We can all get caught up in overthinking sometimes. Going over and over conversations, asking ourselves ‘why?’ Why did I say that? Why did they do that? Why did that happen? etc etc.
We can spend hours when we could be relaxing, sleeping or paying attention to our children or partners, doing something constructive instead of going over and over things that have been said or done, trying to find the answer to those ‘why?’ questions.
You keep going over and over the past hoping that you will find the answer, it will all become clear and make sense. You’ll find out who is to blame – usually yourself – discover the meaning in what has happened and then you will be happier.
Even if you do find the answer to the ‘why?’ it doesn’t usually help much anyway. Going backwards and finding the answer to the ‘why?’ will only bring you back to the present moment and not take you forward. It is only a temporary feel good and won’t last.
Why isn’t the best question. The only really good ‘why?’ question is “Why is this important to me?”
It is sensible to not want to make the same mistake again, and want to make the situation better, and we are naturally programmed to problem solve, but going round and round asking ‘why?’ usually makes the issue grow, will keep you stuck and also feed your anxiety as well.
Often when we are asking ‘why?’ we are looking for who is to blame. We think that blaming someone will stop it happening again, but it doesn’t – it keeps everything stuck. Blaming yourself and beating yourself up, or blaming someone else and judging them, doesn’t usually solve the problem or help you learn from your mistakes, though you think it does.
Although it may not seem like it, what you are really trying to do is make yourself feel better…………
………..find out that you didn’t do anything wrong, that they were mistaken, or be able to make sense of something that has happened – a bereavement, the end of a relationship, or simply a chance remark that was said to you…
………you want to feel less anxious, be able to think clearly, have more control over your life and feel better about yourself. Instead you end up feeling worse, stuck and even become hopeless and powerless…you can’t see the wood for the trees!
Use these 5 simple strategies to get you out of that ‘why?’ mind loop and stop overthinking:
- Ask yourself a question that begins with ‘what’ or ‘how’.
These questions cut through all thinking about what has happened and take you into action and moving forwards.
So, “What can I do now?” “What is the next best step I can take?” “What have I learned?” “How can I sort this out?”
Can you see how much more constructive and forward looking these questions are?
- Distract yourself.
Do some mindful activity – move and stretch your body, go outside, make a cup of tea, or do some exercise.
- Make yourself stop thinking about whatever it is that has happened and think about something else.
As the thoughts come into your head ignore them and shift your attention to something else that is either in the present (2) or even plan something in future.
- Manage your anxiety.
Use the Calm For Change Instant Calmers. Once you are calm you will be able to think more clearly and get out of that loop in your mind.
- Accept that you may not be able to answer the question.
‘Why?’ questions often don’t actually have an answer – or they take you into those big questions that religion, science and philosophy struggle to answer. You may need to accept not knowing ‘why?’.
Use these ideas and you will be able to let go of things, stay out of blaming and shaming and move on much quicker.
If you would like more guidance to get out of overthinking and really take control of your life by moving forwards without all your old ‘baggage holding you back, book your free, no obligation, 60 minute Clarity Session with Linda sooner rather than later. You will be amazed at how quickly you can start to feel calm and confident.