Thinking is an energy intensive process. It’s no wonder that your brain uses more energy than any other organ in your body. Therefore, when you indulge in overthinking, it certainly exerts your mind out, the effects of which are also felt in your body.
Your mind functions at its highest capacity only when it is calm and relaxed.
This is why, overthinking is counterproductive in nature. It leads to an overuse of your brain’s resources, which tires the brain out, leading to unclear/clouded thinking and confusion leading to feelings of frustration, agitation, anger, sadness and even depression.
In this article let’s look at some tried and tested methods that will help you get out of the habit of overthinking and also help you connect with the state of “higher intelligence” which exists naturally in your being. But before we delve into the techniques, let’s see the main underlying reason that leads to overthinking.
The main reason you overthink so much
The main reason why you feel you are thinking too much is because your attention is completely drawn up by every thought which emerges in your mind.
Remember that you cannot control the thoughts that fleet through your mind, but you can control whether or not you give attention to the thought.
Thoughts need “your” attention to survive.
So stop giving attention to your thoughts and they will slow down automatically, and there will be a lot more space of silence between thoughts, thus allowing real wisdom to flow through.
The sense of restlessness, which comes when you are fully taken up in thinking, is because you are almost being pulled away from your wholeness. Your attention becomes narrowed down when it’s fully consumed by thoughts, and so it creates a sensation of being “closed up”.
When you consciously relax your attention, it comes back to its natural state of wholeness. This wholeness is your true body and it’s a very intelligent state to be in.
Techniques to stop thinking so much
The following are 5 highly effective tactics you can start using immediately to stop thinking so much. These techniques will not only help you stop overthinking, but will also help you relax and get in touch with your deeper intelligence.
1. Use a mantra to take attention away from your thoughts
As mentioned earlier, your unconscious attention is what drives your thoughts. Reciting a mantra can help divert your attention from your thoughts and anchor it to the mantra. In addition, a mantra also gives you positive energy and helps raise your vibration.
A mantra can be a meaningless word like OM, RUM, HUM, HUMSHA etc. or something with meaning like, ‘I am in control of my thoughts’.
Whenever you catch yourself indulging in thoughts, choose any one of your favorite mantra and repeat it over and over again in your mind or out loud. The best way is to whisper it loud enough so only you can hear.
Examples of some mantras that can help you overcome rumination are as follows:
- Everything will work out perfectly.
- Everything’s perfect.
- Everything’s working out for my highest good.
- I will figure it out.
- Solutions will come to me.
- I am in control of my thoughts and my life.
- I am strong, I am capable, I am kind.
- Peace and calm.
- Relax. Be grateful.
- Keep it simple.
- Be Still.
- Thoughts, float away.
- Ease and flow.
If you need more mantras, check out this list of 33 mantras for strength and positivity.
2. Connect with your body (Introspective awareness)
As we grow older, we lose touch with our bodies and start living in our minds. This leads to an imbalance and overthinking is just one of the negative effects of this imbalance.
So whenever you find yourself overthinking, use that as an opportunity to reconnect with your body.
The best way to reconnect with your body is through the medium of breath. Start by simply becoming aware of your breathing. Feel the cool air caressing the tip of your nostrils as you inhale and the warm air as you exhale.
To take this one step further, try to follow your breath by feeling the air entering your body through your nostrils and inside your lungs. Hold for a few seconds after every in-breath and feel this air or life energy inside your lungs.
You can slowly take this even further by focusing on different parts of your body. This article on inner body meditation gives a step by step method on how to do this.
The moment you get in touch with your body, you divert your attention from your thoughts to your body and hence the thinking stops.
This technique can be especially useful when you want to get some sleep but the thoughts in your mind do not let you.
Research indicates that with time, body awareness (or introspective awareness as per neuroscience) enhances certain areas of the brain, that allow you to get in touch with your body more deeply and also aids psychological well being. This is also a meditative process and hence helps develop your prefrontal cortex that helps you stay more conscious.
3. Spend time in nature
There is plenty of researchers that proves that that spending time in nature helps lower rumination.
When in nature, stay conscious of all the sights, sounds and smells around you.
Hug a tree and feel its vibrant and relaxed energy permeate your being, walk barefoot and reconnect with the earth’s energy field. Consciously feel the earth’s energy as you take each step. Look at a tree, a flower or a plant and get in touch with their still energy. Consciously feel the wind caressing your body. Listen to the crackling of the dry leaves as you walk over them.
Spending conscious time in nature is one of the simplest ways to overcome rumination and develop mindfulness.
Remember, the more time you spend being mindful, the more your conscious brain develops and the easier it becomes for your to snap out of rumination.
4. Use meditation to develop your conscious mind
The more control you have over your attention, the less you are prone to overthinking. Even though all the methods mentioned above including body awareness, mantra recitation and being mindful in nature will help you gain more control over your attention, the most effective way is through focused meditation.
Focused meditation simply involves focusing your attention on your breath for around 10 to 50 seconds at one go. Your mind will generate thoughts, but since you keep refocusing your attention onto your breath, your thoughts will soon pass away and you will experience a state of no thoughts or stillness.
To know more about focused meditation, check out this article.
5. Realize that you don’t need to overthink to find solutions!
This may come as a surprise to many who have been disillusioned to believe that “overthinking” is necessary to create solutions or solve problems.
But the fact is that there is nothing more far from truth than to believe that thinking can bring in creative, or useful, solutions – usually the opposite is true.
Your mind can only reference your past, and your limited conditioning, to come up with solutions – this is a very mediocre, and almost useless, database to refer to; and the solutions which are thus created usually lack creativity and bring in more struggle/effort on your part.
6. Practice stillness
Wisdom comes from a place of silence. True creative solutions emerge from a place of “no thought”.
Whenever you need a solution, don’t jump into your mind and start thinking; instead let go of the need to think and enter a space of silence.
Your mind may feel uncomfortable because it associates silence with “dumbness” but that’s only because you have never seen the power of this silence of being. When you see creative solutions emerging from this space of silence you will start relying on it more and more.
You will naturally stop thinking so much and dwell more in the space of silence, which in turn will bring harmony and wholeness into your life.
So How to Avoid Too Much Thinking?
You cannot stop thinking unless you understand the ineffectiveness of this process. Human beings have reached a place of evolution where they must step out of the limitations of thinking and move into the unlimited potential present in the silence of your being. Just be, and solutions will come, you don’t have to effort or think.
The being that you are did not create this existence through effort; it’s so evident in everything natural.
Human beings have to stop thinking so much and start “being” more, in order to bring in harmony and peace into their existence. The only way to do this is to recognize the dysfunction, and ineffectiveness, of thinking. Once you know that thinking is not useful, you will no longer indulge in it so much.