Overthinking can be extremely draining and stressful for an individual. Constantly ruminating about the past or worrying about the future can be exhausting and distressing. Overthinking is a mental habit, and like all habits, they may be difficult to break. However, journaling is a good tool to help you break your habit of overthinking and start the process of healing.
Here are some ways journaling can help your overthinking:
The purpose of mindfulness is to gain a state of focused relaxation by deliberately paying attention to thoughts and sensations without any judgement. This allows you and your mind to refocus on the present moment. Mindfulness will help your overthinking, as you will learn to control or focus your attention which can enhance your inner sense of calm and increased self-awareness. However, with most things, you need to practice. Mindfulness meditation can help you to know your thoughts and react more calmly to them, without catastrophizing or allowing them to spiral out of control.
Doing some mindful journaling or even colouring in can bring your focus back to the present, instead of obsessing over different thoughts.
Writing Everything Down
Writing down all your thoughts from your head to paper in a journal can be beneficial for your overthinking. By just allowing your natural thoughts to be written down, without judgement means you can not only unburden that thought in your mind but notice any counter thoughts arising. When you write down your thoughts by hand, you can only write one word at a time. Your thoughts slow down to match your writing speed and it will be easier to slip out of your overthinking mindset.
It may feel a bit awkward or embarrassing but just let yourself dump your brain onto the paper. You’ll likely notice a few positive changes. You may feel less stressed, and often stress can trigger overthinking or anxiety. You may also start to have a clearer mind and see which thoughts are worth your time. You will be able to organise your thoughts.
Challenge your Unhelpful Thoughts
When you journal, it is easier to identify your unhelpful thoughts and reframe them. Start by writing your thoughts down. For example, you might record thoughts that annoy you, negative beliefs, or any ideas you just want out of your head. These might be a mix of emotional thoughts, depending on the mindset that led to the overthinking.
Once you have identified those negative or unhelpful thoughts, challenge them by writing down a more helpful, rational and positive thought.
Writing negative thoughts down and following them with positive, or at least more realistic, ones to combat them takes the power out of your overthinking. Instead of leaving your thoughts to race around your mind, you lay them out in front of you and dissect them until your head is only filled with facts.
If you want a more guided journal for your overthinking, try the Overthinking Journal:
Discover more about the Overthinking Journal here