How to calm your mind and let go of overthinking

In thinking about what to focus on for this blog post the following question came to me. How do we manage our overthinking and get to a place of living calmer and more grounded? The goings-on of our internal thinking patterns, internal narratives and conditioned perspectives can really impact how we engage with our daily experiences.

So how do we manage and address a racing mind, a nagging internal narrative and limiting perspectives? How do we actually switch these off and create more empowering inner chatter? Some people would say “that’s just how I’m made” or “well I’ve always been like that” or “that’s not something I can change.”

Well, the good news is that you absolutely can begin to change these things. You can start to rephrase the thoughts you let into your head, and you can begin to create a filtering system, to sift through and decide what thoughts you will allow yourself to have in your head. As well as becoming more selective about what thoughts you can choose to let go of particularly if they don’t feel supportive. Yes, it will take time and practice, but the good news is it’s certainly possible. Our brain is an amazing part of our anatomy and is flexible and capable of adapting and changing when provided with new information, on a consistent and long-term basis. So, practice, practice and more practice will help embed a new way of thinking that can be more supportive for you.

Believe

So, the important first step in this process is allowing yourself to believe that with practice it is possible to let go of any internal mental overwhelm you may be experiencing because of overthinking, unhelpful inner narratives or limiting perspectives. The next step is to put in place a few daily rituals and routines where you practice being present and mindful of what thoughts are running through your head. Then you test those thoughts, and ask yourself are those thoughts helping me or making things more difficult for me. It’s a critical thought like “I’m not going to do this presentation very well” or “I’m going to have a rubbish day today” that can potentially change the overall experience of your day.  

Be curious

Those thoughts lay a negative foundation for you, instead what if you worked to engage in your day in a more curious way. Ask yourself questions rather than make judgements. What would I like to learn about myself today? What aspect of myself would I like to support today? Try to engage with your daily activities with a curious heart, and let go of the inner criticism. Give yourself permission to be more present in your daily activities, and allow yourself to be open to asking for support, getting feedback, or asking how you can do better next time. Allow yourself to be open to new opportunities and experiences that will support and nurture your own personal growth and expansion.

Reflect

After you have finished your day, and gotten home, take some time to look back over the experience of your day. Take a little time to reflect and ask yourself the question “what did you do well today?” “what did you learn about yourself today?” Then give yourself some downtime to write your thoughts down about those experiences. And then in a curious and self-supporting way can you give yourself a positive and affirming acknowledgement of what you achieved during the day. Taking time to reflect and write your thoughts down, is a helpful way to clear your thoughts, give yourself more head space and reduce the intensity of your racing thoughts. Giving yourself time and space on a regular basis to clear your head, put your thoughts down on paper and start afresh the following day is a good grounding exercise and does well to keep you in the present and less in your overthinking. Put thoughts down on paper, strike out what is not relevant, and organize and prioritize the thoughts that remain. This helps you to gather your thoughts in a type of order and allows you to clarify what would otherwise be swirling around in your head in a bit of a mish-mash.

Stillness

After you have completed this process then have a think about what you could do to give yourself time and space to be still. To let all the thoughts and experiences of the day go. Is it going for a walk, maybe it’s sitting out in nature, maybe it’s meditation? But once you have cleared your head of your days’ thoughts and experiences allow yourself a little space to just let your mind slow down, let your thoughts go, clear your head, and let yourself settle into a slower calmer pace of thinking. Be mindful of slowing your breathing down, slow your pace down, and actively let thoughts go when they pop into your head. Try offering yourself this opportunity for stillness a few times a week to start and then build up to creating time for stillness every day.

Have a plan

With everything, it always helps to do some forward planning. If you recognize that you do have busy weeks ahead and recognize that the intention to do this for yourself is there, but there is also a possibility that you will let this slide, then actively allocate time in your calendar specifically to commit to this practice. Think about what is realistic for you, think about what would work as a starting point, and find the best time of the day given your responsibilities. But by putting time in your calendar specifically for this, you psychologically give yourself permission to commit to it. So, create a plan that works for you, and put it in your diary. And remind yourself why you are doing this, it could be to get to a more grounded and calm state on a more regular basis. It could be by doing this for yourself helps reduce your stress, builds wellbeing, and builds self-awareness and a deeper sense of self. Get to know your why and this will also help you stay committed to your plan.

Do what you love

As well as doing the above steps for yourself, another way of getting yourself to a place of inner calm is taking time to do those things that you really enjoy and can get lost in. That could be listening to music, meeting with supportive friends, going for a run, doing some cooking, baking or other creative activities that can feed your soul. So, create your plan, try to apply it 2 or 3 days in your week, to begin with, and make some time for yourself to do something that feeds your soul. Taking ownership of a plan for yourself and planning things out will also help nurture that inner calm as well. It nurtures a deeper sense of autonomy and personal control that also feeds into a stronger sense of calm.

So pause for a moment or two and start to consider how you would like to support yourself over the next few weeks to help reduce your overthinking patterns and get to a calmer state of mind. Where are you going to start?

Book recommendation

A book worth reading: Hidden Messages in Water Paperback – 5 Dec. 2005 by Masaru Emoto  (Author). Emoto believes that since people are 70 per cent water, and the Earth is 70 per cent water, we can heal our planet and ourselves by consciously expressing love and goodwill. So do a little reading around this and use this as a reminder, when filtering out your thoughts, and deciding what thoughts you hold onto and what thoughts you can let go of.

Check out my range of e-Journals and hardcopy journals or why not join my recently launched “Soul and Empowerment” Hub and join in on the Soul and Empowerment conversation by clicking here. Or fancy listening to my most recent podcast? Catch it here.

Until next time

Love and Light

ML

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