How The Body Can Help Overthinkers Deal With Stress & Worry

Angela Gullone

How To Stop Over Thinking And Stressing Out Over Stuff

jogging helps stop over thinking
Image by Curtis Mac Newton

 

I worry about tons of stuff. Some days, I can’t seem to stop over thinking.

 

Like, what other’s think of me, what someone said or didn’t say. And I worry about stuff that has happened in the past or might happen in the future. It’s not uncommon for me to worry about work meetings or formal gatherings.

 

Some days I used to be so drained from my thoughts. They kept going round and round in my head and I couldn’t stop over thinking stuff. The ‘what ifs’, ‘what could be’ and ‘what should be’ and the ‘why he or she did or didn’t do something’. Including ‘what I should or shouldn’t do or say about it’. I was desperate to stop the constant chatter and chaos in my head but I didn’t know how to stop over thinking.

 

If you’re anything like me, you’re in your head a lot. Particularly, when you’ve a problem to sort or need to mull through something. For me, it use to be my default ‘go to’ place to get stuff sorted. All this over analyzing stuff and worry could be pretty stressful some days. To de-stress I would use self care methods. Such as, sleep, a few drinks or luxurious dessert, at the end of the work day. But this was a temporary fix that would work for that day but did not help me with the habit of over thinking.

 

 

My problem was that I over think things – especially the social stuff. You know like, other peoples’ opinions.  

 

I knew I needed to stop worrying about this stuff. And the advice I heard bantered about was saying the same thing…You need to stop over thinking!

 

How To stop over thinking
Stop thinking, and end your problems – ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu quote printed on grunge vintage cardboard

When I first heard this piece of advice I really did try to make myself stop thinking. But it never worked. And because I couldn’t stop myself from thinking, I thought I was hopeless at this stuff. But it wasn’t me that was the hopeless student; it was the advice that was useless!

 

It’s useless and you know why?

 

It’s useless because there is no clue about HOW you’re supposed to stop over thinking. How can you make your head stop having thoughts when that’s what it’s designed to do – think!?! It’s like telling your heart to stop beating! Your heart, like your head, is not going to stop doing what it does on your command. Our bodies are designed to do what they do and that is the first point I want to you to really get.

 

If you could stop thinking you would right?

 

You see, you can’t just command yourself to stop thinking. Well not unless you’re detached from your thoughts. For example, like a guru who’s practiced a lot of meditation. Now I’ve had some experience of relaxed mind but most days I’m not detached from my thoughts. And if you’re reading this for insight into how to stop over thinking, I’m guessing neither are you.

 

Perhaps you’ve considered seeing a shrink to talk about the stuff in your head – to get it sorted. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t. 

 

For me, thinking and talking about my thoughts was not the antidote to over thinking. It was the problem! Please read that again. I want you to really get that it was the talking about my insecure thoughts that was the crux my problem. And this might also be the case for you.

 

Now I’m not saying bottle it up. This stuff has got to go somewhere and you don’t want or need it festering in your body. Which takes me to how to ease this stuff out of your head and body.   

 

If You Want to Stop Over Thinking Stuff, You Need to Start With Your Body. Not Your Head.

 

I found that when I did something which involved my body, like exercise, I started to relax. And then guess what else I noticed? The stuff that was upsetting me (my thoughts) just lost their importance. I’m not saying that it all went away. Although sometimes it did. But what happened is that I went from feeling like it was a 9 or 10, to a 5 in terms of how much I cared about it. This was huge progress for an over thinker like me. I found the antidote to stop over thinking was to do something that would relax the body. I learned that my body was much better at processing stress than my head!

 

Relaxed The Body and the Mind Will Follow.

 

So, I started to integrate relaxation into my schedule and life. Not because it was a nice or cool thing to do (yeah yoga and marathon running are the thing to do right now!) but, because it helps me to stop over thinking and stressing out over stuff. Exercising gives me a sense of relaxation, pleasure and freedom. Which I never got from over thinking, talking or trying to figure stuff out in my head.

 

So here is a list of activities you can try that have worked for me and others in the past:

♥ Massage
♥ Spa
♥ Sauna
♥ Jogging
♥ Water sports
♥ Climbing
♥ Dancing
♥ Cycling
 

Regularly de-stressing has helped me to get my head in balance, ease my stress and worries.  

 

Just a final note.

 

There’s some discussion in the therapy community about how hobbies or learning new skills can help people to relax too. When it comes to reducing stress, I haven’t found doing these as helpful as exercise or body work. For me, these actives are generally too passive . Because they aren’t engrossing enough for any sustained experience of relaxation. Once the activity is over, the stress and the thoughts start to creep back. I’m not saying this stuff isn’t great fun and helpful. It’s just that they’re not as helpful for reducing stress from over thinking. Go for activities that soothe, challenge or engage the body.

 

My mantra these days, in times of stress is: relax the body and the mind will follow. What is worrying you will seem less important – Guaranteed!

 

Author Angela Gullone, flowlifecoaching.com | Images courtesy of Google & Unsplash.com

 

 

 

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