Believe me, I know all too well how it feels to go into monkey-mind mode. You know, those times when you literally cannot get out of your head and it feels like you are spiraling deep into a rabbit hole.
How do we stop overthinking? Here are my top 6 go-to strategies for overthinking, that I use to loosen the grip my thoughts have and help get me back into the present moment.
1. The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique.
Being able to connect yourself back into your body is important to do when you notice yourself getting stuck in your head. When you are thinking, you are no longer in the present moment. A great mindfulness technique to help you reconnect to the present moment is by using all of the 5 senses of your human body. You can do this simply by:
Naming 5 things you can see.
Naming 4 things you can feel.
Naming 3 things you can hear.
Naming 2 things you can smell.
Naming 1 thing you can taste.
2. Deep Breathing.
Deep breathing is another helpful tool to combat anxious thinking. As soon as you become aware that you are stuck in your head, take 3 conscious deep belly breaths. I love this one especially because you literally cannot think and take a deep inhale at the same time! It’s also a simple strategy for overthinking that you can do anywhere.
3. Worry time
How do we better manage worrying? A helpful technique for worrying is to give yourself a boundary for worrying and only allow yourself to worry during a specific time. Set a timer for 5 minutes and use this time to think, worry, and analyze. Then set another timer for 10 minutes and use this time to write down on a piece of paper all the things that stress you out and give you anxiety. When the timer goes off, rip up the piece of paper and do something pleasurable for yourself. This is a very helpful strategy for managing overanalyzing.
4. Write a Gratitude List.
Sometimes when I get into an over-thinking mode I spend so much of my time and energy focusing on the negative. I find taking the time to reflect on the things that are actually going ‘right’ in my life as a great way to re-shift my focus in the moment to more loving thoughts.
5. The STOP Technique.
This one is one of my personal favorite strategies to help me combat my negative thoughts, especially the ones that lead me spiralling. What I do when I notice I’m totally in my head (and after I make sure no one is around) is literally yell as loud as I can, “STOP!” This is a great way to release some tension and reset yourself. A modification to this one (especially if you are around others) is to imagine a humongous STOP sign and use that imagery to anchor yourself back into the present moment.
6. Mirror Talk.
When you notice you are battling with yourself in your head, turn to a mirror and have a conversation with yourself, preferably out loud. I do this when I am especially critical or angry with myself. There is something about looking into the mirror directly into my eyes and telling myself exactly how I feel, that allows me to access the loving-kind part of me. I almost always end my mirror talks with a heart-to-heart conversation with myself, leaving me feeling really nourished.
Try experimenting with these techniques and see which ones resonate with you the most. We’d love to learn what you notice. We’d also love to hear some of the strategies that you use!
We’re often told to prioritize our own self-care, but what the heck does that even mean? If you’ve ever wondered what self-care means beyond a day at the spa, believe me, you are not alone.
Check out this quick list to help you make sense of what self-care actually is.
1. Self-care is making yourself a priority
There is a reason why they say if you’re on an airplane and something happens, you first have to make sure you put on your own oxygen mask before you can help someone; if you don’t take care of your needs first, you cannot effectively help others. Making yourself Numero Uno and honouring your own needs first and foremost is one of the most important aspects of a healthy self-care practice!
2. Self-care means setting boundaries
Being able to set limits around your commitments and other people is important. Sometimes this might mean saying “no” and that is perfectly ok.
3. Self-care always feels nourishing
Self-care requires us to let go of feelings of guilt or the belief that we are not deserving. A great way to determine whether something you are doing is a healthy self-care practice is to notice how you physically feel afterwards. To help determine how nourishing something is, ask yourself, if your body feels depleted or more full and recharged afterwards.
4. Healthy self-care is proactive versus reactive
To prevent burn-out and running on empty, it’s really important to set time aside daily to engage in nourishing activities that make your needs a priority. Note: this does not have to be time-consuming. It can mean doing something as simple as taking a warm bath instead of a shower or starting off your day with a 3-minute meditation.
5. Self-care includes seeking therapy
If you find yourself reading this and wondering whether you struggle with self-care, perhaps because you feel guilty for making time for yourself or feel unsure about how to practice self-care, seeking out someone who specializes in mental health can be the very self-care practice you need! Someone like a clinical therapist can help you learn more about yourself and understand the patterns of behaviours that might be getting in the way of making yourself a priority!
Intimacy is a key component to feeling connected to others. As human beings, we all have an innate desire to feel like we matter, to feel that we belong, and feel like we are really seen.
When’s the last time you really allowed yourself to feel seen?
There are 5 types of intimacy that are important to nurture in our lives, to help us thrive and feel whole and balanced.
1. Emotional Intimacy
Emotional intimacy involves sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings with someone. Your capacity to be vulnerable is key to establishing emotional intimacy. You can nourish this type of intimacy by opening up to someone you care about and trust. Sharing with another human being the last thing that made you laugh so hard that it hurt or the thing that caused you to cry last is a great way to start up an emotionally intimate conversation.
2. Physical Intimacy
This level of intimacy involves physical touch like hugging, cuddling, holding hands, and kissing. This type of intimacy can include sexual intimacy but can also include platonic forms of touch. It can be deepened by communicating to your friend or partner on the types of physical affection you find nourishes you.
3. Intellectual Intimacy
Intellectual intimacy involves sharing ideas and thoughts about the things that you care about and matter to you. You can strengthen your intellectual intimacy with someone by sharing with them your favorite music, poem, or book. Organizing or joining a book club is also a great way to deepen this level of intimacy!
4. Spiritual Intimacy
This type of intimacy involves sharing awe-inspired moments with someone else. Examples of ways to enhance your spiritual intimacy include taking a walk in nature with someone, engaging in prayer with a loved one, or joining a yoga or meditation class.
5. Experiential Intimacy
Being able to share experiences with others is a great way to deepen your connection with another person. Some fun activities you can share with others include trying a new restaurant with a friend, going on a movie date, and even taking a solo trip and meeting new friends along the way!In order to feel balanced and whole, it is important to cultivate each type of intimacy with the people in our lives. Not every relationship will allow for each type of intimacy to exist. In fact, it is unrealistic to expect that a relationship with one person will include all of them.
Each person needs different levels of each type of intimacy. If you notice yourself feeling a lack of connection in your life, it may be helpful to examine which types of intimacy the people around you provide and what is missing.
Warning: Taking the time to reflect on this will likely result in more connection in your life!