationship, changing career paths. However much you imagine what these change will be like, you will be surprised by what you discover when you actually engage in these activities.

Knowing this, you can move forward with a true understanding of what would be best. Acting, therefore, leads to clarity. Thought doesn’t.

2. Know that your decision will never be final.

Over-thinking often comes from the notion that you will make a grand finale decision that will never change and must be correct.

It won’t happen. And that’s a good thing. If you could predict with complete accuracy the entirety of your future, would you want to experience it?

To me, that removes all the spice of life. You must be aware that however much critical thinking you apply to a decision, you may be wrong.

Being comfortable with being wrong, and knowing that your opinions and knowledge of a situation will change with time, brings a sense of true inner freedom and peace.

3. Learn the reasons why over-thinking is harmful, and let it motivate you.

Studies have shown rumination to be strongly linked to depression, anxiety, binge eating, binge drinking, and self-harm.

In one study, 32,827 people from 172 countries showed that life events were the largest predictors of stress, followed by family history, income and education, relationship status, and social inclusion.

However, the study also showed that stress only occurred if the individual engaged in negative over-thinking about the events, and it showed that people who did not do this did not become as stressed or depressed, “even if they’d experienced many negative events in their lives.”

So, worry about your problems if you wish. But don’t say no one warned you!

4. Keep active throughout the day, and tire the body out.

Do you want to know one of the main reasons you over-think?

It’s because you have the time to.

Not one day can be fruitful if more time than necessary is allowed for aimless thinking. A mind rests well at night knowing its day has been directed toward worthy goals.

So consider daily exercise—any physical activity that raises heart rate and improves health.

Walking is exercise. Sports, Pilates, and playing with the dog are too. It doesn’t have to be training for the next Olympics. Just get moving, and get tired.

Read the rest of the article…

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