Overthinking is the last thing you want to do on busy working days, but your brain just won’t stop. It can turn into a major problem, giving you anxiety and spoiling your mood. Overthinking stops you from performing your daily activities. Do you make decisions with ease or do you procrastinate?
Overthink affects your everyday life at so many levels. Sometimes things go so deept hat you ever forget what your priorities are. Overthinking is like drowning in your own thoughts without even being able to get out of it. You go deeper and deeper in the sea, and you float aimlessly without being aware it. Everything changes once you wake up and stop overthinking. You can train your brain to do that.
Overthinking may have negative consequences for chronic worriers. If you focus on future uncertainties and it makes you anxious, you’re probably lacking control. Overthinking spoils your moments, and you better find a way to train your brain to stop overthinking, and appreciate the things you have at the moment.
A group of researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara presented images of kaleidoscope colors to study participants, and tested their ability to remember if they have already seen one of the images before.
Participants with the best guesses at the memory test had better results than participants who spent too much time trying to remember a color or a pattern. The overthinking participants focused their brains on remembering the visual information they were show weren’t as good as those who didn’t focus their attention to recalling the details.
Researchers note that paying attention may sometimes be a distraction and affect the outcome of your performance. The part of the brain in your prefrontal cortex that is turned on when you pay attention is the dorsolateral area.
Study participants with lower prefrontal cortex stimulation during the testing were able to remember the images better. Paying too much attention to details may hurt your ability to remember the things you’re seeing.
Train the brain to stop overthinking and focus on the big picture
According to this research, a more broad overview approach works better when it comes to recalling any complex images. If you want to train your brain to process every information this way, just try to imagine picking up all the details at once, as if your brain is taking a picture, and see all the bits of information at once.
Need to practice underthinking? Take a picture book, open it to a random page, and look at any image for 5 seconds. Close the book, and try to remember the image. These 5 seconds stop your brain from overthinking, and you will still be surprised of all the information you managed to recall. Repeat this method until you feel confident in your brain’s power to process info quickly.
Train the brain to get used to uncertainty
You can’t always know everything. Overthinkers have a brain trained to focus on uncertainties just because they’re trying really hard to solve them. These individuals have a brain like that of a toddler – they’re constantly seeking answers. Some questions may be answered, but overthinkers usually dwell on those that have no answer.
Or at least they think they can’t find an answer. For example, ‘What could they possibly have meant when they said that’ can be answered if a person can clarify their meaning.
‘I wonder what they think of me’ can be answered if you ask the person whose opinion throws you into an overthinking mode. You can either look for the answer that makes you overthink or teach your brain that you will have to get used to the idea of not knowing an answer.
Train the brain to focus on your negative self-thinking
Have you ever heard of meta-thinking? It’s thinking about how you think. Self-observation is a must here. If you are still reading our article, and have any concerns about yourself being an overthinker, you have already recognized your own unproductive thinking patterns. People who deal with distress about overthinking see themselves in a negative way because of their thoughts.
You can still have negative thoughts, but try to reject them and consider them a part of what you identify as ‘self.’ This technique can be of great help for overthinkers.
Researchers in the journal Behavior Therapy confirmed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) actually helps people to feel more self-compassion rather than any negativity about their overthinking. Individuals who go through MBCT therapy experience less stress related to their thoughts.
Focus on one thing you can control
If you overthink in an attempt to gain control over a specific situation, focus on one action that can actually help you get back the sense of control. You can try writing down the issue, and in this way your brain will stop trying to remember it. Identify another think that you’re able to bring you to the right direction, like making a phone call in order to get more info.