If you’re finding yourself overthinking, with a crowded stream of emotions and a mind in overdrive, then you’ll need to learn how to clear your mind.

At some points in our lives, we can find ourselves overcome with a multitude of different emotions, thoughts and even fears. The combination of these factors can take its toll on your mental wellbeing. It’s a draining experience when your active mind is preventing any sort of peace, which is exactly what it needs. No switching off for a peaceful afternoon, or no powering down to get a proper night’s sleep.

As with anything related to mental health, it would be great if there was one, simple cause of the problem. One where you can go to the root source and stop it in its track. But, as we all know, that is not the case. It comes from a complex web of influences, which, according to psychologist Dr. Huttman in his interview with My Domaine, can include:

“self-doubt; self-esteem issues; concern about repeating past patterns in relation to prior bad experiences; traumatic experiences; or anxiety.”

So whether you’re stressing and overthinking things from your past, present, or future, it’s time to learn how to clear your mind (or at least distract it).

 

How to clear your mind if you’re overthinking

A man sat on top of a mountain.
Photo by Elijah Hiett on Unsplash

You need to have a mix of weapons in your arsenal to fight your overthinking.

There’s a great quote in Psychology Today by the endurance athlete Christopher Bergland, who said:

“When every alarm in your body and brain is sounding a red alert telling you to stop, how does someone push through and keep on going? When it comes to clearing your mind of unwanted thoughts, taking a multi-pronged approach that gives the situation what it needs has always worked for me in sports, and I think it will work for you, too, in sport and in life.”

So, practice it. Trial and error. There’s no ‘right or wrong’ answer to any mental health issue, as each person is unique. Sometimes it will work in your favour, and sometimes it may not. So don’t take any article online as your gospel for dealing with overthinking, but take little useful snippets away and apply what works for you.

 

Reconnect with the outdoors

Instead of connecting online, connect with the outdoors again.

Being outside with Mother Nature brings a raft of benefits, and it’s important to be present when you do. Don’t do it because “you’ve heard it’s good for you”. Feel the breeze, enjoy the cool air, smell the fresh-cut grass, or the water from the local river.

Take in the stimulus from around you and be appreciative of it, instead of having your head buried in your phone.

 

Practice mindfulness

A person sat on the floor meditating as one of their morning habits.
Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Meditation is a powerful tool in combating overthinking.

An often-used retort to meditation is “I have too active a mind for it” (I know, as I used to say it myself). But it’s not about forgetting about everything for a bit. It’s allowing these thoughts to pop up, acknowledge them, yet also notice their impermanence, as they’re then replaced by another. Everything comes and goes, even if at times it doesn’t feel that way. The one constant is your breath, so learning the basics will have you focusing on that.

Giving it a go opens you up to the potential benefits of meditation, and if all you’re doing is overthinking and you’re wanting to get away from that, then you’ve got nothing to lose by trying.

 

Speak to those who make you smile

Surround yourself with good people.

Those ones who make you smile and pick you up. Those people who you instinctively feel good energy radiate from. Sometimes you need someone to have a joke with, or a friend to share a beer with. Distract your mind with the good energy that only good friends can deliver.

Plus, on a side note, if you know one of your friends is struggling, then be that person you wish would be there for you.

 

Do something you love

A person in a kayak and paddling down a river at sunset.
Photo by Pete Nowicki on Unsplash

Whether that’s dance, kayak, or knitting jumpers, do what you love.

It’s a great distraction from your current situation and allows you to immerse yourself in something you enjoy. It acts as a form of mindfulness, as you’re present with an activity, as opposed to your own mind.

If you’re not sure what you love doing, then now is the time to test the water and try a few new hobbies.

 

Journal your thoughts (and revisit them when you’re not reactive)

Getting your thoughts down on paper can allow you to look at things more objectively.

Think of it like a pensive in Harry Potter. Get your thoughts out of your mind and into reality, where you can take a different view of them. Read them as though they’re the thoughts of someone else, and then give your honest opinion. This is a valuable tactic when you feel like you need to react.

Take your time, get past the initiation emotive reactivity, then make a more measured response.

 

Exercise (use some energy)

Two runners out early having worked exercise into their daily routine
Photo by Geronimo Giqueaux on Unsplash

The old saying “healthy body, healthy mind” holds weight.

The physical benefits you gain through exercising are well explored, yet the mental health benefits are now more recognised. It doesn’t have to be blood, sweat, and tears in a gym you don’t want to be in. Do something you enjoy. Rock climbing, dancing, paintballing, swimming, yoga, whatever.

Get moving, but do so doing something you like.

 

Lower the number of external influences

Information overload is real.

Although technology has brought us together, it has also brought with it a barrage of issues. The comparison mindset, polarising opinions, and, frankly, some absolute drivel is diluting the more influential content out there. It’s tiring trying to cut through the rubbish which is out there, so now and again, take a digital detox.

Live in the physical and live in the now. Allow yourself to form your own opinions without external pressure on your thoughts.

 

Relax

A person relaxing with a cup of tea and reading a book.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Easier said than done when you’re overthinking.

But distract yourself by relaxing. Get a massage. Take a bath. Have a spa day. Don’t sit and do nothing, find a way to physically relax, and allow your body to let go of some of the stress that your mind is holding on to.

Treat your body the way you’re trying to treat your mind.

 

If you’re asking how to clear your mind, then, like millions of others, you’ll be going through a rough time overthinking.

But remember, this time will pass. You’ll have to work on it, and the above tips on how to clear your mind will provide you with the tools to do so. It’s then up to you whether to use them or not. Allow yourself the freedom to think and to feel, but give yourself some slack; it’s not easy and you’re still going. That’s the most important thing.

 

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