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5 Ways to stop overthinking and get happy

4 ways to stop overthinking (and get happy)

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If your mind whirs faster than a Ferrari engine, try these simple tweaks. Writes Rosie Brogan.

“Overthinking leaves you drained,” says life enrichment specialist Peggy Nolan in the Huffington Post. “It robs you of your peace and poise of mind. It's mental exhaustion on the level of running a marathon every day. It's a mind-numbing habit that keeps you stuck from leading a happy, healthy life.”

Having more mental energy is like an express ticket to feeling happier, so slowing your mind is a worthy investment. Here’s how to get started. 

1. Walk it off
“Lace up your walking shoes and grab your iPod with your favourite uplifting playlists. Get out of your head, move your body. Swing your arms. Do a few lunges. Walk it out,” says Nolan. “Focus on each step. Pay attention to the way your foot makes contact with the pavement. Tune in to the movement of your body and not the replay of last week's argument.”

2. Choose wholesome foods
“Healthy eating — such as focusing on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish — may be linked to reduced anxiety,” according to the Mayo Clinic in the USA. “Avoid fried, fatty, sugary and processed foods.”

3. Take your mind to a happy place
“Train your mind through visualisation techniques,” Nolan advises. “Visualise a happy memory…  For me, my happy place is sitting in my beach chair with my toes wrapped in warm sand, a good book, and the sound of the Atlantic Ocean as waves greet the shore.”

4. Schedule ‘worry time’
Sometimes a structured approach to overthinking is called for – especially if worry is keeping you up at night. The Better Health Channel notes: “Some people with anxiety disorders are ‘worriers’, who fret about a problem rather than actively solve it.”
Rather than running a problem through your mind incessantly, break down a problem into its various components – and then decide on a course of action.

Sleep specialist Dr Stephanie Silberman author of The Insomnia Workbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Getting the Sleep You Need recommends writing down your worries and what you’re going to do about them, earlier in the day to avoid thinking about them when you’re trying to get to sleep.

References available on request

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Hi Miss, someone may have suggested this to you before, but in addition to professional care & advice: have you considered CBT or meditation? Great to have routines in place that give your mind a break &, as you say, allow you to switch off regularly. Warmest, Rosie.
I have an anxiety disorder with OCD (mainly compulsive thinking) so this over-thinking leaves me feeling very drained on a regular basis. It would be great to learn how to switch off ..
Anonymous 10 Mar 2014
Many thanks, Kazi! Lovely to received your feedback.
methods are explained excellent and in a very easy way. thank you and will apply these in personal life for sure.
Anonymous 24 Feb 2014
Dear Ann,
Thank you for contacting Blackmores and I am sorry to hear about your health conditions.
Both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fybromyalgia can cause impaired short-term memory or concentration and a foggy mind in addition to many other overlapping symptoms. My first recommendation would be to see either a qualified naturopath or a holistic/integrative doctor who will be able to address the underlying causes of your health concerns. You may also want to try some natural and gentle techniques that may be helpful with quieting the mind such as meditation, yoga, breath work, and visualization. Other simple daily routines may be going for a gentle walk in a natural setting, having a chat with a good friend, or taking a bath with some essential oils and relaxing music in the background. I hope this information will be helpful Ann. If you have any other questions, please call Blackmores Naturopathic Advisory service at 1800 803 760. Kind regards, Rosaria Nithart (Blackmores Naturopath)

I suffer with Chronic fatigue & Fibromyalgia & Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. When I am really fatigued I cant think straight. It is then I find I also overthink? Can you help me sort this please?
Thanks Ann.
Anonymous 04 Feb 2014