11 Tips and Tricks I Use to Stop Overthinking Everything

 

There was a time when every evening you could find me at Ao Yon, a private beach in Thailand. You could find me in the hammock of my open walled bungalow, enclosed by tropical jungle. Every inch of skin on my fingers sticky from prying open sweet tamarinds from a stalky tree on the property, so saturated with pods that it's sweet and sour treasures would drip like raindrops. Every day I drove my motorbike home through winding mountain roads and breathtaking views to float in the warm, comforting ocean.

While doing what I loved for a year - teaching and coming home to paradise - believe it or not - it became mundane, every-day life. Once the novelty wore off, I began to think about everything in the entire world again - even in this easy breezy lifestyle. 

What else should I be doing? Am I doing enough? I'm going to dwell on this failing relationship because maybe something will change if I think about it enough or try harder.

If only things were different - then I'd be happy. This was a revelation to me. I learned that no matter where I'd go, my mind would be there. And that it's the nature of my mind to overthink. 

What could be different in your life? I don't know. But I'll bet you know. We're always searching for what's missing and what needs to change for us to be enough, to be successful, to be content. 

It’s not the what’s missing questions that we need to ask ourselves, but rather - what’s there that’s getting in the way.

The way we phrase our questions dictates how we think about everything. When we don’t know what’s missing, then we don’t know what to focus on anyway - so maybe it’s time to change the question. 

What’s missing? No… If something could be eliminated to help you fulfill your life, what would it be?

In order to find these obstacles, we need to dig a little bit deeper. Working through obstacles has to be a part of it.

Overthinking is an obstacle that presents in tons of varieties. 

It's nothing more than that.

I'll always remember when a teacher of mine looked into my eyes and said, "Your frustrations and screw ups are just that - don't give them any more credit than that." I'm not saying thoughts and feelings are nothing, they're to be acknowledged AND sometimes it's time to stop overthinking. 

In that light, I want to share with you 11 tips and tricks that have worked for me. I hope that you get some insight and reminders to stop any overthinking that you're currently struggling with.

 
 
Inner peace is the new success.

 

Tip # 1

Let yourself off the hook. One of the varieties of overthinking has a quality of violence to it. We're hard on ourselves, judgmental and non-forgiving. We replay situations and how we should have done them differently. We beat ourselves up and it's not nice. Letting yourself off the hook is a continual refinement of letting go of harmful thoughts towards yourself and others. 

Trick - When you catch yourself doing this, ask - would I talk to someone I love this way? 

 

Tip # 2

Express truthfulness by aligning your thoughts, words and actions. A lot of the inner turmoil comes from not being true to ourselves for whatever reason - thinking one thing and doing another. Truthfulness is also not hurling our opinions on others, thinking them to be fact.

Trick - Express the thoughts and words that heal rather than would the hearts of others. 

 

Tip # 3

Be happy for other people, it's nothing taken from you. Sure, we want things and we don't need to shun that part of ourselves, we only need to be aware that we don't let that spill over into places where it doesn't belong, like someone else's experience. 

We only envy what we feel we lack, whether it is material or qualities that we admire in others. If we obsess about the things and ways of others that we don't have, it creates territorialism, separateness and competition. Knowingly or unknowingly, we downplay others in order to balance it out. We overthink it in a struggle to make ourselves feel superior, equal, or worthy. 

Trick: Think of someone you know who has a "good life." Can you be genuinely happy for him/her without any sense of what you're missing?

 

Tip # 4

More is not always better. I'm referring to the emotional storehouse of memories like anger, resentment, and projections. We hold on to so many stories that we protect and defend. But, the walls that we build up to keep something in are also the walls that keep something out. Our thoughts automatically go to these all the time, dwelling in them, replaying them and rewriting them.

Trick: What if little is required for a living a true experience of happiness?

 

Tip # 5

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Cut back on stimulation. Oh how we love to indulge physically and emotionally. For me, it's so hard to turn that off and it can be like something's in the way - it's not so easy to move from self-gratification to understanding the needs of the human soul. When we saturate our senses, it's hard to tell what's really important.

Looking back at my meditation practice in Thailand, I was so involved in my own emotional pain and I had a lot of self-pity. When we overindulge in this - we can't extend our hands to another. On the one hand I was so wrapped up in feeling bad for myself and simultaneously I thought I was ready for love and open to serve. Self pity is the mirror of our ego turned in our ourselves. It creates separation when we are absorbed with ourselves. When those things we want aren't happening - and I speak from experience - this causes a lot of overthinking. 

Trick: Do a digital detox and go for a walk in nature to get outside of yourself. Simply look around.

 

Tip # 6

Watch your motives. In the constant stream of thoughts, we can learn a lot just by watching our desires and hidden agendas that cross the mental horizon. A heck of a lot of overthinking is rooted in our motive for power, success, and recognition. As we look at our own motives, they're purified naturally - no more thinking required. 

Trick: Ask yourself - What's my motive or desire behind this? It's just between you and you, so be really honest. 

 

Tip # 7

Be here now, and let that be okay. We're always wanting to be somewhere that we're not.

In my Thai paradise, a motivation to practice was so that I could actually be there and not miss it, and I had a sense that meditation would help. One time, I sat in my room on one of those scanty, kaleidoscopic thai mats on the ground and pretty much nodded off.

For a while, I would get sleepy when I practiced. I was my own guru out there, my only teachers being myself and the land. Fortunately, I did have some books through which Patanjali assured me that throughout all time yogis have struggled with obstacles of laziness, waning effort, doubting the value of practice and overthinking to the point of avoiding the practice.

Trick - We can't avoid obstacles, but we can cut back on overthinking by contributing to our own calmness, serenity and peace of mind no matter the situation. This is the way of the peaceful warrior.

 

Tip # 8

Equanimity in praise or blame, success or failure. Catch yourself thinking about how to get rid of life's difficulties and know that those difficulties are here to help you smooth the ragged edges of the personality and to teach greater compassion for others.

Trick - Find your happy place amidst the conditions of your life right now. A point of peace. A place where public opinion has no sway on you. {If you don't have one, talk to a trusted teacher who has a personal practice of their own - this will help you learn what you might do for a practice that suits you}.

 

Tip # 9

Study the writings of your inspirational role models. Hold the remembrance of those who have shed light on the darkened corners of mind and heart in life's most difficult hours. 

Trick - Contemplate their lives and remember them during times of difficulty and overthinking.

 

Tip #10

Inner voice. In all times of difficulty and overthinking - whatever your beliefs and non beliefs - develop a growing sensitivity to the inner voice that leads to the endeavor to dwell in your higher self. 

Trick - When you're in the thick of it, remember your defenseless inner poise. Hold the higher self within yourself with one hand and do your work in the world with the other. 

 

Tip #11  

Practice. Committing to a daily practice gives our minds a chance to be with whatever is, to process it constructively, and to not get overwhelmed by it. If it seems you just can't practice, I understand. Commit to spending a few minutes each day, thinking about what is keeping your from practice and try to think of solutions.

Trick - Download Aura app, the number one meditation app for stress and anxiety. Subscribe to my channel, Mindful Moments, for anytime 3 minute practice sessions to help clear your mind. 

 

in summary

These problems are neither new nor are they a by product of the modern era. This is the way it is.

One thing at a time.

Then when we finally admit that we're facing an obstacle - we know that the remedy is to practice.

Even when I felt like I was failing in meditation in Thailand - I just practiced - and my persistence and motivation paid off for sure. The yogic texts praises persistence.

Enthusiasm, perseverance, discrimination, unshakable faith, courage - that is what brings success. 

I am such a cheerleader for you on this, because I know how hard it is. If you want to go deeper, we can do this together in my upcoming free online course, just sign up below to stay connected.

 

With Love,

Lauren

Lauren Ziegler1 Comment