Obsessive thinking, or rumination is when your mind keeps replaying a scenario to the point where you are unable to think about anything else.
We all overthink sometimes. Reflecting on past experiences is what our brain does best, but sometimes it can interfere with our lives and cause us to obsess.
Here are a few tips to help you ease those obsessive thoughts out of your mind:
1. Address the worry
There’s no point telling yourself you’re okay when you’re not. In fact, trying to put thoughts out of your mind can intensify obsessive thinking. Admit what’s plaguing you and then ask yourself; is it really worth all the energy?
2. Practice mindfulness
While you can’t really start doing meditative yoga during a client meeting, some simple breathing exercises can do wonders to subdue obsessive thoughts. Take slow, deep breaths for about a minute and focus on your inhaling/ exhaling. This is a proven technique and the more you practice it, the more control you will have over your thoughts.
3. Listen to music
Music can have a powerful effect on our emotions, and listening to a song you like can help override excessive thoughts. Think about it – how often have you listened to your favourite song and felt like you could take on the world? A two minute song can take away hours of worry. Research has also suggested that listening to classical music enhances dopamine (the feel good hormone) levels in the brain, which can help mellow out those recurring thoughts.
4. Shake up your routine
Try to break away from routine and do something different. Instead of going home straight after work go to the library or take a walk in the park. A change in scenery gives your brain a chance to experience new sensory input which can subdue a busy mind.
5. Re-arrange your furniture
It might seem a little extreme, but if you’re the type of person who needs to expend energy, then re-arranging your furniture can be a good way to bring your focus onto something else. When you’re arranging furniture, you’re using your physical strength as well as your creativity which leaves little room for over-thinking!
6. Go out with your friends
But don’t use it as an excuse to rant and rave non-stop to anyone who’ll listen! Surrounding yourself with others can help you see how wonderful your friends are and opens your eyes to what else is happening in the world.
7. Start a new project
Sometimes a passion project is a great way to shift your thinking. It allows you to use your mental energy on something you love. Whether it’s learning to knit, doing an online course, or taking on more work – pick up something that will re-awaken your passion and give new meaning to your life.
8. Write down your thoughts
It might seem counter intuitive, but if your mind keeps coming back to the same thoughts, it’s a good idea to write them down. Once they’re on paper, it will be much easier to let them go.
9. Try to see the positives
Sometimes, no matter what we do the thoughts keep returning. Maybe you’re replaying an embarrassing conversation in your head, or going through a messy break-up. Things may seem awful now, but if you focus on the positives – like learning from your mistakes, you can turn the negative into a positive and move on.