Everyone has seen an undisciplined dog, right? Jumping all over the place, barking constantly, destroying the furniture or your favorite shirt. One year for Thanksgiving, the family dog literally got ahold of the holiday ham! (Sorry for any family who is just finding out about this now…) It can be so frustrating! It’s hard to feel in control of your own house or even hold conversations when you are constantly making sure the dog isn’t getting into anything else.
This is a lot like our thinking sometimes. Have you ever caught yourself dwelling on something that consumes your thoughts? Something that prevents you from being fully invested in a conversation, or listening to and actually understanding instructions. You know, the thinking that keeps you from falling asleep at night; tossing and turning with so many thoughts going through your head.
Allowing time for free thinking is very therapeutic, but when there is constant mental chewing over the same situations it can actually be causing harm!
Here are a few outcomes when our thinking is roaming around, undisciplined:
Depression from a lack of peace in your life. Relationships will suffer because you keep depending on other people to help you feel relaxed.
Anxiety will be through the roof. Your body will be on guard and over-firing adrenaline (the hormonal fight or flight response). This is only healthy in short spurts.
Binging in anything: food, games, social media. This is usually a band aid tool, masking the real problem while you indulge in something else to feel full.
Wasted energy from spending all that time thinking! It literally can tire you out. There are plenty of more productive things you could be putting in the front of your mind.
So lets talk about breaking the old, bad habits and building new ones.
These new habits are simple enough to incorporate into daily or weekly routines to prevent you from overthinking:
- Bedside Journal:
- When you are tossing and turning or your thoughts keep ruminating over and over again, grab a paper and pencil. Regardless of what time it is (you’re already not sleeping, time to do something different), write down everything racing through your mind and attempt to put it away. Sometimes just writing these things out on paper is extremely relieving. You won’t worry about forgetting your “to-do” list.
- Get Active:
- Exercising can be like hitting a restart button on your mood. Like I mentioned earlier, activating adrenaline is really good for you! A healthy amount of exercise is vital to keep that balance. Afterward increasing your heart rate, your body sends dopamine, which is a relaxation chemical that helps you think more clearly and feel more calm.
- Show Empathy to Yourself:
- Step off the downward spiral of bad emotions – the more frustrated you get about your overthinking, the more you will overthink, and around it goes. Allow yourself to admit your frustration and show compassion to yourself. This is extremely important, hitting the brakes in your thinking and slowly calming down.
- Deep Breathing:
- This is one of my favorite tools that really helps to slow down out of control thinking. Fill your lungs slowly, completely. Match your exhale to the length of your inhale.
- Do Something!
- Pick up a healthy, relaxing hobby (reading, yoga, walking, a new Netflix show…). Think of one that you can actually do in a moment of overthinking.
I want to know what works for you! Share what your “undisciplined” brain looks like or a healthy habit or hobby that helps you slow down from overthinking.
If you’re finding this information either helpful or wanting to learn more, please contact me or leave a comment!