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Over Thinking: The Essence of Anxiety?

How many times have you lay awake with a single thought that has somehow spiralled into ‘catastrophising’? Overthinking is a known stressor and can result in high levels of anxiety. But how can we escape this vicious circle?

Practice Mindfulness

Rather than thinking ahead and fearing future events. practice being mindful and focusing on the present. Rather than creating scenarios in your mind that may never come to fruition, sit with your thoughts and observe them. You may have had a negative experience with a particular colleague or client that may stay with you. However, is replaying those negative experiences in your mind useful? Will it change what happened? Consider refocusing and using your energy to look at the positives, if you can find them.

Don’t Sit with It

One of the worst things we can do is ‘give in’ to these thoughts and emotions. Focus your mind and move on, whether that be changing tasks or even just getting out and moving! Walking is a great way of clearing your mind of any clutter whilst getting your body active and filling you with fresh air, giving you new energy to tackle the remaining day. Alternatively, if you’re a night-time overthinker, why not try sleep meditation to get your body back into a relaxed state ready for rest.

The Bigger Picture

It’s often very easy to get carried away with your thoughts and the ‘what if’ scenarios. How often do we stop and see the bigger picture? This is hard to do on a normal day, but when filled with anxiety, it’s almost near impossible? Try to open up your thoughts, who else is involved in this? Are they feeling this stress? Why not? How will this situation impact you in a month, quarter or years time?

The Takeaway…

When feelings of anxiety arise, stop and ask yourself “Am I in immediate danger?”. If you have time to ask yourself this, the answer is no. Take time to try and rationalise your thoughts. Breathe and try to re-centre those anxious feelings.