Important steps to inner harmony
Can it be helped? Some of us are just wired to maintain an anxious state. Maybe you were late to work, or got a traffic ticket, or you sense that a coworker doesn’t like you – there’s always something to worry about. You’ve been told “worrying doesn’t solve anything” and you recognize it to be true. But that doesn’t keep your thoughts from racing along with a hastened heartbeat. From the insignificant to the profound, it’s hard to get your brain to let you relax, but that’s exactly what it needs to do.
If only it was as easy as the advice of, “be positive!” It seems simple enough, but when your mind is constantly preoccupied with worry, it’s just not possible. Whether they’re thoughts of profound mistakes that have been made, everyday stress or anything that we believe could cause trouble for us, we make an unintentional connection between them all – the bad moments of our lives are associated with whatever we are currently obsessing over. We ultimately believe that a minor moment of negativity will most certainly lead to more. And that’s just not true.
Falling into an obsessive pattern of constant negative thought transforms us into ruminators. Although women are more susceptible to over-thinking, men are just as likely to dwell on real and presumed tragedies of the past. Unfortunately the more we buy into these exaggerations the more we encourage the defeated behavior to assume more dominance in the future.
Perhaps the first necessary step to relief is to admit that there is a problem. Explore it, how much does it affect your life daily? It’s weird, isn’t it? It’s almost like we want to consume ourselves with unhappy and anxious thinking. Instead we need to catch ourselves before we continue down that road. We shouldn’t want to accept it! Rather, we need to seek to admit that obsessing on a lifetime of negativity is not okay. Anyone who suffers from this mindset needs to recognize that daily troubles are perfectly normal and no single person has special exclusivity to them.
It is a natural reaction, however, for our brains to encourage a bit of worry from us that leads to the process of overthinking. It’s not necessarily unnatural to be suddenly overwhelmed with gloom when recalling those specific instances when you were more humiliated than ever. It’s a human trait, we’re human, but there are some things we want to learn to control. We can’t allow trauma long past to continue to affect us.
Commonly, it’s our tendency to want to talk about our problems with friends. It’s seems like the perfect way to get it all out, share our feelings and hopefully calm our mind. But what if the fact was that chatting about your restless and negative thoughts would only make matters worse? Admit it, there have been times confiding in others has only caused you greater conflict. Old friends may help you rehash and dissect all the things that you feel have gone wrong, but that may be exactly the behavior you need to get away from. The more you continue to dwell on the negative, the longer you will remain an over-anxious person.
So, the clever thing to do is use your friends as a distraction rather than as a morbid reminder. Their feedback to your troubles won’t necessarily help, at all. The great thing is, you can rely on your friends to help keep you active, engaged with other more fun experiences that fuel your happy and content side. That’s what you want to focus on!
Sure, you’re not likely to keep your mind from playing its old tricks right away, you need to wean off focusing on the negative. But you can change what you fixate on. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch on and off unfortunately, but you can look to rephrase your internal dialogue. Why wouldn’t you want to help yourself into a better state of mind? Instead of recalling the negatives of your past, take a look at the outcomes. Were they really all that bad? Did every negative thing you dwell about really have a profound negative effect worthy of lasting a lifetime? Outside of serious tragedies or traumas (which everyone experiences, by the way) your day to day drama may not be something you need to worry about all the time after all.
Maybe you just need to ‘get out of your head’ for a bit. Change your focus and pick an activity to engage any time you feel yourself slipping into the ‘woe is me’ mode. This doesn’t mean that you should recline in front of the TV with a large pizza and a bag of chips. You want a positive mindset, the kind that comes with exercise or being out with friends. Being a couch potato practically guarantees the continuation of the kind of ruminating you need to cease.
Get the blood flowing with activities that require, well, physical activity. Try a brisk walk or even a swim, lunch with a friend (as long as you avoid negative co-dependency). Afterwards, sit down and relax with an engaging word puzzle, or perhaps a cool new graphic novel. Embrace whatever is completely unrelated to the worrisome parts of your life – they don’t have to consume you 24/7!
Anxiety, worry… normal things they are, as is our tendency to overthink them. You can break that habit if you choose to, by allowing yourself to experience and focus on the good stuff. Negativity will always be lurking somewhere, but it doesn’t always need to be in the forefront!