Learning not to overthink.
We all do it, some more than others, but it just seems to come naturally to us. However, just because it comes naturally, doesn’t mean it can’t be invasive and overwhelming. There are times it would be helpful to detach our brain from our body to prevent it from overthinking, but we can’t, so we have to learn to deal with it. My 2022 promise to myself is to try not to overthink, and here are a few things I do when overthinking arises that might help you too.
Talk/Write them down.
When we start to overthink things in our minds and go over and over them, the best thing to do can be to release them. Sometimes chatting about the thoughts in your head helps. It isn’t necessarily feedback you need, but releasing them and having someone listening to you can be a big help. Alternatively, if you don’t feel like chatting to someone, write your thoughts down. Putting your thoughts on paper helps get them out of your mind so they aren’t continually whirling around.
Question your thoughts.
Just because our brain tells us to think something, doesn’t mean we have to accept it. We can contest those thoughts that we don’t want to experience and question them their value. If we try to understand where the thoughts are coming from and unpack them, we can very quickly turn them around. When negative, overinflated thoughts enter into our minds, we can ask ourselves, are they rational? More often than not, they aren’t. Frequently, they are the scared little version of ourselves that is afraid of failing. If we tell that part of ourself that they are irrational and their beliefs do not come from any concrete location, we can understand that they have no worth.
There is only one way to reverse something that is having a negative effect on you, and that is by turning it positive. It is definitely easier said than done, but once you start the process, it will soon become second nature. Every time you overthink something in a negative way, reverse the thought. For example, if you find your brain overthinking a session that didn’t go to plan, rather than telling yourself it is because you have lost fitness and you are not a good runner, think about it positively. Remind yourself that it is good for a session to not go to plan than a race, that there is always something to learn from why it didn’t go to plan, and thank your body, because it is telling you that today it didn’t feel 100% so it held you back. There will always be good, average, and not quite so great sessions, and this is imperative to us developing as strong athletes. Therefore, behind every over-thought negative thought is a positive to take away, you just have to search for it.
Remember, there is no need to beat yourself up when you find yourself overthinking something, but don’t let those thoughts overpower you. Try the above methods and see if things start to seem a bit brighter. You are never alone.
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I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!