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Some thoughts on overthinking

Welcome everyone. Very excited to have a guest writer returning to our blog. She will introduce herself again in her post, so I'll save that honor for her. If you are the kind of person who finds yourself overthinking at times (that describes me, I'm afraid), then you will likely appreciate our post today. Without further ado, I will turn this over to the words of Lauryn Pyatt.

Skills To Use When Overthinking

By: Lauryn Pyatt

It’s not fun whenever your brain is swarming with thoughts, especially the ‘what if’ questions. I’ve had my fair share of overthinking in my 19 years of living. My name is Lauryn Pyatt, and I’ve been through 2 years of dialectical behavior therapy with LifeWork. By sharing my experiences and what I’ve learned from LifeWork, I hope my journey helps those in need and inspires others.

When overanalyzing a situation, it is critical to use skills. It is completely normal to overthink, but there are proactive measures to take to prevent it or decrease it.

1) Be Mindful

Be aware that you are overthinking. Observe the thoughts that are surfacing in your mind. Using mindfulness helps put things into perspective- is what you’re thinking an accurate representation of reality?

2) Ride the Wave

Note that emotions are only temporary. You may feel different emotions in waves. Just like ocean waves, they come and go. Feel your emotions, but don’t act on them. Allow yourself to process what you’re feeling, and then let it go.

3) Distract

Redirecting your focus to something else is essential in preventing wallowing in your thoughts. For instance, if you are thinking about how someone isn’t texting you back, force your brain to bring your attention elsewhere. Observe your surroundings. Focus on something close by. Analyze it.

Using the 5 senses can tie in with this skill. What can you touch, taste, smell, see, and hear? A temporary distraction gives the brain a break. It allows your mind to refocus and temporarily stop the overthinking.

4) Fact Checking

Check the facts. Don’t attach meaning or emotion to a situation. Observe the situation for what it is, not what you THINK it is.

Let’s take a look at an example used earlier. You text someone and you do not receive anything back. If a person didn’t text you back, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. Perhaps the person forgot to respond or was busy. Don’t put meaning into someone else’s actions or lack of actions. You may think someone didn’t text you back because you were annoying them, but that’s just a self created problem that most likely doesn’t even exist to the other person. It is impossible to read minds. Stop thinking irrationally and replace thoughts with productive ones.

DBT skills will always have your back! Relying on these skills will get you through anything in life, big or small. Help is always accessible at LifeWork.

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