How you can Control Overthinking

How you can Control Overthinking

So, I have been sat in front of my laptop for a good hour now mulling over this new blog on How to control your overthinking!   As a rule, I am not an overthinker, however is the subject causing to me to go over and over what I want to write and overthink it?!

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of Overthinking is

“The action of thinking about something too much in a way that is not useful”

Why do we Overthink?

There are 2 main areas of overthinking:

  1. Decision making. Where you are so careful you will make a wrong decision, you make no decision at all.   Making no decision can leave you with no control.  Even making the wrong decision would be better than making no decision at all.
  2. Ruminating and negative thinking. When you keep going over and over things that have happened and worry and stress about what might happen.  This can lead to fear and anxiety.  It can lead to sleepless nights, paranoia and a generally negative outlook in life.

 

It is common to have ruminating thoughts after a night out.  When you have had a few too many to drink.  You wake up in the morning and start worrying about what you said, what you did and how you acted the night before.  Lying under the duvet going over and over what you may have said and how others may have taken it and what they think of you.  I call this “The Fear” and I am highly experienced in this!

 

Who Overthinks?

Probably everyone does at some point of their lives.  Even the most confident, decisive person has had a moment or two of overthinking.  A time when their thinking was not useful to them.

 

How does Overthinking affect us?

Overthinking can be damaging.  It can stop us from making decisions, which can cause a total lack of control in our lives.  Making no decision because you are overthinking the situation can cause you to miss out on opportunities, it can sometimes cause you to end up in a situation you are far from happy with.  You then get frustrated, angry about the situation and that can cause you to feel unhappy, upset and like everything in your life is going wrong.

 

Overthinking negative or ruminating thoughts can cause worry, anxiety and paranoia.  It can bring on both physical and mental illnesses.

 

How can we control and stop Overthinking?

 

  1. Focus on Solutions

Give yourself some solutions to what you are overthinking.  Write them down.  Focusing on the solutions rather than the issue or problem will give you ways forward and take the weight out of the thought itself.

 

  1. Don’t think about what could go wrong. Think about what can go right.

If you spend all your time thinking about everything that could go wrong, you begin to feel more fearful.  Visualise everything that can go right.   This will give you a brighter and more positive outlook when thinking about the situation.

 

 

  1. Put things in perspective

Ask yourself, it this situation really going to matter in 5 years’ time?  Will it matter in 1 months’ time?  By giving yourself a timeframe, this can often put a stop to the overthinking and enable you to make a decision rather than making a mountain out of a molehill.

 

  1. Relax and distract

Going over the same thing repeatedly can be exhausting and incredibly stressful.  Take some time out, do something else.  Go for a walk, phone a mate, exercise, read a book, put some loud music on.  Let you brain have a rest.  Often distraction is the best way to put a stop to the process of overthinking.

 

  1. Set a timer.

Set a timer for a certain amount of time and in that time allow yourself to write down all the things that are worrying you.  Write down absolutely everything in your head that you are thinking about.  When the timer is up, Stop.  Getting the thoughts out of your head can be very therapeutic and give you space in your head to focus on something else and move on.

 

  1. Listen to your GUT

Be intuitive.  Even an Overthinker can know what their initial feeling is on a situation.  Take notice of that GUT feeling.  It is often never wrong.  And the more you listen to your get the more you become intuitive to what is good for YOU!  Whatever decision you make will be the right one for you.

 

  1. Ask for help.

Sometimes talking to someone about how you feel can help you make sense of your emotions and improve your mindset.

 

Get in touch if you feel you want to talk further about your overthinking.  Sometimes someone asking the right questions can really help.

 

info@lisatighetherapyandcoaching.co.uk

Emotional Eating – Are you Eating your Emotions?

Emotional Eating

Emotional Eating – Are You Eating Your Emotions?

Emotional Eating – have you ever thought the link between your emotions and your ability to achieve healthy eating habits?

I hear all too often: “Right, I’m going on a diet” or “I’m not eating chocolate” and then all you do is end up thinking about chocolate and food.  Sound familiar?!!  You could end up thinking you have a problem with food when it could be you absolutely don’t and you just need to acknowledge an emotion or a feeling instead of deciding to eat more/not eat at all.

Emotional Eating in the Media

I watched the Freddie Flintoff documentary where he opens up about his battle with Bulimia over the years.  I was really moved by his story.  I felt he was very honest and courageous talking about his issue so openly.  I was also very aware at how worried, confused and shocked he looked in parts of the programme when professionals questioned him on his issue and also while he talked to others about their Bulimia.

Listening to him talk about where his problem started, it was clear that he was hanging on to a negative comment he heard in the past.  He was clearly still upset and affected by this comment and I couldn’t help but think if allowed himself to focus on what needs to happen for him to move on or learn from this negative comment, he would be able to have more control over his Bulimia and maybe food would not be the enemy anymore.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000n1xx/freddie-flintoff-living-with-bulimia

It’s amazing how just 1 comment can stick with you for years and have such an effect on your life.

I have recently been working with a female client who has been anorexic in the past.  Although her anorexia was many years ago, she still had control issues around food. She came to me a few months ago as she had stopped eating and was only having tea, coffee and mints to get her through the day.    She wanted to change this and eat again so she could be fit, healthy and feel and look good.

It was an emotional start to her journey, but we didn’t really focus on the food itself until a few sessions in.  We focussed firstly on her emotions, values, her past experiences and what she was telling herself.

We identified that one comment from a negative experience in her past had led her to feel a certain way towards herself.  This comment stayed with her for years.

Food became something she controlled to the extreme, not because she had a problem with food but because of this one negative comment.

By not focussing on the food we worked on the emotions linked to the negative comment. Over the months we were able to reduce the negative emotional attachment to that comment and now this lady is eating food regularly, she feels healthy and looks great.

She told me last week “The food issue is not an issue anymore”

Listening to her say this was absolutely fantastic! Such a positive result.  I was so grateful I was able to help and be a part of her journey.

Over eating and under eating often has nothing to do with the food itself but about how you feel and what you get emotionally from over or under eating.

Ask yourself:

  1. What emotion or feeling comes to mind when you think about over eating/under eating?
  2. What would be useful for you to acknowledge, so if it was acknowledged the issue of over eating/under eating may disappear?
  3. What emotion or feeling is missing when you over eat/under eat?

Whatever you want to do,  lose weight, gain weight, tone up, build muscle, firm up, get rid of a flabby stomach, eat healthy, drink water, eat less, eat more,  focus your thoughts to your emotions instead of focussing on the food and you may find you can achieve your goals without having food as the enemy.

If you want to know more about emotional eating and how I can help you drop me an email

info@lisatighetherpyandcoaching.co.uk

I’d love to help

3 ways to help improve your sleep

Improve your sleep

How to Improve Your Sleep

I’m having trouble sleeping

I take hours to fall asleep

I keep waking up through the night

I wake up in the very early hours of the morning and then can’t get back to sleep

I hardly sleep at all

These are a few of the statements I hear all too often.  So, if going to bed early is not enough what else can we do to improve our sleep so we feel better and function as best we can throughout the day?

  1. What are you telling yourself?

Before you get into bed at night and then while you are waiting to drift off to sleep have you thought about what you are telling yourself? Have a think of what you are saying in your head (or out loud)

Is it positive?  Is it useful?  And ultimately, is what you are saying going to help you to sleep?!!

Often, we don’t take much notice of our self-talk, but it is so important.  Negative words lead to negative results.

If you are lying there saying “I can’t sleep!” or “Oh god I’ve been lying here for ages and I still haven’t got to sleep” or “I’m never going to get to sleep tonight!”  then you are setting yourself up for a sleepless night.

Your unconscious mind does not process negative words very well.  It needs clear instructions from you to know what to do.  By changing your self-talk to something more positive with a clear instruction or suggestion in there would really help.  For example, “I’m going to fall asleep” or “I’m feeling tired now” or “I will start to drift off to sleep in half an hour” Try this and notice the difference.

  1. Get what’s in your head, out

So, you get into bed with a load of “stuff” from throughout the day whizzing through your head.  You lie down and start to get comfy and cosy and all you can think about is stuff that happened earlier in the day, conversations, arguments, situations, and that’s without all the stuff that you are already thinking about for tomorrow!!  How on earth is your brain supposed to relax and then sleep with everything whizzing round?!  You need to move all the stuff out of your head to enable you to relax.

Have a little notebook next to your bed.  Write down anything that you that you need to do/focus on/think about or act on tomorrow and any little reminders of stuff from the day.

Once you’ve made that list, start to write down anything that comes into your head.  It doesn’t have to be full sentences, if all that comes are words then that is fine.  When you stop writing, just do a check and ask yourself “Anything else?”  and if anything comes then just write that down too.  Keep asking “Anything else” until there is nothing else to write.

Then put the pen and book down and notice how your head is much clearer and you are able to relax and drift off to sleep.

  1. What is in need of your attention?

Sometimes if you are waking up in the middle of the night, or at the same time every night this is your unconscious mind’s way of asking you to notice or pay attention to something.  Maybe you have been neglecting an area of your life which needs your attention, maybe you are ready to acknowledge something that has been worrying you.  Maybe it’s something more practical like a food you are eating is affecting your sleep.

So how we find out if this is relevant? We ask ourselves.

Below are some examples of questions you can ask yourself:

“IS there anything that my unconscious mind wants me to pay attention to, that by paying attention to it would help improve my sleep?”

Or

“For what purpose am I waking up at (for example) 4am in the morning?”

Or

“What needs to happen for me to have a great night’s sleep?”

Make note of whatever comes into your head.  Acknowledge it, think about it, sleep on it……

Things are always much clearer after a good night’s sleep.

Drop me a message if you want to know more about your unconscious mind and how it can help you sleep.

info@lisatighetherapyandcoaching.co.uk

Get a good night's sleep

Get a good night’s sleep