Overthinking. One hell of a drug without actually being a drug.
I don't usually do blog posts like this, but lately I've been struggling big time with what I call "cronic overthinking" and it might be time to let you guys in on my life on a more personal note if that means it can make you feel less alone. Here's the thing, we all say we're over thinkers which is most likely true, could just be human nature, but there are a few of you reading this right now that really REALLY suffer from being trapped inside your own brain feeling like a prisoner sometimes. That's about where I'm standing right now.
Have you ever gotten so stuck inside your own head that it keeps you from being great that day? It keeps you from moving forward because you're so stuck on whatever the small issue is that you can't let go of. There is nothing more frustrating than not wanting to think about something so bad that you actually can't help but think about it until it consumes you. The more you think about it the more your brain curates a story that's not true; usually a worst case scenario type of story. Then you spend so much time with these thoughts against your own will that you actually start believing your worst case scenario thoughts. Perfect example of easier said than done when somebody tells you to just drop it, "you're overthinking it".
The thing is, distractions help some of the time, and the other half they don't. The half of the time that they do work, they only work temporarily until the next small issue runs through your head. Suddenly you're running down the same self-destructing path of curating a new story in your head and...oh look! Right back to where you started before the distraction, just with a new issue to overthink about that's probably not half as bad as your making it in your head.
This is real. There's no medication that can stop this, there's no herbal tea that can change your thought process, there's no surgery that can remove whatever part of your brain makes you do this (trust me I've asked ;). It's entirely up to us to try to fight through it, or it will effect every little thing we do if we let it. This is where anxiety kicks in because you can't figure out how to stop it and you have to use any energy you have left to not let your brain win and ruin your day. There are days it gets so bad that you're tired simply from your brain moving 1,000 miles a minute trying to pick up the hypothetical pieces you might have to put back together if your worst cast scenario story actually does happen.
It can stop you from being happy during times you'd never think was possible to be sad, and it can cause you to feel like sometimes there's not even a world outside of your little brain pressing you. You are not alone. And if you've even made it this far that means you can relate because you wouldn't have kept going.
The hardest part about all of this is being a naturally happy person, but hiding the behind the scenes thoughts that have the ability to take your happiness away at times. So what do you do when you love to laugh, you love to enjoy life, you're always positive, but you still have to battle through negative fake thoughts in your head?
So, I'm gonna share a few things I've found that doesn't "cure" the "chronic overthinking", but they can help your brain be distracted even if it's for two minutes. These are things that I've found helpful through trial and error on my really bad days that may sound small or you may not think can help- but please trust me, they can if you try.
- Shopping on Sundays instead of drinking. You've heard of retail therapy before- it's real. There's something about getting excited over yourself looking good in something you just purchased that helps gain your confidence back. Do it. Even if it's not in your budget- get up, leave the house, go to your favorite store and buy yourself one thing big or small. And do this every Sunday. End your week on a positive note so the Monday scaries don't kick in so quick. I am in no position to be spending mindless money right now, but I've found mental health is also productive and worth it if you're going to spend that ten dollars.
- Drive, You don't need a destination, the surprise of where you end up is the fun of it..just get in your car and go. Put your phone down, stop scrolling, keep your hands busy on the wheel and let your mind wonder into things like counting the yellow squares as they go or reading every street sign for no reason. There's something about keeping your mind busy because its focusing on not crashing that helps me feel like I atleast have control over SOMETHING when I lose control of my thoughts.
- RUN. Go OUTSIDE and run. There's too many people in gyms- it can cause you to think everyone in the room is judging how you workout even though not a single person cares. This can actually start up your brain again and trigger even more overthinking habits so throw your headphones on and get outside. Run at your own pace, just get out there. Run out your frustrations let them flow out of you through your feet hitting the ground. Sounds corny dude, I get it, but it works.
- Group Chatting with your best friends. There is nothing better than getting lost in how funny a situation is when it's honestly truly hilarious to you. You have your own inside jokes with your group of friends that are honestly little blessings in disguise. Take advantage of that. When I'm texting my two best friends we talk about nothing but somehow always giggle at our phones. It distracts me from reality for a few minutes and reminds me that there are so many things out there to be grateful for, like AWESOME friends.They motivate me to get up out of my head and do the great things I know I can do with my life.
Moral of my story, over thinking has been one of my biggest challenges to overcome for as long as I can remember. And you know what, that's ok, it's a part of life. Sometimes I really truly believe I wouldn't be funny (or most of the time only I think I'm funny) if I didn't grow up creating traumatic experiences for myself for no reason LOL. If this is you too though, I'm not writing this to tell you I can fix it, as much as I'd love to fix it for you, I can't. But I'm writing this to relate to you, to let you know you're not alone, and sometimes that alone can be helpful to it. Reach out if you ever need! We can all help each other through it :) If you needed a sign today- let this be it- you are GREAT and YOU are destined to reach any goal you wish you could reach! xo