The power to imagine was a great advance in evolution, enabling human beings not only to live in the present moment, but also to remember past situations and envision future ones.
But it’s not quite good. Sometimes remembering what we’ve been through before or thinking about what might happen is a fan of the spirit, which at first seemed so liberating, the real prison of our species.
Our highest capacity becomes a trap, causing us to enter a loop of ruminating, obsessive thoughts that can be crippling. Faced with such situations is when we think about how to stop thinking so much, And this article is intended to be the answer to such a complex question.
When you think too much it turns into something harmful
As we have already commented, sometimes the thought becomes something that cannot be controlled, especially when talking about worries.
Obsessive thoughts begin to take up all the space of the mind, making it difficult for the person to stop focusing their attention on negative facts, whether past or future. It is a source of discomfort, which manifests itself in the form of anxiety, irritability and sadness..
When we talk about thinking too much about something bad, we cannot ignore the concept of rumination, which refers to the moment when the attention is completely focused on a fact, real or imagined, which produces a certain feeling of discomfort. . In this case, the thought does not flow, it is stuck in the same worry, which becomes an obsession.
The person goes to great lengths to prevent these intrusive thoughts from appearing, but it seems that the more the effort pushes them, the more they appear. Thus, one enters a loop in which the one who lives it fails to end it, being completely trapped in a whirlwind of senseless thoughts.
How to stop thinking so much? a few tips
It is clear that the human mind does not have a switch that can turn it off like we would with a TV, nor is it possible to decide which thought to watch like who decides to watch his favorite channel. on the device.
However, worrying thoughts can lose strength, especially if they are left unattended. Here are some useful strategies for this:
1. Don’t try to stop thinking
While it might sound contradictory, one of the best things you can do to try and stop thinking so much is simply not obsessing over stopping thinking about intrusive thinking.
That is, if a recurring thought suddenly arises, trying to stop thinking about it consciously, all it will do is make it come alive.
The thought will eventually go away at one point or another, so it’s best to try and ignore it.
2. Don’t give them guinea pigs
We are quiet in our living room and suddenly we think about the uncertainty created by not knowing how the current political situation will end. We got up from the chair and started to think of possible scenarios, each more catastrophic than the last, to the point of thinking that it could lead to a civil war.
This is an example of what not to do. If the thought comes, it should not be given more strength than the one who throws firewood on the fire.
The problem with ruminating is that it’s something that can get addicting.. If you haven’t been able to find a calm response to the anxiety-causing thought, you might be better off forgetting that such a solution exists.
3. Live in the moment
It may sound like cheap and very utopian advice, but it is plausible and effective. If we focus on what we are doing right now, as simple as it may be, it can be a really good way to eliminate obsessive thinking.
Whether it’s washing the dishes, reading a book, or just standing in the butcher’s line, if you’re just waiting to see what’s done and where you’re stripped of any intrusive thoughts.
It is not possible to be fully aware of two activities at the same time, for this reason, living in the moment is a very good option to alleviate what has happened or what can happen.
4. Do not react emotionally
It can be a little more complicated, but ideally, when faced with the emergence of an obsessive thought, stay calm.
If you react, angry or sad, it enters a loop in which it is wanted for more reasons to worry and, in addition to that, more gravity is given to the thought.
The point is to stop paying attention, and that also means not giving them the pleasure of causing us emotional impressions.
5. Listen to relaxing music
It is a simple but comfortable and inexpensive option, especially if the songs have no lyrics or are sung in a language that is not understood.
While this is a somewhat far-fetched situation, it is possible that while listening to a song sung in the native language, if something is mentioned that is related to the worry, the person goes into a constant loop in that. intrusive thinking.
Relaxing music, especially of the New Age genre, induces an atmosphere of relaxation and distraction thanks to its large number of instruments that imitate the sounds of nature.
6. Change habits
It is quite possible that the thoughts that concern us are related to an action that we perform every day, although it may seem that their occurrence is completely random and for no apparent reason.
Working on the problem itself is a pretty tricky thing to do, but it’s not so much about changing a person’s habits. This is why it can be very beneficial make some small changes from day to dayLike hanging out in new places, reconnecting with old friendships, in essence submitting to new stimuli.
If the change is drastically made, you have to be careful, because it is not easy to introduce several new habits at the same time.
If realized, it can be a great source of liberation, as the new tends to take up more space in the mind than the old, in which there are obsessive thoughts, which brings attention to on new experiences.
7. Suggest a new step
Closely related to the previous point, it can be considered to achieve a new goal, which will make it pay more attention to that rather than invasive thoughts.
However, this strategy can be a double-edged sword. If you injure yourself, you run the risk of it being one of the many projects the person has started and failed to complete, in turn turning into invasive thought.
that’s why the new goal must be realistic, even if it is a challenge. An example of this type of project would be collecting insects, making a model, obtaining the English B2 …
If the activity is really enjoyable, the person will pay attention not only to you while the activity is going on, but also when it is not, especially to want to devote yourself to it.
This type of meditation technique has been one of the most studied in the field of psychology. and that is why it is known to have many benefits when it comes to reducing anxiety and at the same time obsessive thoughts.
During the sessions in which this activity is carried out, you can concentrate on the physical sensations, the control of the breathing, the voice which is in charge of the activity … You enter a state of deep tranquility, in this which seems to be that negative thoughts are dissipating more and more.
9. Physical exercise
Everyone knows that exercise is a good ally for both physical and mental health, and it is important to learn how to stop thinking too much about bad thoughts.
Not only does it have the great advantage of producing endorphins but also, especially in supervised activities, it allows you to focus on aspects such as posture and proper execution of the movement.
In addition, once the exercise session is over, muscles and nerve connections are restored and initiate changes that are beneficial for the proper functioning of the body.
Linked to the previous point, also walk it is an effective ally against the intrusion of unwanted thoughts.
When walking, do not move your legs alone. The person pays attention to the places they frequent, although the ideal is that if you want to stop thinking about the obsessions, visit a bucolic place like a park or visit the mountains, where there are no distractions or the banal noise of the city.
Fresh field air has a relaxing effect on the body, as well as, by nature, on humans combines the green color of grass with calm and well-being.
Being a different environment that we are used to, especially if you are a city dweller, seeing wild flowers and plants also allows us to distract from the trap that can become our mind.
- Abramowitz JS, Schwartz SA, Moore KM, Luenzmann KR (2003). Obsessive-compulsive symptoms during pregnancy and the puerperium: a review of the literature. J Anxiety disorder 17 (4): 461-78
- Julien D., O’Connor KP, Aardema F. (2007). “Intrusive Thoughts, Obsessions, and Assessments in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Critical Review.” Clin Psychol Rev 27 (3): 366-83.