How to stop overthinking.

By David Joel Miller.

Overthinking is harmful to your mental health.

Overthinking

Overthinking.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

People who do a lot of overthinking, sometimes called rumination, increase their anxiety and their sadness. Unchecked overthinking, far from being helpful, can result in worry and leads to mental health issues such as anxiety disorders and depression. In overthinking your mind becomes your adversary, not your ally. If your mind is constantly turning things over and over and is wearing you out or if you find your overthinking has begun to interfere with your sleep and your relationships, it’s time to do something to put a stop to that over thinking.

If you suffer from overthinking here are some ways to get off that destructive path.

Notice when you overthink.

Overthinking can become an insidious habit. Become aware of when you are feeling distressed or anxious. The first step in getting overthinking out of your life is to become aware of how frequently you are overthinking. Avoid the trap of overthinking your overthinking.

Practice thought stopping.

When a child is doing something, they shouldn’t, we tell them to “knock that off.” When your mind starts taking you into bad neighborhoods, tell that mind to “stop that.” Another technique for stopping negative thoughts is to shift your focus to something positive. Search your memory for the happiest event in your life or imagine a happy event. When your brain begins to overthink possible negative occurrences, tell it to move to the positive.

Focus on the things that are likely to happen.

Most worry and overthinking is the result of an excessive focus on things that might or could happen but are very unlikely. Don’t spend large amounts of time thinking about things that are unlikely to happen. Most of the things we worry about never happen. Overthinking low probability events distracts you from dealing with the things that need doing today to prevent problems in the future.

Become a happiness expert.

Overthinking makes you an expert on unhappiness. Having a laser focus on what could go wrong obscures your vision of what could go right. People who are high in anxiety and depression develop a cognitive bias towards the negative. They don’t see the positive in their lives, and when they do they discount it. Notice small positive events in your life. When something good happens, don’t blink right away. Continue to look at and think about those positive, happy occurrences.

Avoid perfection paralysis.

Frequently people who are high in overthinking consider themselves perfectionists. An excessive focus on a perfection can leave you paralyzed. Pursue excellence. Try to become the best person possible, but avoid an emphasis on absolute perfection. Whatever you achieve should be valued.

Accept yourself as you are.

Failure to accept yourself, as you are, leads to a lot of unhappiness. However, you are, is perfectly acceptable. Acceptance values how far you have come. If you spend all your time looking for flaws you will miss your unique, individual qualities. Acceptance of yourself, others as they are, and the world the way it is rather than insisting that people places and things must be the way you want them to be will increase your happiness and reduce your anxiety provoking overthinking.

Inventory what you have not what’s missing.

Our society today, with its emphasis on the lifestyles of the rich and famous, has resulted in a lot of people believing their life is missing something. Constantly thinking about what’s missing from your life robs you of the enjoyment of the things you do have. When your focus is on keeping up with the Trumps, you will never have enough. When you adopt an attitude of gratitude, you can enjoy the people and the things you do have rather than grieve over your lack of those things that others have.

Take the long view.

Overthinking takes the short view. The focus is on what’s lacking now, the problems of today. Ask yourself what difference today’s problem will make 20 years from now? How about 50 years from now? When you start focusing on where you want to be in the future the problems of today shrink and become insignificant.

Reframe the scary as exciting.

Before an athletic contest, teams try to psych themselves up. If you expect to be beaten badly, it will take all the energy out of your performance. Worry about failing a test is likely to result in lower scores. Go into life’s adventures expecting them to be exciting and regardless of what you do you can have fun. Focusing on the scary parts of life prevents you from ever-living.

Get into action.

A great way to overcome overthinking is to get into action. Stop ruminating about what could go wrong and start doing. Some of what you do today will be the great memories you will be storing up for the future.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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Do you overthink things?

By David Joel Miller.

The more you think about things, the worse you feel.

Overthinking

Overthinking.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Overthinking, sometimes described as rumination, is a common feature of several emotional problems, especially anxiety disorders. These constant thoughts can leave you both physically and emotionally exhausted. At times, you may feel as though your thoughts are racing away without you. Because you think these thoughts so often and they are so upsetting, you may begin to believe that the things you think about are very real possibilities.

Overthinking what might happen in the future increases your anxiety. Overthinking your past, beyond the point of learning from your mistakes, can result in depression. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that going over and over the same issue in your mind, in the same way, will result in additional insight. Overthinking increases self-doubt. The over-anxious brain is constantly on the lookout for threats and magnifies the smallest risk to terrifying proportions. Here are some of the common causes of overthinking.

Overthinking is about judging yourself too much.

Overthinkers judge themselves more harshly than they judge others. Self-evaluation, looking at both the things you do well and the things that you could improve on can be helpful. If your self-evaluation does not move beyond repeatedly reviewing less-than-perfect behaviors, you are judging yourself too harshly. Using the same scale to judge yourself that you use to judge others can reduce excessive self-criticism and prevent overthinking.

Comparing up causes overthinking.

Overthinkers always compare themselves to others who are better looking, more successful or seem more important. Constantly comparing yourself to others who have more or accomplish more, results in discounting everything you have accomplished. Rather than comparing yourself to someone you admire and feeling you are inferior, look for ways to learn from what they do and improve your performance.

Focusing on the negative increases your anxiety.

When you constantly look for the negative, that’s what you will find. Avoid focusing on what’s wrong in your life. Look for opportunities to improve yourself and the life you’re living. Spend less time thinking about what’s wrong and more time focused on the actions you need to take to reach your goals. Overthinkers look for the negative and disregard the positive.

Too much attention to other people’s opinion is harmful.

If you constantly are focused on other people’s opinions of you, your self-doubt increases. Everyone will have an opinion about your life. Sometimes it’s helpful to seek out advice and information from teachers or mentors. Too much attention to other people’s opinions results in you not having an opinion of your own. Be very careful whose opinion of you receives your attention. You are living a real life, and the person whose opinion matters most is yours.

Not knowing who you are creates confusion.

Not having a clear picture of who you are, results in a great deal of confusion and uncertain. Be careful not to be simply a reflection of other people’s opinions. Get clear on your values, your goals, and the person you want to become. Learning about yourself is one of the most important tasks you will undertake in your life.

Believing mistakes mean you are flawed undermines your self-confidence.

Focusing only on your mistakes put you on the path to overthinking, self-doubt and anxiety. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you must be perfect to have value. All humans make mistakes. Cut yourself some slack. Accept that making mistakes is a necessary part of learning, growing and becoming who you can be. Learn from life experiences but don’t judge yourself harshly. Looking only at your mistakes leads to a very negative, biased, opinion about your self-worth.

Being overly judgmental of others creates uncertainty.

Avoid judging others using a stretched yardstick. If you expect an unreasonably high standard from others, you will find that you are unable to measure up to the standard you have set. The more judgmental you are of the people you meet, the more difficult it will become for you to feel good about yourself. Humans are not infallible computers, but then computers frequently make mistakes also. Avoid expecting impossibly high standards from yourself or others. Accept that you like all other humans are a work in progress.

Work on making overthinking a thing of the past. If you’re overthinking has gotten out of control, consider working with a counselor or therapist to get your thoughts back on a helpful path.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

How to destroy self-esteem.

By David Joel Miller.

How many self-esteem destroyers have you experienced?

Proud

Self-esteem.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

People around you may be doing things that undermine your self-esteem.

You may have done some of the same things to your family or friends.

Worse yet, you may have been doing these confidence-destroying things to yourself for a long time.

Look at these methods of undermining self-esteem. How many of these things are damaging your self-esteem?

Point out every mistake.

Having someone constantly point out every mistake you make is annoying. When others do this to you, it can lower your self-esteem. When you do it to yourself, it will undermine your confidence. Continually pointing out mistakes but never recognizing accomplishments can create a condition called learned helplessness. When you get the message that you cannot do anything right, you give up trying.

Withhold all praise.

Parents sometimes treat children this way. The old belief was that praising someone too much would give them “a swelled head.” Occasionally pointing out a shortcoming may help someone improve. Continually pointing out every mistake causes people to give up. Why would you continue trying if it is not possible to do it correctly?

Be careful not to praise someone for things that are trivial. Telling your child how great they did when they came in last in a race does not raise their self-esteem. When everyone gets a blue ribbon, the awards do not raise self-esteem. Recognizing effort, regardless of the outcome, does raise self-esteem.

There’s nothing wrong with taking credit for things done well. Make it a point to praise your family and friends and recognize their accomplishments. Give yourself credit. Don’t discount your accomplishments. Taking pride in the things you do results in taking pride in yourself.

Don’t expect others to be better at everything.

The expectation that everyone else is better than you at everything sets up an unrealistic standard. No one is the best at everything. Stop comparing yourself to others. Be careful that you do not set a higher standard of behavior for others than you set for yourself.

Self-handicapping, telling yourself that you are not capable of doing what other do may at first seems like a way to avoid disappointment. However, continually setting lower expectations for yourself damages your self-esteem. Accept yourself and others as good enough just the way you are, while you continue to work on improving yourself.

Don’t make your love conditional.

Being loved only when you do things for others, makes love a commodity. Accept yourself just the way you are. Don’t start believing that you are lovable only because of what you do for others. People who only love because you give them gifts, or do acts of service for them, are confusing love with using people.

Avoid role model failure.

Be careful about whom you pick for a role model. Avoid comparing you in your work clothes to others dressed for the red carpet. Avoid the trap of social media comparisons. If you have ten friends, be happy with that. Don’t compare yourself to someone who has 50 friends and then start believing you do not measure up. If you grew up without a role model, or with poor role models, spend some time becoming the kind of person you want others to model themselves after.

Expect perfection no matter what.

Quality is good. Striving to be your best is wonderful. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you must be perfect or you are no good. Perfectionists tend to drive themselves and others crazy. No matter how well things are done, it is never good enough. Trying to be perfect demolishes self-esteem, is an impossible goal, and is likely to lead to depression and giving up.

Criticize individual differences.

Avoid trying to be exactly like everyone else. Don’t be one of those people criticizes everyone who does not fit the ideal exactly. Embrace your individuality. Allowing you to be yourself and others to be who they are, results in feeling positive about yourself and others.

Use shame to motivate.

Shame is the feeling that you are a bad person. Some people in families try to control others by shaming them. There’s a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt says you did something bad don’t do it again. Shame says you made a mistake; you are a bad person. Shaming yourself and others undermine self-esteem and can lead to giving up all efforts to improve.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Increase your self-esteem by liking you.

By David Joel Miller.

Raise your self-esteem by learning to like yourself.

Self-confident people

Being self-confident.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The person whose evaluation of you is most likely to affect your self-esteem is yourself. Part of building up your self-confidence is to become your own best friend. If you wouldn’t want to spend time with you, your attitude makes it hard for others to enjoy your company. Work on feeling good about yourself by liking yourself more.

Here are some ways to like yourself better.

Increase self-esteem by silencing Mr. Negativity.

It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re constantly being put down. Don’t be the one criticizing yourself. The words you say to yourself are powerful. Stop calling yourself names. Stop beating yourself up. When Mr. negativity whispers in your ear, tell him to be quiet. Don’t allow negative thoughts about yourself to take root in your mind and grow.

Set clear goals for your life.

It’s difficult to get anywhere when you don’t know your destination. Set clear goals, ones that have measurable results. Make sure these goals are doable. Avoid goals like I’m going to lose 50 pounds. When you don’t lose the weight as quickly as you planned, it is easy to get discouraged. Tell yourself you will begin exercising 10 minutes a day.

Break goals up into chunks. Pay off an extra $10 a month on your credit card. Go back to school and take one course. Do all the small chunks, and over time you can accomplish great things.

Make your self-care a priority.

If you don’t take care of yourself who will? Eat a healthy diet. Get plenty of rest. Include time in your schedule for relaxation and to socialize the positive people. When you value something, you take care of it. Show yourself and others how much you value yourself. Demonstrate yourself commitment by good self-care.

Insist on being treated respectfully.

Respect yourself and expect others to respect you. Give others the sort of respect you would want. Set boundaries on what you will accept and stick to them. When they don’t set boundaries, you lose yourself. While you may not be able to control what others say to you, it is in your power to stop being around people who disrespect you.

Your opinion about you matters the most.

Stop living your life by other people’s opinion. Do the things that make you happy and please you. Stop grading or evaluating yourself and accept you just the way you are. Do the best you can. Stop trying to be perfect and embrace your imperfections. Don’t let others opinion of you pull you down.

Make meeting your needs a priority.

Don’t get so busy doing for others that you fail to make meeting your needs a priority. If you respected someone, you would treat them well. If you want to have self-respect, treat yourself as if you deserve to be treated well, and then live up to that standard.

Let negative things go.

As much as is possible, leave the past in the past. Don’t be ashamed of what has happened; your past has made you who you are today. Don’t hold onto resentments. Live in the present. Holding on to the pain of the past maintains the pain in the present.

Expect things to get better.

Having a positive view of the future conveys the feeling that you believe things can get better. Work on growing your hope. If you find you are short on hope seek out supportive people who have hope for you. What you look for you will see. If you are constantly expecting something to go wrong, the smallest obstacle can ruin your whole day. When you encounter an obstacle, keep your eyes on the goal. Climb over that obstacle, go around it, but whatever you do don’t sit down and spend time with that obstacle.

Grow a positive support system.

Add to the positive people in your life. Everyone needs a support system. Some supporters will be friends, some family, and some people who were part of your support system will be professionals. Don’t expect any one person to meet all your needs. People who feel good about themselves have many relationships with others that make them feel good.

Live in the present, while growing towards the future.

Brooding over the past keeps you stuck. Worrying about the future will make you frightened and anxious. Living each day minute by minute can help you to feel competent.

Focus on the positive.

Whatever you look for you will find. People who look for and expect the negative find problems everywhere. Become a positive happiness expert. If you look, all around you good things may be happening unnoticed. Incorporate some of those positive events in your life.

Know when to cut people and things out of your life.

A healthy environment means getting rid of the garbage. There are things in your life that are no longer useful or helpful, start cleaning them out. If you spend all your time with negative people, you will have no time to make positive friends.

Be constantly learning new things.

Be curious, learn all you can. The more you learn, the more you know, the better you will feel about yourself. Pursue the things that interest you. Approach each day as a gift. Expect to find something good in each present.

Make your life an adventure.

You only get one life. It can be boring, or it can be exciting. Within your comfort zone, experience all the new adventures you can. Keep putting pressure on that comfort zone, and it will expand. If each day, week, and year, you do new things, your comfort zone will expand tremendously, and you will be able to look back and all the wonderful experiences you’ve had.

In what ways, will you go about enlarging your self-esteem this week?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Tranquility.

Sunday Inspiration    Post By David Joel Miller.

Tranquility.

Tranquility.

Tranquility.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”

― Dalai Lama XIV

“And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be”

― The Beatles

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Sunday seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

Taking chances.

Sunday Inspiration    Post By David Joel Miller.

Getting out of your shell.

taking chances

Taking chances
Getting out of your shell.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up.”

― Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again

“In case you never get a second chance: don’t be afraid!” “And what if you do get a second chance?” “You take it!”     ― C. JoyBell C.

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more

chances, Be more active, Show up more often.”     ― Brian Tracy

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Sunday seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

Thankful?

Thankful?

Thankful

Thankful
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Sometimes the little things in life mean the most.”

― Ellen Hopkins, Glass

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Sunday seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.