One’s company, routine, profession, habits, inclination, ability to distance oneself from the external reality, among other factors, play a part in why or under what circumstances does one overthink, and if these can be changed or adapted to.
Keep Yourself Busy Keeping oneself busy makes sure that the monkey mind has no time to think or brood over the spilt milk.
Plan your day and tasks in a way that is not too stressful. Take up one task at a time. This not only stops overthinking, but also makes one a better manager.
Set Small Goals Set daily or weekly goals to do things which you like or need to be done. This may include responsibilities to be fulfilled and hobbies as well. Setting goals gives a direction to our mind and engage it constructively. But stick to short term goals which are doable and don’t seem too difficult to accomplish.
Walk, Jog, or Do Yoga Physical activity puts the mind in the zone where it is focused and aware. It rejuvenates you and releases neurochemicals like endorphins, serotonin, and GABA that make one happy and content. Yogasanas have been found to be especially helpful in relaxing the mind. The uniqueness of yogasanas is in its synchronization with the breath. Every posture in yoga is done with awareness on the breath. This cleanses the body and calms the chattering mind.
Look at the Bigger Picture Often when we reflect back on the fears we had in our childhood or as teenagers—fretting over exams, grades, fights with friends, and relationships—they seem inconsequential and silly in the context of time. So the realization that each event is a blip in time and unreal helps you look at the bigger picture—the transience of the material world. Once you wake up to this simple reality, you gain enough awareness to be able to discern what situation calls for analysis and which ones are futile to put any thought into. This awareness brings tranquility and helps you get rid of worries.
Keep Good Company “The people and events you are associated with do influence your mind. In the company of some people, things and events appear very bright and positive. In the company of some other people, the whole world seems like a nasty place and everything seems negative. One is being part of the solution and the other is magnifying the problem,” says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. This is even more relevant for people who are prone to overthinking. The company you keep can make it better or worse for you. Gurudev gives us a simple test of what makes good company—when you meet a friend, do you leave the place feeling lighter, hopeful, and that your problem is totally solvable? That’s good company, or Satsang (company of the truth). If instead you feel burdened, pessimistic, and more worried than the situation deserves, then it might not be the best company for you.
Sing and Dance Engaging in spontaneous activity like singing, dancing or laughing help balance both the right and left hemisphere of the brain. When we overthink too much, we also tend to take life a little too seriously. Here certain lightness of being helps us see the two important truths:
- Everything is changing.
- Life is full of opposites and these opposites are complementary to each other.
This understanding immediately calms down the mind, slows down the number of thoughts that bombard the mind and provide the Viveka or discretion that is full of awareness.