In times of challenge we may notice an increase in stress and changes in mood. These changes may be subtle, or these changes may be significant. Those with predisposing mental health concerns are more likely to be negatively impacted by the current climate and the weekly changes to our everyday life.
One of the most common activities we may begin to engage in is overthinking. This is when we spend large amounts of time ruminating involving rehearsing the past; or spending time worrying which involves making negative and at times catastrophic predictions about the future.
Below are some helpful tips to manage when you notice yourself overthinking.
- Awareness – the first step in managing our thoughts is to start to become aware of our thinking. Thinking comes as naturally as walking and talking, we don’t really think about our thinking, we just do it. Take some time throughout the day to identify the content that is running through your mind.
- Challenge – check the facts, often the content of our thoughts has no evidence to suggest truth however we go on believing it anyway. Ask yourself simple questions such as what is the evidence for this thought? Against it? Am I basing this thought on facts, or on feelings?
- Diffuse – At times we feel that because we have a certain thought that we need to do something about it. We have the choice to pick up our thoughts and run with them. We also have the choice to notice the thought and put it back down again. A question to ask yourself might be is this thought helpful?
- Mindfulness – It is impossible to “live in” yesterday or tomorrow when we are living in the present. By practicing mindfulness we can train our brain to be in the here and now, allowing us to respond to our thoughts rather than react.
Remember to also be compassionate with yourself! You are human! We are designed to think, to worry, to ruminate. Changing these biological processes can take time, so be kind on your journey in doing so.
If you need support to cope with these challenging times, please don’t hesitate to get in contact here.