It is normal to think things through when you are faced with any type of situation. Thinking about the possible outcomes, the advantages, disadvantages, the risks and rewards are all good things.
But, there is a fine line between thinking things through and overthinking too much. The most basic definition of overthinking is focusing on one particular thing for too long, or letting it take over every aspect of your thought process.
Overthinking can cause you to make different decisions than you might otherwise have made. Essentially, you can end up talking yourself out of something good by “making up” worst case scenarios in your head. As a result, it can be hard to turn off your thoughts. This can lead to everything from sleepless nights to excessive worry and stress. In some cases, overthinking can even cause anxiety or depression.
So, what can you do to stop overthinking, and to let go of the worries that might be plaguing your thoughts?
1. Acknowledge Your Worries
It might sound easy to acknowledge the fact that you are an overthinker. But, what is not easy is admitting that all of that overthinking has also caused you to become a worrier. You cannot stop overthinking unless you acknowledge the fact that you do it, in the first place.
It can be a hard habit to get into, but the next time you catch yourself overthinking something, hit “pause” Stop, and acknowledge the fact that you are thinking too much about a particular subject. Even that simple pause can help you to come back to reality and realize that the situation does not call for so much stress and worrying.
2. Don’t Believe the Lies
One of the big problems with overthinking is that it allows your mind to wander. You might start to make up things that simply are not true or things that are unrealistic.
Simply put, your mind can lie to you. It is your choice on whether you choose to believe those lies or not. You don’t have to accept everything your brain chooses to think. Differentiate between falsehoods and the truth, and it will be easier to stop overthinking when you let go of those negative lies.
3. Distract Yourself
Did you know you can distract yourself from your own thoughts? When you start to overthink, it is like a wheel that spins out of control. As it gains momentum, it can become even harder to slow it down.
So, once you start to recognize your overthinking, you can take active steps to distract yourself from it and focus on healthier practices. These can include listening to your favorite music, writing in a journal, calling a friend, or simply doing 50 jumping jacks in a row. Anything you can do to immediately pause the narrative in your head can help those thoughts to slow down and fall back under your control again.
4. Recognize What You Can and Can’t Control
This is a step that everyone should take, because most people are at least somewhat prone to ‘sweating the small stuff’. But, the sooner you let go of worrying about things out of your control, the easier it will be to stop overthinking.
Chances are, if something is in your control, you won’t spend so much time thinking and worrying about it. If it is not a life-altering decision and there is really nothing you can do to change it, then don’t allow your wheels to keep spinning.
5. Don’t Expect Perfection
People who tend to overthink also tend to have high expectations of themselves. Unfortunately, that can cause a vicious cycle, because no one is perfect. When you expect perfection, you will start thinking about what you need to do perfectly, and ways you might mess things up. As a result, you are more likely to become anxious and not live up to your own high expectations.
While it is never a bad idea to try to do your best, understand that you are only human and you have flaws. Give yourself room to make mistakes, and you will be more likely to learn and grow, rather than get stuck in a negative pattern of overthinking.
6. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
Almost everyone thinks they know what meditation is, but that is not always a good thing. Unfortunately, it has been stereotyped and mislabeled for years, so many people stay away from it. The reality is, you don’t need to go through any specific ritual in order to practice meditation or mindfulness. You don’t need to perform chants or sit a certain way.
Something as simple as giving yourself five minutes of silence each morning can make a big difference. Sit with your thoughts and focus just on your breathing. Practice mindfulness by letting your thoughts freely come and go. Don’t hang onto them and allow yourself to become anxious over them.
When you let your thoughts pass by like clouds, you are not giving yourself the chance to overthink. As a result, you won’t have to worry as much. It’s a form of self-care that only takes a few minutes each day. Or, you can choose to be mindful at any given moment when you start to notice that you are overthinking things. Let go of those thoughts and focus on the present, instead.
If you do tend to overthink things on a regular basis, breaking this habit is not always easy. But, these steps can help you to let those thoughts go, so you can worry less, accomplish more, and understand the value of letting thoughts pass freely.
50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions
What are existential questions?
Existential questions are usually deep, philosophical questions that question just that — our very existence.
They can be great conversation starters and they can also sometimes make for a passionate discussion. The following existential questions can be a great way to get to know someone better and perhaps even learn new things about yourself.
The word existential comes from the Latin word “existentia”, which means to exist. Existential questions challenge our way of thinking, our beliefs and our perspective.
Is there a right or wrong answer to an existential question? Perhaps not, as each question usually just asks more questions.
I have put together the following list of thought provoking existential questions so that you can perhaps start an internal conversation with yourself or start an interesting debate with your friends.
50 Thought Provoking Existential Questions
1. Are there limits to human creativity?
2. What makes something beautiful?
3. How do we know if we’re doing the right thing?
4. Who am I?
5. What is one thing that every human should get to experience in their life?
6. Do you believe in a power greater than humanity?
7. Are we given enough time?
8. Is privacy a right?
9. What is the best way for a person to attain happiness?
10. Are we alone in the universe?
11. What is love?
12. How would you define genius?
13. What do you think your purpose is?
14. If babies are considered innocent, when do people cease to be innocent?
15. Is it better to expand your knowledge or to deepen it?
16. Why do you think we are here?
17. How important is ‘play’ in living a healthy and fulfilling life?
18. Do you have a right to be happy, or should you earn it?
19. What happens when I die?
20. What worries me the most about the future?
21. What is a person? Is it the mind, or the body?
22. Would the world be a better place if all leaders were women? If you answered yes, why?
23. What activity have I done that has made me feel the most alive?
24. Does truth exist without evidence?
25. If I had to instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would I give?
26. Does a person have a soul? If so, where is it?
27. Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?
28. Is it more important to love or be loved?
29. What would make the world a better place?
30. How should we measure our lives? In years? In moments? In accomplishments? Something else?
31. What is the difference between living and simply existing?
32. If you died today, would you be satisfied with the life you’ve lived?
33. What advice would you tell your younger self?
34. Which is worse: failing or never trying?
35. Is a minimum wage a good idea? What about a maximum wage?
36. What is the most important goal every person should have?
37. Can anything ever really be considered ‘true’ or is everything subjective?
38. Is the world a better place with humans in it?
39. If extra-terrestrial life was discovered, how do you think humanity would react?
40. Is happiness just a mixture of chemicals circulating through our bodies?
41. Where do you think we go when we die?
42. Have I done anything lately worth remembering?
43. Can you ever have full control over your own life?
44. How do you know that you are not dreaming right now?
45. Is one lifetime enough?
46. What matters most in my life?
47. Is a person ever truly evil? If so, are they born that way?
48. What is the meaning of life?
49. Is humanity going in the right or wrong direction?
50. What does it mean to live a good life?
I hope that you enjoyed these thought provoking existential questions. I hope that they perhaps made you think about your beliefs, yourself and the world around you (the bigger picture). If you discuss these questions with a friend, remember, there is probably no right and wrong answers, usually just a matter of opinion.
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