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10 Ways to Stop Overthinking and Start Living

https://tinybuddha.com/blog/10-ways-stop-overthinking-start-living/

tinybuddha.com

10 Ways to Stop Overthinking and Start Living
"Thinking has, many a time, made me sad, darling; but doing never did in all my life....My precept is, do something, my sister, do good if you can; but at any rate, do something." ~Elizabeth Gaskell Problems. We all face them. Some are frivolous; some are life changing.

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Over-thinking doesn't lead to insight

You want an understanding of which decision will be best. For this, you need a level of insight into what each decision will lead to. Thinking this through, however, is futile.

Acting, therefore, leads to clarity. Thought doesn’t. Why? Because you never, ever know what something will be like until you experience it.

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Your decision will never be final

You must be aware that however much critical thinking you apply to a decision, you may be wrong.

Being comfortable with being wrong, and knowing that your opinions and knowledge of a situation will change with time, brings a sense of true inner freedom and peace.

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Why over-thinking is harmful

Studies have shown rumination to be strongly linked to depression, anxiety, binge eating, binge drinking, and self-harm.

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Keep active throughout the day

... and tire the body out. 

One of the reasons for over-thinking may be the fact that you have time to do so.

A mind rests well at night knowing its day has been directed toward worthy goals. So consider daily exercise—any physical activity that raises heart rate and improves health.

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Become the ultimate skeptic

If you think about what causes thinking to be so stressful and tiring, it’s often our personal convictions that our thoughts are actually true. Ask yourself: “Can I be 100 percent sure this is true?

By seeing the inherent lack of truth in your beliefs, you will naturally find yourself much more relaxed in all situations, and you won’t over-think things that are based on predictions and assumptions.

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Seek social support, but don’t vent

Research has long shown the powerful impact of social support in the reduction of stress. But even better than that is getting a fresh, new angle on the topic.

Better than confining your decisions to your own biases, perspectives, and mental filters, commit to seeking support from loved ones.

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The skill of forgiveness

Forgiveness can induce the ultimate peace in people.

Forgiveness has also been shown on many occasions to help develop positive self-esteem, improve mood, and dramatically improve health. It’s a predictor of relationship well-being and marital length, and it has even been shown to increase longevity.

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Plan for conscious distraction

When you know the time of day rumination will begin, you can plan to remove that spare time with an activity that engages your full faculties.

But be picky about what you distract yourself with, and make sure it fosters positive emotion and psychological wellbeing.

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Get perspective

Solve another person’s problem first. 

Helping others puts your issues in order by reminding you that we all go through tough times, some much more than you ever will.

That’s not to discount the struggles you’re going through, but helping others will restore balance and harmony in your life.

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"Perfect" decisions

Don’t worry about the perfection of your decisions. Be swift to move forward, even if it is in the wrong direction. Boldness is respectable; carefulness has never changed the world.

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All fears are not created equal

Some are useful, and some are useless fears that you can't or shouldn't do anything about. 

They sap your strength for no reason, and you shou...

Fear can harm you

In scuba diving, for instance, fear can cause you to breathe too fast, swim too hard, move too suddenly, fail to take note of your surroundings, or rise too quickly toward the surface.

Knowing that fear has the potential to harm you can help you set it aside. Fold up that fear, put it in a box, and promise you'll get back to it later at a less dangerous time.

Fear and chemicals

You may think it's your judgment deciding that something is dangerous and you should be afraid, but what actually happens is that fear chemicals are flooding into your brain.

Experiments have shown that fear can be induced artificially by injecting certain chemicals. Do the chemicals know what you should and shouldn't be afraid of? They don't. You do.

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Write a vision

Write down exactly what you want your life to look like. Put it where you can see it every day. However, it is not set in stone. You can change it along the way.

Examine your current life

See how much of your life already matches your vision.  

You want to keep those things and remember that part of your vision is already happening.

Define your core values

Every decision you make about your life should reflect those values.

A clear mind

A clear mind

Running never fails to clear your head. Do you have to make a potentially life-altering decision? Go for a run. Are you feeling mad or sad? Go for a run.

A run can sometimes make you ...

Exercise and improved memory

Neuroscience used to think that our brains got a set amount of neurons. However, studies in animal models show that new neurons are produced in the brain throughout the lifespan.

Vigorous aerobic exercise - about 30 to 40 minutes - is the only activity that triggers the birth of those new neurons. The new neurons are created in the region of the brain associated with learning and memory, partially explaining the link between aerobic exercise and improvement in memory.

The brain’s frontal lobe

Increased activity is seen in the brain’s frontal lobe after adopting a long-term habit of physical activity. After about 30 - 40 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, studies have recorded increased blood flow in this region, which is associated with clear thinking: planning ahead, focus and concentration, goal-setting, time management.

This area is also linked to emotion regulation, allowing us to recover faster from emotions.