Getting caught up in your thoughts is far too easy, though it can be extremely hard to spring back from these and avoid the risk of your thoughts spiralling out of control. To try and keep your head in check, there are a few exercises I recommend attempting to help rationalise your thoughts and feelings when the going gets tough.
The first exercise involves assessing your thoughts by imagining it is your friend that is relaying these words to you, then considering how you would respond to them. Often, we can be extremely hard on ourselves and would never dream of treating anyone else the way we treat ourselves, particularly in terms of the unnecessary criticisms we flood ourselves with. We can build thoughts and situations up so much in our own minds even though if someone else were to perceive a situation in the same way, we would be the first to tell them there’s actually nothing to worry about. So, if you wouldn’t talk down to others and wouldn’t let them get upset over something that they didn’t need to, why do it to yourself?
The second exercise involves pinpointing what, specifically, it is that is making you feel stressed or anxious. Once you have done this, ask yourself if there is anything you can do to change this? Perhaps you’re overthinking about a recent test you took and whether your results will be good enough, or worrying about the slightly risky text you just sent. However, it is important to remember that there is no use in stressing about what cannot be changed, the outcome will remain the same whether you stress throughout the process or not, so save yourself some aggro and try your best to channel those positive care-free vibes/
Exercise 3, simple but effective. Whilst what I am about to say is a cliché, it is nonetheless a cliché for a reason…SLEEP ON IT. There’s nothing better than a new day to clarify your thoughts and assess things in a different light. Sleepy night-time thoughts can have the power to completely consume you if you let them, but if you think you may be overthinking something and it is possible to do so, you should always wait to see how you are feeling the next day before acting on your feelings, because sometimes all you need is a session of shut-eye to bring your mind back to rationality.
Hopefully some of you will be able to benefit from these exercises and they will remind you to be kind to your mind. I’m going to end this with a few additional tips that have certainly helped me and may be beneficial to others too. First of all, write your feelings down. Keeping a mood journal can be hugely beneficial when it comes to rationalising your feelings, and hey it’s always better out than in right?
Second of all, talk. Although opening up about your feelings to others can seem daunting, a problem shared can result in a problem halved, whilst allowing for a second opinion on how you are assessing a situation and the chance for some advice.
Finally, is there something else that could be affecting the way you are feeling? Perhaps it’s the dreaded PMS that is heightening your emotions, or perhaps your hormones have been thrown off by a change in routine, diet or medication.
Regardless, please remember that your feelings are always valid, though equally sometimes it helps to be told we have nothing to worry about.