Your Voice: Overcoming overthinking and invest in yourself
Work out, draw boundaries, and follow the second five rule, among others.
Ever wondered why shadows change sizes throughout the day? They are longer in the morning and shorter in the evening. Maybe they are insecure about themselves and dwell on what others think about them?
Did you believe me? I'm just kidding! But this article isn't about real shadows. It's about the shadows our thoughts create that can persist if we don’t address them.
Overthinking is a continuous cycle of thoughts about something, or any thought over a long period of time. It's normal to think, of course, but thinking longer than usual about something, or obsessing about it, can be mentally and physically draining.
Regular overthinking can manifest itself as stress, making the body produce more cortisol. This can negatively impact health by causing a reduced appetite, mental fatigue, palpitations, and exhaustion.
Tips to prevent overthinking
Pinpoint the problem: Take a couple of minutes and reflect on what caused you to think perpetually about that topic. Is it because of performance pressure? Are personal issues encroaching on your work life? Write down your worries on paper and list ways to overcome them.
Follow the five-second rule: American lawyer Mel Robbins is author of The 5 Second Rule. She used this technique to help her family wake up early. She would count backwards through five, four, three, two, one, before immediately getting out of bed. This rule can be applied in our professional life to break unhealthy thinking cycles. And giving our brain a deadline of turning thoughts into action within five seconds can be of great benefit. It can help to overcome procrastination.
Working out: Exercise helps to relax the body and mind and can clear negative thoughts. Hormones like endorphins are natural biological motivators. Exercising can release them in good amounts and help keep us on track. Just one reason to moderately exercise of about 20 minutes each day.
Deep working: Entrepreneur and author Tim Ferris’s The 4-Hour Work Week describes how it’s possible to use a special technique of working in short bursts. This can eliminate distractions to finish heavy workloads and avoid overthinking.
Take simple steps to a productive day: A good night’s sleep helps reduce anxiety and stress. Switching off all screens two hours before sleep is of great help. The moment you get out of bed, don’t forget to express gratitude. A nutritious breakfast helps to activate your brain, and a nutritious diet more generally can help retain physical and mental balance.
Draw a boundary: Understand that not every part of life is in our control. Allow yourself to ponder on important thoughts, but always return to the present moment.
Remember, you’ll never regret putting time and effort into yourself.
Your Voice reflects the thoughts and opinions of the writer, and not necessarily those of the publication.