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So whether it is money, relationships, work, family or your weight, if you are obsessing with and over-analysing things rather than simply dealing with them, here is how you can put things into perspective...
1. Stop stressing out already
Just because you are having negative thoughts and stressing out about the possibility of a certain situation happening it doesn’t mean that it will.
In fact, worrying just wastes energy – you’re trying to fix a problem that doesn’t and may never exist. All this does is create more negative emotions.
Meanwhile, the more you focus on the negatives in life, the less likely you are to enjoy experiencing any of its positives.
“Both binge thinking and worrying about something will make absolutely no difference to the situation, or the outcome,” says Caroline Carr .“It only makes you more stressed.”
2. Get past what’s happened
It’s often best to put the past behind you and focus on looking forward, says Susan.
“Going over things that happened in the distant or recent past and tearing them apart is a common type of over-thinking,” she explains. “Try to restrict yourself to worrying about the future – after all, the past is something you can’t change.”
3. Know if it’s time to worry
Making time to worry can feel counterproductive if you’re trying to minimise negative thinking – but by setting aside a small amount of time to think things through and put your thoughts in order you will see that most of your concerns are unnecessary. Take half-an-hour out to worry each day, then clear your head and just move on.
4. Do the write thing
Writing down and listing all your concerns gets them out of your head and helps you to take control of whatever you are fretting about.
It also helps if you are very specific about your worries and note how likely they are to occur and what you can do about them.
Once you have a plan, or have worked out possible scenarios, when the worry pops up again you can simply calm yourself down by reading over the solutions you’ve already found.
Later, when the worry has passed, go back and write down the outcome. You’ll find that things usually turn out better than you thought they would, and even if this isn’t always the case at least you have still dealt with them.
5. Some food for thought
Watch what you eat – and drink. Too much caffeine in coffee, tea or chocolate will get you hyped up and have your mind racing. While alcohol is a good anxiety reliever, if you start depending on it you’ll wind up needing more and more.
6. Actively drain your brain
Try taking you mind off things by doing a little cooking, playing with your children or even reading a good book. Truly losing yourself in an activity is the key here.
“Research shows that just 10 minutes of a pleasant, distracting activity clears your head and makes you think more clearly and rationally, which enables you to move forward,” Susan explains.
Caroline agrees and says distracting yourself will become easier over time.
“Practise by catching yourself when you binge think and forcing yourself to think of something else. The more you do this, the easier it will become,” she says.
7. And relax
“Relaxing your body helps your mind to relax, so exercises such as tai chi and yoga are good,” says Caroline. “Walking is great but beware of binge thinking if you walk by yourself – because lots of people have a tendency to do that.”
8. Do some forward-thinking
Think about the main events of your life over the past 10 years. You probably can’t recall the worries you linked with these experiences at the time or, if you can, you’ll see most never happened. Tell yourself current concerns will fade in time, too.
9. Find a fresh perspective
If you’re struggling to put things in a proper perspective, share your worries with a friend whose opinion you trust – not another binge-thinker. Simply talking about things can make all the difference.
Susan says: “Alternatively, try asking yourself: ‘If my best friend was facing this situation, what advice would I give her?’”
10. Keep it real
“Women often hang on to impossible goals in relationships, including making everyone else happy,” says Susan.
These unrealistic expectations simply have to go. Instead of getting worked up about things try laughing at life’s mistakes.
It is important to realise that most of the time it is not about you. People’s lives are busier than ever and there is likely to be another, less personal, explanation for what you have perceived as a slight.
11. Spot the signs
Break the negative over-thinking habit by learning to recognise the danger signs – when thinking about something just makes it feel bigger.
And stay away from people or situations that tend to lead you to negative thoughts.
12. Give it time to change
Research shows it takes a lot of practice to “hardwire” a new habit, so don’t expect any miracles overnight – be gentle with yourself. Try to focus on redirecting your thoughts when you catch yourself in binge-thinking mode.
With time and practice, you should find yourself happier and more productive.
Women spend seven years and 10 days of their life worrying while men have a total of five years, eight months and 23 days!
Young adults (16 – 24) are the UK’s biggest worriers – one in six worry for 12 hours a day.
More than one in three of us do not talk to anyone else about our worries and concerns.
The cost of living is the biggest worry this year.
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