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Mental Health

An Overthinker’s Guide to Letting Your Mind Relax

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

It’s exhausting, isn’t it? Your mind is constantly running around in circles with no destination in sight and it seems like the more you dwell on this particular situation, the more worries arise. Thoughts like “I’ll do really well on this test if I study tonight” becomes “I should’ve studied this instead of working on something else” and finally “I’ll definitely fail.”

Whether it’s about school, work, family, or just life, dwelling over how things could’ve been or how things will play out to be, could easily become a stress factor and cloud your judgement. It’s easy to let concerns build up in your mind instead of being proactive in the present or just completely letting your mind rest. And yes, I know, it’s easier said than done, but coming from an overthinker herself, letting your mind rest after difficult contemplation will do you a huge favor in the long run and might possibly lead to better habits when it comes to overthinking.

However, it’s important to remember that overthinking appears different for everyone and these steps don’t change how you deal with overthinking overnight–it takes effort and the willingness to change your mindset too.

be aware that you’re overthinking

In order to stop, you have to know when you’ve started. So take a deep breath and start looking at the bigger picture. Instead of stressing and causing more anxiety, face the situation, or situations, and consider how you’re reacting to it. Your mind is probably racing with all the tasks you have to do today, overanalyzing the decisions you’ve made, and the ones you’ll make tomorrow. It’s practically human nature to evaluate yourself about the choices you make, but it’s necessary to be aware when your “evaluation” starts to cloud your judgement and cause stress.

Focus on the present

In situations where you find yourself reminiscing on the past, focusing on the present is the best thing you could do for yourself in order to move forward. Know that you can’t change events that already happened or the things that have been said, and the more you dwell about it, the worse you will feel about it. In cases where you’re overthinking about the future, remind yourself that there’s matters right now that you could be spending your time on instead of worrying about the future that isn’t guaranteed. However, don’t get confused on preparing for the future and worrying about what is yet to come, as there’s just some things that you can’t control.

The more you focus on the present, the more you’ll make use of your productivity, and the more you’ll ease your mind.

girl lounging relax 1
Kristen Bryant / Her Campus

Write down your solutions

It doesn’t necessarily have to be “solutions”, it could be making a to-do list, filling out your planner, or just writing down something for you to track your progress when trying to be more productive. It might seem like there’s a lot on your plate, but knowing that these tasks are what you can control, the more encouraged you are to tick off each goal. Trust me, the more you check off of your list or the closer you get to finishing your set tasks, the more accomplished and stress-free you feel.

Find a distraction

It might seem a little counterintuitive, but distancing yourself from your main source of distress and the things that trigger you to start overthinking is best at times. That’s not to say that you completely ignore your problems and move on, but letting yourself wallow in your thoughts proves to do more harm than good. Whether it’s going out with friends, finding a new hobby, meditating, or going to the gym, allowing yourself time to shift your attention away from the worries you are obsessing over can lower the possibility of future burnout.

Listen to music

No matter the genre you choose to listen to, music becomes one of your best friends in times like these.

Do you want to be productive and don’t want to be alone in your own thoughts? Turn on LoFi music to help you keep focus and be motivated. Had a bad day, the negative thoughts just won’t stop coming, and you need a good cry? Adele has your back. Frustrated and drained, but you don’t have the energy to jam out? Put your go-to playlist on shuffle and notice your mood begin to pick up with each passing song.

Alternatively, if you just need background noise as you pass time while you do your thing, close your eyes and let your finger pick a show for you and do the thinking for a change.

Sarah is a freshman at the University of Illinois at Chicago, planning to major in Psychology on the pre-med track. She has always enjoyed writing and wants to use this opportunity as a member for Her Campus to have a creative outlet and to get involved on campus.
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